May 28

Best Regression for a Kettlebell Swing


What is the best Regression for a Kettlebell Swing? In todays guest blog, fitness expert Jono Petrohilos from Fitness Education Online explains how.

First things first – I want to thank Leon for the opportunity to write a guest blog on his website. One thing I love about Leon is that he’s always open for collaboration and share his audience – so if you’re reading this blog and you haven’t connected with Leon yet – make sure to join his Facebook Group Unique Bootcamp Workouts!

Now what I want to talk about today is a Kettlebell swing regression that isn’t always used. What I’ve seen a lot of in the past is when a client can’t get the hang of a swing – the trainer will just program squats instead.

The issue with this is that squats / swings are almost completely opposite movements, the Swing is hip dominant and the squat is knee dominant!

This BETTER regression to use is the “Romanian Deadlift.” The Romanian Deadlift is WAY better than a squat as a regression because the movement is essentially exactly the same as a swing (Hip Hinge)!
Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift

Kettlebell swing

Kettlebell swing

How To Perform The Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift

The only real difference is the Romanian Deadlift is not generally used as a ballistic – which makes it safer for beginners (less for them to think about, basically “stand up straight”).  

Also when using kettlebells compared to a barbell the weight is usually fairly light for this exercise too (e.g. most people will be able to Deadlift WAY more than they can swing)

So, if you’re running a Bootcamp and you know you’re going to eventually start programming kettlebell swings– it’s a good idea to start everyone off with Deadlifts: Either as a standalone exercise or part of a solid warm up.

One thing to note with Romanian Deadlifts – they can be quite an “easy” movement for people know how to hip hinge (e.g., a client can deadlift 60kgs-70kgs no dramas, so 12kgs would be pretty light).

The movement can also be made more difficult by turning it into a single leg deadlift. All of a sudden as a unilateral movement it becomes a lot harder as you need to bring the balance component into it!

If you’re not currently trained in Kettlebells, I would STRONGLY recommend it. There are so many extra cues and tips you learn to help clients improve their technique.

When used correctly Kettlebells are one of the most popular tools for Outdoor Trainers. Kettlebells are portable, and can be used anywhere.

They can be used for ballistic movements (e.g., swings) and are great for traditional strength movements (e.g. squats / lunges). They also offer posterior chain movements that are often hard in an outdoor setting (e.g. swings, deadlifts, bent over rows, renegade rows).

If you’re interested in getting more into Kettlebell training, at Fitness Education Online, we do offer Online Kettlebell CEC Courses for Personal Trainers, you can find these on our website.

Thank you for reading the best regression for a kettlebell swing.

Jono Petrohilos

Co Founder and Director at Fitness Education Online


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