When it comes to getting fit, keeping it simple is always a safe bet, but adding more complex exercises to your routine can keep you engaged and reignite your love for working out.
Speaking of simple, basic kettlebell exercises like the squat, deadlift and swing are enough to get in amazing shape. However, once you’ve mastered those exercises, it’s time to introduce more advanced movements. If you’re feeling daring, try these three advanced kettlebell swing variations:
1. KETTLEBELL SWING WITH RELEASE
One of the toughest kettlebell skills to learn is being tight or loose at the right times. This means that during certain parts of certain exercises, your body needs to be tense from head to toe to control the weight. At other times, your body needs to relax to let the kettlebell flow. The kettlebell swing with release teaches this concept beautifully.
- Don’t overuse your arms as you swing. Let your hips thrust the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
- Rather than throwing the kettlebell upward as you release, simply relax your hands to let the weight “float,” then grab it again as it starts to come down.
- Go light to start! It’s better to fumble a 4-kilogram kettlebell than a 24-kilogram one.
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2. ONE-ARM KETTLEBELL SWING
Moving from a two-arm swing to a one-arm swing takes this kettlebell staple of a swing to a whole new level. You’ll increase your core and shoulder stability because you’ll need to resist the urge to bend or twist to the side. You’ll also set yourself up for other useful one-sided kettlebell movements like the clean, press and snatch.
- Start in the same position as a two-arm swing, but with the handle turned vertically.
- Always point your thumb down on the backswing, and rotate your palm down on the upswing.
- Keep your shoulder in your back pocket the whole time. This will prevent your back from rounding.
- Follow the kettlebell with your free hand, and avoid placing your free hand on your leg or hip.
3. HAND-TO-HAND SWING
Once you’ve nailed the one-arm swing, it’s time to up the ante by switching hands in midair. This is more than just a party trick (though you’ll probably dazzle everyone in the gym who sees you) – it’s a fat-burning, backside-building, hand-eye-coordination-training, all-in-one amazing exercise.
- Keep a loose grip on the kettlebell. If you choke the weight in your hand, you won’t be able to release it effectively at the top of each swing.
- Spin the kettlebell away from the center of your body as you switch hands. If you’re switching from right to left, spin the kettlebell clockwise, and if you’re going from left to right, spin it counterclockwise.
- Don’t force the kettlebell down during the backswing. Lightly grab the weight and let it “fall,” and use your hand to guide it back to the hinge position.
Practice Makes Perfect
These advanced exercises take time to master, so practice them repeatedly. Learn the kettlebell sumo deadlift and two-arm swing first. Once you’re ready for these moves, start with light weight and high frequency – two to three sessions per week works best for most people. Soon, you’ll turn heads at the gym with your newfound kettlebell skills.