I appreciate exercises that provide your bod with new sensations and challenges, fresh pathways to pursue, and plenty of room to grow and go. The one-handed lateral, or sideways, swing, definitely fits this bill.

It is an utter thrill, and one I’d recommend only once you have your hinge pattern down pat and your standard hinge-style (or hard-style) kettlebell swing in the bag, and not before.

Even though the weight is moving side to side, you’re still sending your hips straight back and then rocketing them forward again, just as you would during a standard swing. This framework is what allows the weight to clear your knees (hence the emphasis on having your hinge on lock before you proceed — there’s enough new stimulus to think about already).

Why the frick might you wanna do such a thing? Because it’ll set your lats, traps, hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and obliques alight with the fire of a thousand muscle burns. And then some. In ways tough to come by any other way. It is also an exhilarating delight.

If you give it a go, tag me in social media, I’d love to see. (Find me @JenSinkler on Instagram.)

On that note: onward, sideways.

Kettlebell One-Handed Lateral Swing

  • Position a kettlebell just outside of one foot, handle parallel with your body.
  • Send your hips backward and then bend your knees until you’re able to grasp the handle. Tilt the kettlebell so that it will fly off the floor swiftly and cleanly upon your first movement. Get firm in your upper back to provide the stability necessary to keep the weight tracking directly side to side, no wobbling or weaving. (If this low position doesn’t work for your body, you may start from the top and work up momentum for the swing gradually, starting with mini-movements.)
  • From there, using the power of your hips and hamstrings, quickly stand up (straighten your knees fast, too!), allowing the weight to swing across the front of your body.
  • As the kettlebell floats upward, squeeze your cheeks together hard to reach the top portion of the movement.
  • The moment the weight reaches its apex and is about to return downward, hinge backward at your hips and allow the weight to swing across the front of your body.
  • When the weight reaches the other side of the swing, stand back up again. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then perform on the other side.
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.