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How to Do a 1-Arm Kettlebell Swing

This Kettlebell Variation Is 1 of the Reasons My Arms and Butt Are So Strong

Doing a regular kettlebell swing is a pretty common exercise, especially in CrossFit workouts. It's actually a move that targets the butt and legs, because you use your lower body to propel the bell upwards.

In order to challenge your sense of balance and target one side of the body at a time, you can do this intense variation holding the kettlebell with just one hand. It's also a great way to improve your grip and strengthen the shoulders, and it utilizes the core more because you need to keep your abs completely engaged in order to successfully raise the kettlebell high enough.

CrossFit competitor and coach Dani Jenny (formally Dani Horan) from Champlain Valley CrossFit advises starting with a lighter weight kettlebell than you're used to for regular kettlebell swings. Also focus on just raising the bell to shoulder height instead of going overhead.

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1-Arm Kettlebell Swing

  • Stand with your feet wider than hips-width apart, toes slightly pointing out. Squat down, and pick up a kettlebell with your right hand. Allow it to hang between your legs.
  • With a flat back and your core engaged, inhale to bend the knees, and push your butt back. The weight should be back in the heels, so your knees are in line with the toes.
  • Keep your abs strong and your right arm straight. Relax your left arm at your side. On an exhale, press into your feet, squeezing the legs and glutes as you aggressively explode up, extending through your hips and legs to stand, which drives the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
  • Inhale, and with control, come back to the starting position, allowing the kettlebell to swing back between your legs.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete the same number of reps with each arm.
Image Source: Getty / Drazen_
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