It was program update day for a physiotherapist client of mine, which is always exciting. Especially exciting because I added slideboard reverse lunges (my new favourite exercise) and Kettlebell (KB for the cool kids) swings. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about that? As expected, the slideboard reverse lunges were a hit.

When she got to the KB swings, however, she seemed less than thrilled. I asked if she’d done them before and she said she hadn’t but she was apprehensive about doing them because she’s treated so many clients who have injured themselves using kettlebells. I smiled and told her that I would teach her how to do them properly as opposed to this variation, and then proceeded to demonstrate a fully flexed to fully arched back KB swing with the KB finishing over head, similar to the form shown in a Jillian Micheals video a while back. Unfortunately I can’t show you the video because it was removed by the poster because so many people commented on how terrible the form was.  The world is a better place without that video, but I do wish I could have shared it with you.

I then proceeded to show her a KB swing with a neutral spine and a focus on hip movement, and then I told her that I’d send a link to a great KB swing instructional video so she could share it with any clients who do injure themselves using KB swings so that when she gets them back to health, they can stay healthy with proper KB swing technique.

Then it occurred to me that most people could do with proper KB swing instruction, and so I decided to share the video on my blog. The video features Keats Snideman and Bret Contreras, two friends who are both great trainers from the Phoenix area. Bret, a fellow geek, has earned himself the nickname “the glute guy” and as the name suggests, has a focus on working glutes. He decided his KB swing technique needed work, so he went to local awesome Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) instructor Keats Snideman for help. The video is fantastic, and miraculously only about 6 minutes long. If you ever use kettlebells, do yourself a favour and watch it.


What do you think? Is this how you do KB swings, or are you about to introduce some corrections?


Elsbeth Vaino, B.Sc., CSCS is a personal trainer in Ottawa who enjoys a good KB swing now and then.



  1. Great tutorial! I’ve tried these and also had several clients try them. I always demonstrate this exercise like a deadlift with neutral spine and generating power from the hips. Is that incorrect?? I haven’t had formal training on this exercise other than whats taught in a group fitness class.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Elsbeth! It gives a lot of information in a short time (Keats does some great speed talking). In answer to your question, this is how I do swings;I learned from watching Neghar Fonooni (sp?) and Joe Sansalone, with a little bit of Charlie Weingroff thrown in for proper head position. This video really streamlines the process of teaching the swing.

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