Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weighted Hip Hinge

I'm a big fan of kettlebell swings, but I find the name throws people. They feel like they need to really swing the weight, using a lot of arm and back muscle to lift it. "How high do I swing it?" is a pretty common question.

I've started teaching new clients the move as the "weighted hip hinge." First I'll show them the motion, unweighted, and then add a kettlebell. My cues are typical - head up, chest up, pull the hips back and hinge at the hips and let the knees follow. Keep a solid arch. Hike the weight back.

I tell them to just let the weight hang, and not worry about where it goes. When they "hip hinge" repeatedly and quickly, it'll swing. The motion is the same but removing the term "swing" seems to keep people from concentrating on the arc of the kettlebell and instead keeps them concentrating on their hip and back position, which is the key.


  1. I find they get the swing better if first you teach them the Bulgarian Goat Bag Swing, ie bell in goblet squat position against chest, bend knees slightly, hinge at hips, go down until just before lower back begins to bend, stand up straight again, repeat.

    Once they can do a hip hinge well, the swing comes more easily.

    See Dan John's recent DVD Intervention for the reasoning behind this.

  2. @Kyle - thanks for the comment, and yeah, I should try the goat bag swing, too.


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