I am learning the kettlebell double handed swing. Reading about this and looking at youtube videos I get the impression that this is difficult to do right. That was until I came up with the following theory: the kettlebell double handed swing is basically a vertical jump with an added pendulum movement. Do not force the pendulum, just let it do its own thing.
Further I think that the deadlift is basically a slow version of the vertical jump. So in term of explosiveness: deadlift < kettlebell swing < vertical jump. Except for this all three are basically a hip hinge movement => roughly the same.

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(I'm using the SFG Kettlebell Swing for this answer, other swings are also available)

Kind of.

In a good swing, you first hike the bell between your legs, using maximal hip bend and bending your legs only enough to allow the bell to pass between your thighs (as Dan John is fond of saying, attack the zipper). You then effectively "stomp" your feet, tensing your glutes (to extend the hips) as well as your quads (to extend the legs) as well as your core (to maintain a standing plank kind of position). The 'bell doesn't go above shoulder height.

I'll admit I'm not really experienced in the correct mechanics for a good standing vertical jump, but the immediate differences I can see are:

  1. Your feet are planted in a swing, in a jump you extend up onto your toes
  2. You brace your core (standing plank) in a swing, in a jump you don't
  3. You don't have to deal with the landing in a swing (obviously)
  4. You don't swing your arms overhead in a swing, you do in a jump

So... kind of.

The main drivers of the movement (the hips and explosive hip extension) are very similar to a vertical jump (and a deadlift, as long as you don't pull sumo), but what happens after the explosive movement isn't. In a swing, you tighten everything up in order to control the path of the kettlebell (brace the core, fire the lats, etc) in a jump, I believe there's less tension after the explosive hip hinge.

As a side note, the swing isn't difficult to do right, but it's very easy to do wrong. It seems that different types of swings have also emerged, the CrossFit style, swing the 'bell overhead swing, is very different to the SFG swing, which is very different to the squatting swing that a lot of trainers in commercial gyms seem to insist on teaching.

If you want to learn how to do a swing properly, go to the original source material. Look up Pavel Tsatsouline's books or find an SFG qualified instructor (or 1 day course)


the kettle bell double handed swing is great because it enables you to get the correct natural body movement for doing squats and dead lifts.the weight swinging keeps your body controlled in the correct postures. yes just let the kettle bell do its own thing. yes all work out the same muscles.

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