Form check: kettlebell swings

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi @wanderingjames

Looks strong, and basically good on your set-up and positions, but your timing could be improved.
  1. You're breaking out of the plank early -- hold the standing plank while the bell falls at least halfway. Currently your hips and knees are already flexed/bent when the bell is halfway down, and this puts the bell lower as it goes into the backswing which can put extra weight in the lower back and doesn't set you up as well (loading the hinge) for the next swing.
  2. Your upswing is OK, but lacks a little power for this weight. You're leaning back just a bit at the end of the upswing to get the kettlebell a little higher. You want to snap explosively into the plank and then just let the kettlebell go however high that makes it go. Add some explosiveness if you can, or drop the weight... or just don't swing it as high, that is OK too.
  3. On your landing, try to glide the bell in low for a landing so it doesn't end out out in front of you where you have to drop it. More knee bend usually helps on the landing.
Here's a video you can use for comparison of the timing... the .25 speed selection and pausing at certain points can help see the difference.

All three of these adjustments may help your lower back feel a little less strain from swings! Let us know if it helps...


Level 6 Valued Member
I agree with @Anna C : Looking pretty athletic and strong, even though you do not load the "bow" properly. Think of your body as a string on a bow and the KB being the arrow. You want to maintain as much tension as possible in the string as possible. For the swing this means waiting in the plank and playing chicken with the kettlebell. Hinging back you load the bow and let it snap back to the starting upright position.

Check this article:
Solid: In-Between Simple & Sinister | StrongFirst

Pavel Macek said:
Most people do the swing incorrectly because they think it is a two-count movement. This is how it’s usually demonstrated on YouTube University:

  • 1 (down) = evading to soon, which leads to all kind of troubles like the weight pulling you forward, ending too low between the legs, etc.
  • 2 (up) = lifting with the hands.
Wrong. Think of the swing as four-count movement. Let’s start from the top:

  • 1 – Bell is falling, you wait in the plank.
  • 2 – You evade and hinge when the arms touch the body and the bell almost hits you in the groin.
  • 3 – You explosively reverse the movement and come back to plank.
  • 4 – Bell flies forward.
1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4…

And here is a drill to help you with the timing:

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
To add to what Anna noted—you are pulling up with your back and over extending (leaning back) at the top.
I would be interested to see you KB DL and a lighter swing.

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Let's try this..

Since you are doing bjj (I'm assuming this based on your avatar)

It's the same concept when you buck, upa, shoot for that armbar or triangle from guard.. Finish with the hips..

Focus more on snapping those hips that using your back to get the bell to a given height..

So yea, go lighter..


Level 4 Valued Member
@wanderingjames : Welcome to the forum :)

As noted above, you hinge too fast on the downswing. Try delaying the hinge until your forearms make contact with your body. Also, use a lighter weight. Looks a bit too heavy at this point.


Level 1 Valued Member
Thank you all for the valuable inputs! @Anna C your video helped me a lot in adjusting the timing of my plank breaks and @Bauer 's bow and arrow analogy is a solid mental cue for exploding the bell maximally.

Below is a video of my swing after making the adjustments from the first one. Please let me know if i'm on the right track. Appreciate all the help guys



Level 6 Valued Member
Nice, IMO the timing is much better :)

Maybe set the bell down a little closer to you and don't bend you back when setting it down.

And the next thing would be to work on your plank. On some reps you lean a bit from the lower back or hips. You shouldn't be doing a backflip but a vertical jump, so-to-speak. I found this video to helpful for the correct upper body position:
How to Avoid Injury and Maximize Strength by Correcting Rib Flare | StrongFirst

It is more like a hollow body position than a backbend. Try some power breaths or a plank before your swings and remember the feeling. I find it easier to plank in this way with one hand swings, by the way.

And another thing to be mindful of: Pay attention to the relation of you arms/hands and the handle of the bell. I might be wrong about this, but try to swing in a way that the bell is always an extension of your arms, that means a straight extension. No flipping. Be mindful of the vector of force, if that makes sense. This will at least be easier on the skin of your hands. And maybe even make your swings better, but again I might be wrong.

That being said, from my point of view your form is pretty good!
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