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How to do a Kettlebell Swing

What is a kettlebell swing?

What is a kettlebell swing

See our step-by-step guide on how to do a kettlebell swing

The kettlebell swing is a great exercise to strengthen your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back. It’s also a great functional exercise which can burn around 400 calories in 20 minutes - which is equivalent to the burn you'd get uphill cross country skiing.

Using an explosive motion emanating from your hips, glutes and hamstrings, the kettlebell swing can boost your muscular power and endurance so you're better equipped to perform everyday activities such as walking, lifting and turning.

The repetitive nature of this high-intensity full body exercise can also help boost your aerobic capacity resulting in enhanced cardio fitness so you can do more for longer.

If you're keen to witness dramatic changes to your fitness you will find our top tips for getting started below, including a how-to guide to performing the perfect kettlebell swing.

PureGym members can get to grips with a kettlebell and master their swings in our free Pure Kettlebell class, which is available at most gyms.

For more kettlebell exercises, check out our beginners guide on how to use the kettlebell.


  • Kettlebell swings can work your abs and core if you engage them when performing the exercise. Bracing your core when performing kettlebell swings is recommended to help maintain a flat back and avoid injury. If you're not sure how to perform this exercise, check out the video below and ask guidance from a personal trainer.

  • The kettlebell swing is a great total body that can help to strengthen your body and at the same time improve your cardio fitness. It can help burn fat, provided you are in a calorie deficit which is key to fat loss.

  • The kettlebell swing is a full body exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings, back, shoulders, and core.

Kettlebell swing tips


  • If you're using kettlebells for the first time, start with a lighter weight until you get used to the feel of the weight and motion of the exercise.
  • One of the best ways to warm up before picking up the kettlebell is to practice the swinging motion but without the weight in your hands.
  • Once you've picked up the kettlebell, try and keep a loose but firm grip on the weight to avoid causing unwanted tension in your neck and shoulders. 

How to do a Kettlebell swing

Level: Beginners

Equipment: Kettlebell (4kg-24kgs).

  1. Stand with your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a half-squat and pick up the kettlebell with both hands so your palms are facing your body.
  2. Keep your core tight and a slight bend in your knees as you straighten your legs pushing from the heels and explode through the hips and swing the kettlebell to chest height.  
  3. As you swing the kettlebell down between your legs, return to the half-squat position. That's one rep.
  4. Complete the required amount of reps.


If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.