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Kettlebell Cross-Body Swing 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Modified Variation Functional Training


Kettlebell Cross-Body Swing
Kettlebell Cross-Body Swing

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Pull (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level











The Kettlebell Cross-Body Swing is a dynamic exercise designed to primarily target the hamstrings while engaging the glutes as secondary muscles. In this movement, a kettlebell is swung in a diagonal pattern across the body, incorporating a powerful hip hinge and extension. As the kettlebell moves from one side to the other, the hamstrings undergo a dynamic contraction, contributing to muscle strength and endurance. The glutes are also activated during the hip extension phase, enhancing overall posterior chain engagement. This exercise not only promotes hamstring development but also improves hip mobility and stability. Executed with a kettlebell, it provides a versatile and efficient workout for the targeted muscle groups, making it an effective addition to lower body training routines.

How to Perform

  1. Set-Up:

    • Begin by placing a kettlebell on the ground in front of you.

    • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward, and the kettlebell between your feet.

  2. Grasp the Kettlebell:

    • Hinge at your hips with a slight bend in your knees and reach down to grip the kettlebell handle with both hands.

    • Ensure a firm grip and keep your back straight, maintaining a neutral spine position.

  3. Starting Position:

    • The kettlebell should be between your legs, and your hips should be pushed back with your chest up.

    • Brace your core to create a stable foundation for the upcoming movement.

  4. Initiate the Swing:

    • Swing the kettlebell back between your legs, hinging at the hips.

    • As the kettlebell swings back, shift your weight onto your back foot, loading the hamstrings and engaging the glutes.

  5. Powerful Hip Extension:

    • Drive your hips forward and straighten your body as you swing the kettlebell forward and upward.

    • Simultaneously, the kettlebell should cross your body diagonally to the opposite side.

  6. Crossing the Body:

    • As the kettlebell reaches its peak height, allow it to cross your body diagonally, moving from one side to the other.

    • Maintain a strong and engaged core throughout this phase.

  7. Controlled Descent:

    • Allow the kettlebell to swing back down between your legs, and repeat the movement.

    • Keep the motion controlled, utilizing the power generated from your hips.

  8. Breathing:

    • Inhale as the kettlebell swings back between your legs.

    • Exhale forcefully as you drive your hips forward and swing the kettlebell upward.

  9. Repetition:

    • Repeat the cross-body swing for the desired number of repetitions, ensuring a smooth and controlled rhythm.

    • Focus on the engagement of the hamstrings and glutes throughout the entire range of motion.

  10. Cooldown and Safety:

    • After completing the set, gently lower the kettlebell to the ground with proper form.

    • Take a moment for a brief cooldown and stretch, emphasizing the hamstrings and glutes to enhance flexibility and reduce muscle tension.


  1. Begin with a kettlebell between your feet, maintaining a shoulder-width stance and toes slightly turned outward.

  2. Hinge at the hips with a slight knee bend, gripping the kettlebell handle with both hands while keeping a neutral spine.

  3. Initiate the swing by shifting your weight onto the back foot, swinging the kettlebell back between your legs.

  4. Powerfully drive your hips forward, straightening your body, and swing the kettlebell diagonally across your body to the opposite side.

  5. Engage the hamstrings and glutes during the upward phase, ensuring a strong contraction at the top of the swing.

  6. Keep the core braced throughout the movement for stability and to protect the lower back.

  7. Control the descent of the kettlebell as it swings back between your legs, maintaining a smooth and controlled motion.

  8. Coordinate your breathing, inhaling as the kettlebell swings back, and exhaling forcefully during the upward phase.

  9. Focus on the diagonal trajectory of the kettlebell, emphasizing the engagement of the hamstrings and glutes.

  10. Repeat the cross-body swing for the desired number of reps, maintaining proper form and rhythm, and gradually increase the kettlebell weight as strength and technique improve.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Wide Stance and Overturned Toes:

    • Mistake: Adopting a stance wider than shoulder-width or allowing toes to turn too far outward.

    • Tip: Maintain a shoulder-width stance with toes slightly turned outward to optimize hamstring and glute engagement while ensuring stability.

  2. Prevent Rounded Back during Setup:

    • Mistake: Allowing the back to round during the initial hip hinge and kettlebell grip.

    • Tip: Hinge at the hips with a straight back, ensuring a neutral spine when gripping the kettlebell to protect the lower back and enhance hamstring activation.

  3. Do Not Overextend on Upward Swing:

    • Mistake: Overextending the body or leaning excessively backward at the peak of the swing.

    • Tip: Maintain an upright posture at the top of the swing, avoiding overextension to protect the lower back and maintain focus on the hamstrings and glutes.

  4. Avoid a Passive Core:

    • Mistake: Allowing the core to be passive or not fully engaged during the movement.

    • Tip: Brace the core throughout the exercise, ensuring stability and preventing unnecessary stress on the lower back.

  5. Don't Use Excessive Arm Force:

    • Mistake: Over-relying on arm strength to swing the kettlebell rather than initiating the movement from the hips.

    • Tip: Focus on driving the swing with powerful hip extension, letting the arms act as a dynamic extension. This maximizes hamstring and glute involvement.

  6. Avoid Uncontrolled Kettlebell Descent:

    • Mistake: Allowing the kettlebell to descend uncontrollably or swinging too low between the legs.

    • Tip: Control the descent of the kettlebell, maintaining a smooth and controlled motion to prevent strain on the hamstrings and maintain proper form.

  7. Prevent Holding Breath:

    • Mistake: Holding your breath during the movement.

    • Tip: Coordinate your breathing with the swing, inhaling during the backward swing and exhaling forcefully during the upward phase to optimize energy transfer and focus on muscle engagement.

  8. Do Not Rush the Movement:

    • Mistake: Performing the cross-body swing with rushed or jerky movements.

    • Tip: Execute each phase of the swing in a controlled manner, emphasizing the diagonal trajectory, and maintaining a steady rhythm to prevent wasted energy and enhance muscle activation.

  9. Avoid Using Excessive Weight:

    • Mistake: Starting with a kettlebell that is too heavy, compromising form and risking injury.

    • Tip: Begin with a manageable weight and gradually progress as strength and technique improve, ensuring a safe and effective workout for the hamstrings and glutes.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.