How To Do The Double Kettlebell Swing Properly

The double kettlebell swing is a compound exercise that hits multiple muscles both in your upper and lower body.

This total body movement uses explosive power to work your entire posterior chain through a large range of motion.

Required equipment: Two kettlebells

Steps:

  • Assume a hinged position and bend your knees slightly.
  • Tuck your chin and center your bodyweight over your feet.
  • Hold a kettlebell in each hand.
  • With your core tight, begin by hiking both kettlebells between your legs. Your spine should be neutral.
  • Then, drive both kettlebells up to shoulder level by extending your hips, straightening your arms and pushing through the ground.
  • Repeat the steps above for the desired number of reps.

3-5 sets of 10 reps each is a good place to start if you are a beginner.

From there, you can increase your sets or reps gradually as you get more comfortable with the form.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING WORK?

The double kettlebell swing is all about your hips. This means your glutes and hamstrings have to work extra hard to extend your hips during this movement.

However, these two aren’t the only muscles that do the heavy lifting here; your back does some of the work too.

It works isometrically when you maintain a neutral spine while hiking the kettlebells between your legs and upward.

You also activate your shoulders and upper pecs as you raise the kettlebells to shoulder level.

Other secondary muscles that are recruited during this movement are the erector spinae, rectus abdominis and the upper back muscles which help stabilize your body when you are in the hinged position.

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING BENEFITS

IMPROVED GRIP STRENGTH

The double kettlebell swing trains you to control the load in each hand throughout the exercise, with no chance of transferring the weight from one hand to the other.

By having to control the weights through a full range of motion, you’ll improve your gripping ability and strength.

DOUBLE THE SWINGS, DOUBLE THE STRENGTH

It’s no secret that the kettlebell is one of the best weights you can use for strength-training, but you know what’s better than one kettlebell? Two of them!

Swinging using a kettlebell in each hand will not doubt give you more muscular strength than you would gain if you were only using one kettlebell.

IMPROVED CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Training using two kettlebells requires you to breathe deeply to satisfy your body’s oxygen demands.

This helps increase your cardiovascular conditioning without you having to go through hours of sprinting on the treadmill.

BUILDS CORE STRENGTH

Having to swing two kettlebells with the proper form and enough control is no mean feat.

It requires a lot of core strength to achieve the best results without hurting yourself.

If you get started on this exercise with a relatively weak core, you’ll certainly come out with a stronger core.

EASY ON THE JOINTS

This exercise is a bit easier on the joints compared to the single kettlebell swing.

This is because you can use the same load without having to carry a single heavy kettlebell in one hand.

The even distribution of the load between your two arms takes some of the pressure off your joints, preventing discomfort and injury.

ENHANCES COORDINATION

The double kettlebell swing requires a lot of coordination to execute because you have to control three different centers of masses – the two kettlebells and your body.

EFFICIENCY

This movement allows you to work two sides at once. This saves you the time you would otherwise spend working each side independently.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING

DUMBBELL SWING

The dumbbell swing is the most similar alternative to the double kettlebell swing as it mimics the movement pattern and targets the same muscles, but with a different kind of weight.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keeping a neutral spine, hinge at your hips to grip a dumbbell on the floor by the handle.
  • Hike the dumbbell between your legs.
  • Using your hips, hike the dumbbell up until it is parallel with the floor.
  • Engage your core at the lockout to prevent your back from arching.
  • Hinge at your hips once again and bring the dumbbell back between your legs.
  • Repeat the steps above as many times as you desire.

BANDED PULL THROUGH

This alternative is ideal for people who only have access to resistance bands.

How to do it:

  • Anchor a resistance band to a rack (or any sturdy anchor point).
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, facing away from the rack.
  • Grab the band between your legs with your hands.
  • Take a step further out to increase the tension if necessary.
  • With a neutral spine, hinge at your hips to let the resistance band pull your arms through your legs.
  • Explode back to the top position by squeezing your glutes and tightening your core to keep your hips and shoulders stacked.
  • Repeat the process.

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING MISTAKES TO AVOID

LOOKING UP AND DOWN AS YOU SWING

Looking up and down while swinging destabilizes your neck and interferes with the engagement of your lats during the swing.

NARROW STANCE

You need a wider stance for the double kettlebell swing compared to the single kettlebell one.

This is to create enough space so that the kettlebells do not bang into your legs as they travel in between them.

NOT POINTING YOUR TOES OUTWARD

Since you need a wider stance for the double kettlebell swing, you should point your toes outward at about 30 degrees, which will allow your hips to flex out and produce more power so that your knees don’t cave inward.

SHRUGGING YOUR SHOULDERS

If your shoulders are shrugged, you will likely be pulling the kettlebells instead of letting them swing naturally.

You should instead align the shoulders towards the kettlebells by tilting them downwards.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The double kettlebell swing is an incredibly effective exercise that boosts muscular strength, builds your core and improves your cardiovascular functioning among many other benefits.

Since it is a dynamic movement that uses momentum, you have to get the mechanics right to prevent any injuries, especially if you are using heavy kettlebells.

Aside from the risk of injury that you face if you don’t master the correct mechanics, this exercise is one of the best ways to work multiple muscles and joints on your body within a very short time.