This week’s feature on Best Butt Exercises was inspired after my recent post on Kettlebell Butt Exercises, where it has become obvious to me that the humble kettlebell swing takes the cake for the best glute kettlebell exercise!

Woman doing kettlebell swings

A few people were asking about how to properly perform this exercise, and if you’re new to the swing, it can look a bit daunting – heck, you’re swinging a heavy weight around at arm’s length – surely there can’t be that much control there?!

I must admit, I had a pretty low opinion of this exercise when I first saw it, mainly because I thought that it couldn’t be good for the back and that the risk of injury was probably high as the movement involves using inertia (and with poor form this could go wrong pretty quickly).

While my opinion of the exercise has changed, the fact that poor form can do you damage hasn’t – which is why it’s critical to make sure you’re doing this exercise correctly.

You can perform this exercise single handed or double handed, but for this post I’ll focus on explaining the double-handed version.

What Sized Kettlebell Should I Use?

A good starting weight for women doing the double-handed kettlebell swing is around 15 – 25lb (6-12kg).  If you’re just learning, start with a lighter weight as this will allow more room for error without injury, until you get the hang of the move.

For men, a good starting weight for the double-handed kettlebell swing is around 30-40lb (12-18kg). Again, try starting with a lighter weight until you get used to the feel of the move.

Don’t have a kettlebell yet? Then may I suggest considering one! There are tons of options on Amazon, or for an adjustable kettlebell, check out some of my prior reviews like the Empower 3-in-1 kettlebell and also the Rocketlok adjustable kettlebell.

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Exercise: Two-handed kettlebell swing
Muscles worked: Quads, Glutes, back, arms, plus cardio.
Jolie Recommends: 50 swings
Difficulty rating: 4
Effectiveness rating: 9

Best Butt Exercise #3: Kettlebell Swing

The video below is a great instructional on how to perform the kettlebell swing.

How to Do The Move

This move is a little difficult to master, so I highly recommend watching the video above. It’s definitely best explained by demostration rather than written instructions. Nevertheless, I’ve attempted to describe how to do this exercise by the following steps:

  1. Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell slightly in front of you. Point your toes slightly outwards and keep the weight in your heels.
  2. Keeping your spine in a neutral position and core tight, hinge forward at the hips with your knees slightly bent and reach down to pick up the kettlebell between your feet.
  3. To begin the swing, start with your ‘hike’ – the kettlebell should swing between your legs and back behind you. At this time, you need to sit back with your hips, with a slight bend in the knees. Breathe in during the hike.
  4. Keeping your arms straight, ‘snap’ up by driving your hips up and and forwards to swing the kettlebell up in front of you. Don’t think about swinging your arms so much, this should happen naturally. You should forcefully exhale during the snap.
  5. Repeat alternating between ‘hike’ and ‘snap’, being sure to have your breathing match your movement.
  6. Watch the video above if you haven’t already, to make sure you are doing the movement correctly! It includes some troubleshooting to ensure that you’re performing the move correctly.

Perfecting Your Form

  • Keep the abdominals engaged throughout the exercise with a neutral spine position in order to protect your back.
  • Sit backwards in the downward motion, whilst maintaining your balance and the inertia of the kettlebell.
  • Match your breathing with your movement – breathe in with the ‘hike’ and forcefully breathe out with your ‘snap’.
  • Really squeeze the glutes in a forward thrusting motion to ‘pop’ the kettlebell up towards the high part of the swing. Timing it right will help make the swing ‘feel right’.
  • Keep a good grip on the kettlebell!! (The last thing you want is to accidentally put this thing through a wall!)

Reppin’ It

With practice you can step up either the reps or the weight, and I would suggest experimenting with both to keep your body guessing. The great thing about this exercise is that it doubles as a great cardio workout as well. I suggest aiming for 50 reps of the swings.

Have you tried kettlebell swings before? How do you like them as a butt exercise? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Best Butt Exercises: KettleBell Swing
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4 thoughts on “Best Butt Exercises: KettleBell Swing

  • December 14, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Kettlebell swings are favourite type of exercise. You get an amazing overall body workout using just one piece of equipment. I use an adjustable one, so I’m able to change the weigh according to my specific need at any given time.

    • December 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thanks for stopping by Charlene. Adjustable kettlebells are probably the best bet for anyone who wants to work out with kettlebells at home. Much more economical than buying several different kettlebells of different weight!

  • September 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    This is one of my favourite exercises for the glutes…and great for cardio too 🙂

    • September 7, 2016 at 4:30 am

      Mine too George! Yes it is totally a killer cardio move even though it doesn’t look like it at first!


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