How To Do & Muscles Worked

kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings are a hinge pattern movement that improve power through the posterior chain: glutes and hamstrings. The arms aren’t actually lifting the weight up. Instead, it’s the power from the lower body that is swinging the kettlebell out and up.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Challenging

Which Muscles Are Worked?

Diagram of primary and secondary muscles worked from Kettlebell swings

Primary Muscles

Glutes Hamstrings

Secondary Muscles

Shoulders Quads Traps Abs

Exercise Type

Kettlebell icon

How to do kettlebell swings Properly

Step by Step Guide

Begin standing with the feet about hip distance apart and hold one kettlebell in your hands in front of you with the arms straight.

Next, assume a hinge position as you push the hips back, bend the knees slightly, and bring the kettlebell back between and behind the legs. Maintain a neutral spine.

In order to swing the kettlebell, thrust the hips forward, straighten the knees, and allow the kettlebell to raise up to shoulder height while keeping the arms straight.

As the kettlebell lowers back down, use control and re-assume the hinge position.

Repeat for the desired repetitions.

Common Mistakes

A common mistake is using the arms to move the kettlebell instead of power from your lower body. The kettlebell swing is meant to target the hip extensor muscles which include the glutes and hamstrings. In order to propel the kettlebell forward, you want to stand upright, extend the hips, and thrust the hips forward. Use that momentum to glide the kettlebell up into the air. Avoid using the shoulder muscles themselves to lift the kettlebell up.


Animation of how to do Kettlebell swings