The kettlebell swings may be the very foundation of training with kettlebells. They certainly predate many of the other exercises, practical applications and uses. The various swing movements have proven their usefulness time and time again. If you're new to kettlebell training, this is perhaps one of the first exercises you should bring into your bag of tricks, as it does have such broad application. Let's take a look at how not only kettlebell swings are performed, but the workout advantages they give you over other methods of total body conditioning.
The swing teaches many basic kettlebell concepts, among them how to generate a powerful hip thrust that will not only work for this exercise, but many others, how to build explosive force, and how to control your breathing. These reasons alone would be enough for you to spend a great deal of time making swings an integral part of your routines.
Make sure you're using a kettlebell weight that you can manage; now is no time to get injured. (Is there a good time?) Most men and women start out with the lowest weight available until they get the hang of the technique, which is crucial to your success with the swings. Assume a squat posture, making sure to keep your knees over your ankles. Keep your head up and look ahead, all the while keeping a straight back, even while bending forward from the hips. Endeavor to keep your weight on your heels while performing the swings, striving to maintain balance. You'll want to make sure you feel a hamstring stretch at the bottom of your swings. Use your hips to explode the kettlebells up and out. This is definitely a hip thrust, not an arm wrenching exercise. Lock your knees and hips at the top of the exercise. Make sure you squeeze your glutes when thrusting, as well as tightening your abs to protect your spine.
As far as controlling your breathing goes, try to do a power inhale to your abdomen, and then exhale quickly as you thrust your hips forward. You should get in 3-5 sets of 15 reps with a lighter kettlebell, and when you're ready, move on to something heavier and really push the cardio side of things. Some of the different types of swings would include two-handed swings, high swings, alternating swings, double swings (if you have more than one kettlebell) and many others.
Swings with the kettlebells can be a great introduction to the world of kettlebell training, and after that, a staple in your kettlebell routines. A marvelous full body exercise, swings are hard to beat for building explosive strength, great cardio benefits, and overall conditioning. Get into the swing of things today!