7 Common Kettlebell Swing Mistakes

Kettlebell swings are a great bang for your buck exercise. They challenge your core, help develop power and strength, build cardiovascular strength, and pull grip strength. 

While swings are great, when not done properly, you put yourself at risk for injury. It’s important to make sure the setup of your swing is correct. In case you missed it, check out some of the common swing set up mistakes

Here are 7 mistakes that I commonly see with kettlebell swings and how to fix them:

Mistake #1: The Lean Back
At the top of your swing, you should be in a tight plank. By leaning back, you are not using your core and you are putting extra strain on your low back. 
The Fix: Practice a hardstyle plank. Get into a plank position and give a long exhale pulling elbows towards the toes and squeezing your butt. Hold your plank for one exhale and then relax for a few seconds before your next plank. Practice this hardstyle plank 3-4 times and then go back into your swing focusing on holding that plank at the top of your swing. 

Mistake #2: Hips Don’t Follow Through
Power from your kettlebell swing comes from the hips. If you don’t get your hips all the way through you will not be able to get the maximal about of power.
The Fix: Think about being that plank at the top. If that doesn’t help, practice a vertical jump. If you don’t push your hips through on a vertical jump, you will barely go anywhere.

Mistake #3: It’s Squatty
The kettlebell swing is based on the hinge. You will be able to get the max power from this position. It becomes squatty when your knees come forward and torso stays more vertical.
The Fix: Don’t be afraid to let your chest go towards the ground. You can practice one swing at a time too. If that doesn’t help, practice your hinge with dowel/stick. Place the stick vertically down your back making sure it touches your head, upper back, and butt. Push your butt backwards keeping your knees “soft” and all three points on the stick. You can also stand with the backs of your legs touching a chair. When you do your hinge make sure your lower leg stays in contact with the chair. 

Mistake #4: Shallow Hinge
Like I mentioned, power in the kettlebell swing comes from the hips and you get that in your hinge. If you don’t get enough depth in your hinge, you are missing out on a power.
The Fix: Make sure you have a good bend in your knees, but they aren’t coming forward. Then think about touching the kettlebell to the wall behind you. You can even have someone stand off to the side behind you and hold a piece of paper a few inches behind you. When you hinge, aim for the kettlebell to tap the paper. 

Mistake #5: Favoring Toes or Heels
Movement starts from the ground up. If you don’t have a solid base, it will be really hard to be in a tight plank at the top.
The Fix: Remove your shoes. It’s harder to balance on a big fully pillow when compared to a hard floor. Our shoes are like giant pillows. They can be harder to balance and even guide you onto your toes/heels. Think about clawing your feet into the ground. This will help those toes from coming off the ground. You can practice your hinge. As you begin to stand up exhale and press though your feet. 

Mistake #6: Early Hinge
When you hinge too early the kettlebell will drop below your knees, which will pull on your back.
The Fix: Think about playing chicken with your hips. Wait until the last second to hinge. You can also think about keeping the kettlebell as high as you can on your legs as you hinge back. 

Mistake #7: All Arms– As I mentioned before, the power from your kettlebell swing comes from your hips, not the arms.
The Fix: Think about your arms as noodles and your hands as hooks. You can also try going to a heavier bell. At a heavier weight you will not be able to use your arms to lift the weight.  If you need a little more help than that, grab a towel. Thread the towel through the horns of the kettlebell. The horns should be perpendicular to you. Tilt the kettlebell back. The towel should be at the top when tilted back. Hands should be as close to the towel as possible. (The above picture is just a visual, hands should be closer to the kettlebell.) The towel will help prevent you from using your arms. 

Key points for a good swing:
1. Good set up.
2. Deep hinge.
3. Exhale and squeeze you butt at the top of each swing creating a tight plank.
4. Arms are noodles handles are hooks.
5. Power comes from your hips. 

The “Big 6” Kettlebell Workshop

Do you want to take your workouts to the next level? Do you want to use kettlebells, but don’t know how? Are you scared you will get hurt using kettlebells? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this hands on kettlebell workshop is for you. When performed in good form, kettlebells are a great fat loss, mobility, strength, endurance, and power tool. You can get a challenging workout in less than 30 minutes. If needed, you can even use one kettlebell for a total body workout. Need more reasons to train with kettlebells? Check out coach Mike’s top 8 reasons.

What sets kettlebell workshops at Forward Fitness apart from others? We have three trainers who are specifically certified in kettlebells. Mike Klaus is a RKC II coach, Suzanne Klaus is a RKC coach, and Cati Davis is a HKC coach. All three coaches train with kettlebells on a regular basis and have coached countless people through kettlebell workouts. We have a passion to continue to learn, improve, and try new workouts keeping things fresh and fun.

During this hands on workshop we will break down the “big 6” kettlebell movements.




These movements may seem overwhelming, but with proper instruction and cues they become much easier. You will have experts coaching you into good form so you can do safe and effective workouts at home. You will leave with a kettlebell specific RAMP (our version of a warm-up) and kettlebell workouts you can do at home. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn from some of the best. Space is limited so don’t wait to reserve your space.



HKC- Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification

Kettlebells have been around for ages, but in the past decade they are becoming recognized in the fitness industry as the most efficient tool to build strength, maximize power, lose fat, and increase mobility.

Are you a coach or trainer and looking to improve your kettlebell skills? The HKC is a one day workshop that focuses on kettlbell fundamentals. Learn the most effective, safe, efficient was to use, teach, and coach the basic kettlebell lefts.  The HKC focuses on three kettlebell movements: the swing, Turkish get up (TGU), and goblet squat.

Senior RKC instructor Rob Miller and Team Leader Katie Peterson will be leading this St. Louis based HKC. Mike Klaus, owner of Forward Fitness had the pleasure of meeting Rob and Katie when he was completing his RKC Level II certification. Knowing how much kettlebell training has impacted his lift, Mike decided to host a HKC workshop.

The goal of this workshop is for coaches to: 

  • Gain a deep understanding on the benefits of kettlebell training
  • Learn the fundamentals of biomechanics and kettlebell safety
  • Perform the swing, Turkish get up, and goblet squatting good form
  • Become confident in their ability to teach the swing, Turkish get up, and goblet squat
  • Know how to correct common mistakes in the swing, Turkish get up, and goblet squat

Entrance Test

All participants must be able to hold a plank for 60 seconds. This will be tested at the beginning of the course.

Ending Tests

In order to earn your HKC, coaches must be able to demonstrate safe and effective technique in the swing, Turkish get up, and goblet squat. They must also coach one of the movements to another student.

Get more information /sign up for the HKC.

8 Reasons to Train with Kettlebells

By: Mike Klaus RKC

kettlbell training, Turkish Get Up, Kettle swing

  1. Melt FatKettlebells are a great tool to burn fat and build muscle. A recent study showed that kettlebells are one of the most efficient training routines, burning up to 20.3cal/min. That is an incredible 1200 calories an hour! Talk about a lot of bang for your buck!
  2. Shape the Butt –Have you checked yourself out in the mirror lately and noticed a droopy or saggy butt? Kettlebells are great for giving you a lift. The kettlebell snatch, swing and clean are hip dominant movements that require explosiveness from your largest muscle, the gluteus maximus.
  3. No Time, No Problem! –There is no need to spend endless hours in the gym when using a kettlebell in order to see results. Kettlebell training is a high-intensity strength and cardio workout that forces the body to build muscle and burn fat fast. You can get a great kettlebell workout in as little as 15 minutes (including the warm up). You really can’t use time as an excuse with this type of training.
  4. Injury Prevention – Not only does kettlebell training build an armor like layer of muscle, but this form of training focuses more on movements. Bodybuilding focuses more on targeting singular muscles as opposed to groups of muscles. Because kettlebell training enhances movement efficiency, injuries are greatly reduced by fixing the compensations and imbalances in the body.
  5. Amp Up Your Power Output – Weekend warrior? Athlete? Who doesn’t want to lead their team (or league) in scoring, hit more home runs in their softball league, or drive a golf ball as far as Happy Gilmore? The explosive movements in Kettlebell training develop your fast twitch muscles which in turn helps you have a quicker reaction time. Many of the movements in kettlebell training cannot be performed slowly forcing you to develop a quality known as power-endurance. Power-endurance is your ability to sustain fast muscular contractions over an extended period of time. This is commonly the determining factor in winning or losing in sporting competitions.
  6. Eliminate Weaknesses –Your greatest strength may be your greatest weakness! Most people who train have a favorite muscle group like chest, biceps, or triceps that they tend to train more often. This leads to muscle groups in your body that are seldom used during training. With full body kettlebell exercises, you tend to train your major muscle groups more efficiently without isolation because smaller muscles throughout your body are engaged as well.  Once the weak parts of your body are strengthened, your workouts become much more effective.
  7. Mentally Stimulating – Bored to death jogging slowly on the hamster wheel? Do you find yourself “going through the motions” in the gym? A multiple movement kettlebell complex may be just what you need. Hit muscles you forgot you had by performing multiple movements quickly using one piece of equipment… the kettlebell!
  8. “Vice” Grip Strength –The weight of the kettlebell lies outside of your hand, unlike the traditional barbells and dumbbells, taxing your grip and developing greater forearm strength. The design of the kettlebell also adds another unique component to your grip training. Since the kettlebells center of gravity is usually in motion, your grip training becomes a combination of dynamic and static muscular contractions to help control the fluctuating center of mass. Why might you need grip strength? If you want to carry all the groceries in one trip or carry your luggage without dropping it, then you need grip strength. What if you never wanted to ask your spouse or kid to open a jar? You need grip strength.