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First Kettlebell, Need Some Form Help


Just picked up a 20kg kettlebell and looking for some feedback on my form. I've only had it a few days and after reading several articles and watching some vids I used it to practice some swings and single-arm cleans. I'd like to get some feedback on my form.

In the first clip, it looks like the bell is swinging away from me at the top and that I'm not fully extending my hips. I tried to improve both these things in the second clip.

The one arm swings seem OK. thoughts?

Cleans jsut aren't happening. I was really just trying to practice the rack position but before I started my forearms were already sore from an earlier workout. I managed 5 with my right arm but only 2 with the left. feedback appreciated? is the bell in the right position?

I'm going with the assumption the not only will my form improve but my forearms will toughen up. 5workouts? 10? I'm doing my best not to let the bell flip over and slam down but that is going to take more practice.



here’s the vid




This video helped me a lot with the basics

This one, despite the bad audio, helped refine my technique a bit.

And this one is decent too.

I’m by NO means an expert, just learning like you. Hope these help.


Nick - Thanks for the vid. I’d seen two of the three but will definitely check the 3rd.

Still hoping someone that has refined their technique can point out what I’m doing wrong, particularly in the rack position.


For your swings:
Try using a towel to swing the kettlebell. If the towel curves during the movement, or your wrists come up before the bell, you’re muscling the bell up. You don’t want that. Swings are meant to be a lower body movement, with no real upper body help. Using the towel makes it harder to muscle the bell to the height you want without being noticed. It’s a hip movement. Your hands should only be holding on, your arms should be almost limp.

For your cleans:
Control the bell. You’re not making a straight line (front view, would need to be arced in a side view). In the video the bell goes up, to the left, to the right, then you straighten it. That’s way too much movement. You want a single fluid, smooth movement from floor to rack position. It seems like you are trying to move more like a high pull, making a straight line from floor to rack. You should be arcing slightly.

  Cleans are a hip movement.  It looks like you're using your back and arm to pull it from the ground, but I've always been taught that the clean is almost identical to the swing.  The biggest difference is where the bell goes, and that is controlled by a rotation of your wrist.

Consider getting a $20 kettlebell from Walmart to really fine tune your technique. Heavier bell has a steeper learning curve.

Steve Cotter, Steve Maxwell, Mike Mahler, and Pavel are all worth googling/youtubing to see great techniques, dvds, and free articles.


Thanks for the feedback. I created another vid using the towel technique and then immediately followed it up sans-towel. the wrists and arms look OK and although I feel everything in the posterior area I think I need more hip snap and to keep my shoulders retracted. Thoughts??

[quote]goose27 wrote:
Consider getting a $20 kettlebell from Walmart to really fine tune your technique. Heavier bell has a steeper learning curve.

I am going to keep going using the 20kg for now but if the motor patterns don’t start to improve a lighter bell might be in order


Let’s see if this works.



Let’s see if this works:



The swings look better already. A lot of kettlebelling technique is just finding the right groove. I had to actually stand up and clean invisible kettle bells to think about actual form. Keep up the good work and it will all feel easy.


You don’t have much of a hip snap.
Forcefully pull the bell back like a center snap, and then, like you were starting with the towel, snap the hips and allow the force generated from that bring the bell up.
You don’t need a lighter bell.


I’ve continued working on my technique and think things are getting better. I found an entire series of videos by Phil Scarito and I think they have helped. In addition to working on the hip snap like jp suggested I am also trying to keep my shoulders back and locked. That way once I progress to the cleans and snatches the bell won’t be too far in front of me. I will post up another vid later today

As for a lighter bell it may not be necessary for swings but it might help with learning the rack. 20kg resting on my forearms is just plain f*cking painful. The motor skills are going to take forever if I can only do 5 reps per arm and then have to take a week off for the soreness to reside.


SO I practiced some two hand and single swings in addition to a drill I found in Phil Scarito’s YouTube videos. The hip snap is there but my knees are still soft. Seems like they should be locked out.

As I try to improve my form I’m only doing 10-12 reps. Can imagine how hard it will be to knock out 50 of these f*ckers




Let’s try this again. Sometimes embedding doesn’t work for me. hmmmmm…


Hi sport

way to go finding a kettle bell - now find an RKC to help you with your swing

The stick drill is generally used to get the back alignment right, not the hip snap.

here’s two articles i did on the Beautiful Swing: watch the hip drive

So Put the bell down and sit on the edge of a box and then swing your arms way up to drive you up.
guess what’s going to happen?
your hips are going to come forward - pow!

Just keep doing that to rep the feel of the hips coming forward - pop. pow.
it’s fast, not slow

feel it?

now just bend your knees a bit and jump up without moving your arms - the hips thrust forward - the leap comes from the hips - when you’re in the air you curve a wee bit into extension like a bow

now when you land,
tighten your butt, lock your knees - feel the knee caps suck up and tighten your abs. feel that?

practice that - getting that tightness when you’re in that jump up position

practice those jumps - 5*10 - each time on landing get that tightness.

now add the bell

and if as has been suggested you can’t keep that tightness for your practice, go get a 16.

hope that helps

dr mc schraefel phd cscs


MC - Thanks for the reply. I’ll incorporate some of your suggestions when I do the drills tomorrow. The most difficult part will probably be locking my knees. I try, in most cases, to keep my knees soft. If it is part of a proper swing though, I will incorporate.

I will look around for an RKC instructor in my area but I imagine it’ll be cost prohibitive.