13 Kettlebell Swing Variations From Beginner to Advanced

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Do you enjoy doing kettlebell swings but feel like switching it up? We get it. If you’re a beginner, it can be hard to come up with some creative exercises using the kettlebells so you just stick to the usual kettlebell swing. If you’re advanced, you might be wondering how to progress to gain more strength. Below you'll find 15 kettlebell swing variations to tone your arms and legs, build strength, and improve performance. 

Whether you're a beginner to kettlebell training or an advanced athlete, below you will find:

  • 5 Beginner Kettlebell Swings
  • 5 Intermediate Kettlebell Swings
  • 5 Advanced Kettlebell Swings

Beginner Kettlebell Swings

These beginner kettlebell swing variations will help you get into the swing of things!

 

Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing

This swing will target your shoulders, back, hips, glutes, and legs while improving your stability and balance.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using one hand.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back.  Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.  
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward.  Swing your other arm to help drive momentum.
  5. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.
  6. Alternate your hands when the kettlebell is behind your legs.

 

Russian Kettlebell Swing

The Russian kettlebell swing is great if you are trying to lose weight without causing stress to your joints. The swing will target your abs, shoulders, pectoralis major, glutes, quads, hips, hamstrings, and latissimus dorsi.

  1. Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands keeping your palms face down and your arms in front of your body.
  3. Maintain a slight bend in your knees and drive your hips back. 
  4. Lower your body (but not too low - this isn’t a squat!). 
  5. Explosively drive your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell. Keep your glutes and core engaged.  Swing the kettlebell to eye level.

 

Kettlebell Staggered Stance Swing

This swing will target the muscles in your hips, glutes, hamstrings, latissimus dorsi, shoulders, abs, pectoralis major, and grip. The staggered stance forces your glutes, hamstrings, and hip muscles on one side of your body to work harder than the other side.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart but with your one foot slightly in front of the other and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using both hands.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back.  Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward.
  5. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.

Intermediate Kettlebell Swings

If you're ready to move on from beginner's kettlebell swings, these intermediate techniques will keep you challenged while helping you reach your fitness goals.

 

Side Stepping Kettlebell Swing

Now we’re going places - let’s target our legs, glutes, and back while taking a short step sideways with every swing.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using both hands.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back. Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward.
  5. Step your right foot out.
  6. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.
  7. Bring your left foot to meet your right foot, so your legs are now together.
  8. Keep side-stepping to the right for 10-20 reps then switch to the left side or alternate reps from right to left.

 

Kettlebell Forward Traveling Swing

Move across the floor with these kettlebell traveling swings. Your legs will definitely be working with this one. It’s a regular kettlebell swing where you step forward in addition. 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using both hands.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back.  Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward.
  5. Take two small steps forward as the weight reaches its peak.
  6. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.

 

American Kettlebell Swing

Commonly used in CrossFit workouts, American kettlebell swings will work your shoulders, back muscles, hips, glutes, and legs. This swing can be used for a full-body workout.

  1. Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. 
  2. Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands keeping your palms face down and your arms in front of your body.
  3. Maintain a slight bend in your knees and drive your hips back. 
  4. Explosively drive your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell.  Keep your glutes and core engaged. Instead of stopping at eye level, finish with your arms and kettlebell overhead.

 

Alternating Kettlebell Swing

With the alternating kettlebell swings, your brain will work a little harder, so you don’t miss and drop the kettlebell.  You will be challenging both sides of your core at the same time!

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using one hand.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back.  Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.  
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward. Swing your other arm to help drive momentum.
  5. As the kettlebell approaches the peak, release the kettlebell.
  6. Catch the kettlebell with your other hand and perform the downswing.
  7. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.
  8. Alternate your hands when the kettlebell is behind your legs.

Tip:  You can begin by changing hands every 5-10 swings and reduce it down to every single swing.

 

Kettlebell Alternating Staggered Stance Swing

The Alternating Staggered Stance Kettlebell Swing will give you a challenge and as a result, increase your legs and glutes strength and endurance. 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart but with your right foot slightly in front of the left foot and your knees slightly bent. One leg is working harder than the other.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using your left hand.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back. Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.  
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward.  Swing your other arm to help drive momentum.
  5. As the kettlebell approaches the peak, release the kettlebell.
  6. Catch the kettlebell with your other hand and perform the downswing.
  7. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.
  8. Alternate your hands when the kettlebell is behind your legs.

Advanced Kettlebell Swings

Can’t “weight” for your next kettlebell workout?  Need more of a challenge? These advanced kettlebell swings are for you!

 

Double Kettlebells Swing

Holding a kettlebell in each of your hands doubles the load placed on your body. Your hamstrings, glutes, quads, back muscles, core, and forearms will all be tested.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with one hand on each kettlebell with a neutral grip. Look forward.
  2. Swing the kettlebells back between your legs using your lats. 
  3. Stand up explosively by thrusting your hips forward.
  4. After a brief pause at the top, allow the kettlebells to begin to descend.
  5. Guide the kettlebells between your legs.

 

Lateral Kettlebell Swing

Lateral Kettlebell Swings will work your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, latissimus dorsi, and deltoids with the help of your engaged core to control the movement in good form.

  1. Stand with your knees slightly wider than shoulder-width in a squat position.
  2. Hold your kettlebell in your left hand. In a fluid motion, stand up quickly, pushing your hips towards the ceiling and swinging the kettlebell laterally to your left. 
  3. Lower back in the squat as gravity brings the kettlebell back down. 

 

Kettlebell Snatch

Used to develop your aerobic capacity and coordination, the snatch will work your glutes, quads, hamstrings, core, upper back, shoulders, and grip.

  1. Hold one kettlebell between your legs using one hand.
  2. Go into a semi-squat.
  3. Use your hips and knees to thrust upward.
  4. When the kettlebell reaches your shoulder height, rotate your hand, and push it upwards until your arm is completely straight.
  5. Return to the semi-squat position and swing the kettlebell back down between your legs.

 

Kettlebell Clean

The kettlebell clean is a fat burning and strength-building exercise that will activate your quads, core, glutes, triceps, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.

  1. Start with the kettlebell between your feet. 
  2. Swing the kettlebell upward and shrug your shoulders, pulling your body and the kettlebell up to your shoulder. The kettlebell should end in the “rack position” (resting on your forearm, tucked close to your body, fist at your chest).
  3. Bring the weight back down to the floor.

 

Kettlebell Chaos Traveling Swing

The Kettlebell Chaos Traveling Swing will have your body and brain work while targeting your hips, core, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, and latissimus dorsi.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Using an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell between your legs using both hands.
  3. Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back.  Bend at your hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.
  4. Squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and swing the kettlebell upward.
  5. Take two small steps but mix them up. One time move forward, then laterally, and then diagonally but never backwards.
  6. As the weight swings back between your legs, bend at your hips and slightly bend your knees.

 

Now you have 13 kettlebell swing variations to keep your workout fun and challenging no matter what level you're at! Just remember that “it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.”   




Johana Hernandez

Author



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