Kettlebell swing question


First Post
Hi, I'm new to kettlebell swings and wanted to know more about what it does for the upper part of the body. I've read some places saying the swing works the entire body, while some say it minimally works the back, chest, shoulders, biceps, and forearms, while other sources say it doesn't do much for the upper and is geared more towards the lower body, legs and glutes. Can you share your opinion if the swing does work the upper body, if so which muscles specifically? Thank you and be well!


Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor

The hardstyle swing is a movement that emphasizes a powerful hip hinge coupled with a powerful breath which over time can develop a good to excellent base of total body athleticism. As a tool, kettlebells can definitely be used for hypertrophy of the upper body. Your best bets are using double kettlebells with the following movements - Clean & Press, Front Squat, Push Press, Farmer Walk, Rack Carry.


Level 1 Valued Member
The swing will make your low back bulletproof and build your stamina up. I’ve found in martial arts it helps with drawing people into you and control them.


Level 1 Valued Member
The upper body? Like the brain? It sits there and says “lift me or don’t” and it will temper your soul if you force yourself to pick it up every day esp when you don’t want to.


Level 4 Valued Member
Welcome, Prize. I know this is not a direct answer to your question but since it's your first post I'm guessing this may help:

I'd say the swing is a great and generally safe all round athlete builder.

I think there are very few instances where upper body strength acts in isolation.
As an example, my primary sport is kayak paddling (surfski to be specific). If you watch an Olympic kayak sprint race it would seem to the untrained eye that it's all upper body strength and fitness. However there is actually a powerful rotational movement going on, driven from the hips and legs.
I'm not into boxing or mma but I would think that if a boxer or karateka wants to strike hard and powerfully it would need to be driven by the hips and legs as well. Pretty sure throwing a javelin is there same. You get the point.

Swings certainly engage the whole posterior chain right up to your shoulders and your lats as well. Forearms get plenty of work gripping the bell while swinging. What's left is quads (goblet squats) and the rest is why we have TGUs which are great for shoulders and whole body strength and coordination.

When I started using kettlebells I didn't initially go with S&S, which is primarily a swing program, for fomo on some specific upper body areas, like chest and biceps.
Now that I'm well into it, I'd say it's probably the best program for overall GPP I've ever done.

If you're wanting to specifically target chest and biceps you could probably add some pushups and chinups once you've made some reasonable progress on the basics.

Or, if fomo won't let you do S&S, do this:
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