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Kettlebell swing

Move of the month: Kettlebell Swing

This full body exercise works muscles in both the upper and lower body as well as the core. Vivienne Rickman is your guide to the kettlebell swing.

A great full body workout that works muscles in both the upper and lower body as well as the core. In particular, this move is going to fire up those posterior chain muscles (the glutes, hamstrings, calves, erector spinae and muscles of the upper back), which can feel a little forgotten with swimming being so anterior dominant. It is also great for developing strong hips, which is essential in all the swimming strokes.

Try including this high intensity, low impact move that can improve cardiovascular fitness, strength and your power in your workout routine.

How to do Kettlebell Swing

  1. Start with feet should width apart, kettle bell in both hands with an overhand grip and arms hanging straight down.
  2. Breathe in, pushing your hips back and bending your knees a little to bring the kettlebell between your legs. Keep your back straight and engage your core.
  3. Breathe out, squeeze your butt, and push your hips forward to lift yourself back up into a standing position, your arms swing the kettlebell as far as it goes, around shoulder height is the aim. To do this you are not using any strength from your arms, it reaches this height from the momentum of the movement, so it may take a few swings to reach shoulder height.
  4. Breathe in, lower the kettle bell between your legs, pushing your hips back and bending your knees a little. This is 1 rep.
  5. Try 2/3 sets or 10/15 reps.


Choosing a kettlebell: if you are new to kettlebells, choose a lighter weight so that you can get familiar with how they feel and so you can practise swinging with good form. Choose between 5-8kg if you are a beginner. Heavier weights are available as you increase your strength and experience.

Focus on good form

Avoid lower back injury by ensuring that the power is coming from your legs and glutes. Remember you are not using your arms and shoulders to do any heavy lifting – keep focused on hinging at the hips to build momentum. Remember to slow your speed on your last few reps so you can safely stop swinging the kettlebell.

This article is from the February issue of Outdoor Swimmer. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.

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To see all the online content from the February 2023 issue of Outdoor Swimmer, visit the 'Challenge' page.
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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.