Create a Stronger Core and Glutes with the One-Arm Kettlebell Swing

Yesterday I shared a variation of a strength exercise for the posterior chain of the upper body. Now today I would like to share a total body exercise using a kettlebell that I love that targets the posterior chain of the lower body and also the core muscles. Keeping those muscles strong is important for injury prevention and performance as well as overall strength.

You may have done kettlebell swings within your own training or maybe even used a dumbbell before. I like to have clients and also use another version in my own training, the one-arm kettlebell swing. The one-arm kettlebell swing is a nice way to challenge your body further.

It also has been proven to activate your core musculature more than the double arm swing. You can read more here .

You watch a video of the one-arm kettlebell swing here. I have also listed some key points of emphasis for performing the kettlebell swing.

1)      This exercise is a hinge, meaning the most action takes place around the waist and not the knees. It important to remember that the KB swing is NOT a squat. Your knees should be doing the movement.

2)      Be sure to swing the weight not lift it. Think of a pendulum. Once you being the kettlebell swinging you should feel like you are controlling the arc not directly lifting the weight.

3)      At the top of the movement be sure to fire your hips and contract you glutes before descending into the next repetition.

4)      Along with the above be sure not to arch your back and lean back. That is not part of the exercise and could cause you to injure your back.

5)      At the bottom of the swing allow the weight to pull you and allow the weight to travel between your legs. At the bottom of the movement your chest should be perpendicular to the floor.

6)      I have clients perform the swing stopping the KB at shoulder height. If you cannot get the weight up that high do not worry. As you become stronger and more explosive through your hips you should be able to get the kettlebell higher.

7)      Throughout the exercise be sure to keep your bodyweight on the heels. You should never go up onto your toes.

8)      Keep your core engaged. Do not suck in your stomach but rather contract and tighten your abs as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach.

9)      Do STOP immediately if you feel any strain or pain especially in your lower back. It could be die to not swinging fast enough, poor ability to keep the core engaged, or the kettlebell may be too heavy, or a combination thereof. You can try going to a lighter weight and determine if that helps.


The above tips and the video should get you on your way. Happy training!