I like this move because it requires full-body engagement and attention, that you face it head-on and provide a firm structure and framework throughout. Grooves, tracks, alleyways for the weights to travel along.

Also, traps: I like that it allows you to explore your upper traps (those muscles that likely tend to bunch up between your shoulders and ears when you’re stressed). The pull of the weights on each side allows you to engage with these muscles so very directly, asks that you find a balance of length and tension there that is most ideal for you to get the job done.

Even though the challenge is issued directly to these often-overworked and -overstressed babies, or maybe because it is, I find that you are required to learn what’s going on up there, and how to engage — so different than the unconscious scrunch-n-hunch that occurs when you’re not plugged in to what’s happening up there.

The goal is ears and shoulders away from each other, and maintain space, same as usual. You’ll just be able to feel it more.

A note: As with most kettlebell exercises, it’s important that YOU are in charge of the path of your kettlebells. You decide where they are going, and what track they’re on.

With this movement, because the weights are swinging to the outsides of your legs, it’s especially important that you set the tone and the path of the weights by keeping your shoulders and upper body as broad and wide as you’re capable of throughout the exercise.

  • To start, place two kettlebells on the floor out in front of you, feet very close together to allow the passage of the kettlebells to the outsides of your legs.
  • Grip a handle in each hand with your butt high in the air, knees bent as much as necessary in order to keep your spine in a neutral (and not rounded) position. If this position doesn’t work for your bod (and it won’t, for a lot of people!), zero frets, you can start with the kettlebells hanging down by your sides instead, and build up momentum for the swing gradually. (For a suitcase deadlift tutorial to get the kettlebells into this alternative start position, hit up the exercise library.)
  • If you’re starting with the kettlebells on the floor, explosively hike(!!) the weights backwards to create a force to work against.
  • Quickly stand up, explosively extending your hips. Using a powerful pop provided by your hips, hamstrings, and glutes, make the kettlebells “float” up in front of you.
  • As they rise, keep your shoulders square and wide, and use your arms to simply keep guiding the weights in their respective tracks outside of your legs and torso.
  • Reverse the movement by pulling the kettlebells down through the same arc, staying upright as long as possible before you push your hips backward allow the kettlebells to swing to the outside your legs.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. When you’re ready to stop, squat down more during the back portion of your final swing, then gently park the kettlebells on the floor in front of you.
Unapologetically Strong’s founder, Jen Sinkler, is an award-winning writer, editor, publisher, and personal trainer who has been working in the fitness realm since 2003. Her goal is to foster a fitness space that allows people to explore a variety of fitness pursuits, connect in ways that honor all aspects of their identities, and generally flourish as their strongest selves.