Featured Assistance Movement of the Week #2: The Kettlebell Swing

By: Brian Carroll

I’ll be covering an obscure or special assistance movement each week that I feel is important and should potentially be considered as an addition to your programming in some capacity.

One Arm Kettlebell Swing:

This is an exercise Dr. McGill personally worked with me on while I was visiting for a follow up for my back in October 2013. He was showing me the best way to improve my back strength, and overall core development, while minimizing injury. The video below with the good doctor is the first time that I have ever worked with a KB.

Before visiting Dr. McGill, I never attempted any kind of real KB work, especially a swing. If someone were to ask me to try it before this day; there is a very good chance I would have laughed at them or brushed it off entirely. I was mistaken.

This movement is the exact movement that you should be starting every single squat with, as well as picking up anything from the floor, i.e. a deadlift. It is a simple hip hinge.

Break at the hips, then the knees. Sit back first and then open your knees up. This is the definition of a hip hinge and it will save your back. Contrary to what I did the first 10 years of my lifting career.

You use one hand a time and you push your hips back. This is not a squat but more like the pull-through exercise you would do with a cable or band. The swing is much better. Keep a stiff and rigid core; you don’t use momentum to swing the bell, focus on using only your core. You do not squat the weight up like you see in so many YouTube videos, you swing under control and while staying tight.

You want to start off with a very light KB and iron the form down. Once your form is solid; slowly progress in weight. I suggest 8-12 reps and 3-4 sets to start.

These are a fantastic warm-up to start your training session to get a sweat going, and a cool down movement that you can do to finish off your day. You can eventually do these for time, high reps, added conditioning or as an accessory exercise. Keep your form solid, swing from the core, hinge your hips and… did I mention good form?




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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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