The hip hinge is a basic movement pattern that everyone should be able to perform correctly. Here are a few reasons among many, why using the kettlebell swing to practice hip hinging may benefit you.

  1. Stretching out your hamstrings – most people are lazy when it comes to stretching their muscles, my self included sometimes. But with the swing, if you are performing it correctly, every rep is stretching you hamstrings out! This does leave them quite sore sometimes, but you are actively building increased range of motion each rep. Having looser hamstrings also leads to better standing posture as well as eliminating one of the potential causes of lower back pain. Simply put- swings are a great way to actively build flexibility without “holding” a stretching position.
  2. Increased glute activation – learning how to “squeeze our cheeks” so to speak is an important part of stabilizing our body, core, and lower back during many movements.
    At the end position of each swing, all efforts should be made to squeeze you glutes as hard as possible for activation purposes and to limit the end range of the movement while protecting your lower back. Besides building a good grip, flexible hamstrings and hip extension power, swings can help you learn to increase your mind muscle connection with your glutes. Learning this activation pattern can go a long way in protecting your hips and lower back from injury.
  3. As a conditioning tool – I find that the best conditioning exercises are ones that are safe, easy to learn, promote mobility and need little equipment. The swing fits the bill perfectly if you are taught how to do it correctly. This movement will get you breathing heavily in a short period of time. Incorporating swings (either dumbbells or kettlebells) is a great way to stimulate your metabolism and put your body into fat loss mode provided your nutrition is on point.  If you are not using swings in your training, learn how to do them properly then incorporate them into your program. I find having a weekly goal for a number of swings works great for most. Set a goal of say 250 swings per week and try to increase by 50 per week for 4 weeks or so. Sets of 15-25 in between you other exercises works, or have a separate workout where you just do swings works as well.  Just find a way to get them done! 🙂