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The kettlebell swing is a ballistic strength training movement that is a low-impact, high-intensity exercise that improves your cardiovascular conditioning, grip strength, and even the power in and look of your glutes. Swings are a fundamental kettlebell movement and arguably the best kettlebell exercise.

Do you know one way to double this fun? 

If you guessed double kettlebell swings, collect your $200 as you pass go. You’ll lift more weight with double kettlebell swings, leading to a more intense cardiovascular workout. Plus, it further increases grip strength and helps reduce muscular and strength imbalances between sides. 

And this is just scratching the surface of the benefits of the double kettlebell swing. This certified personal trainer will tell you how to do the double kettlebell swing, why you should do it, and the various muscles it works. Ready to swing for better-looking glutes, hamstrings, and forearms? Then, let’s go. 

How To Do The Double Kettlebell Swing

Only attempt the double kettlebell swing when you feel comfortable with bodyweight swings and the single kettlebell swing. 

  1. Stand in a wider-than-shoulder-width stance with two kettlebells just in front of you. You must stand wide enough for two kettlebells to fit between your legs.
  2. Hinge with your shoulders down and chest up and reach forward to grip a kettlebell in each hand with your wrists in neutral and palms facing each other.
  3. Get your chest up, and squeeze your armpits together to engage your upper back.
  4. Then use your forearms to cushion against your inner thighs as you hike the kettlebells behind you. 
  5. Then snap your hips forward, using the momentum of your ballistic hip hinge to swing the weights up near chest height.
  6. Your finishing position should look like an upright front plank.

Repeat in a continuous loop for desired reps. 

RELATED: The Best Kettlebell Exercises, According to a Trainer

Double kettlebell swing

8 Benefits of The Double Kettlebell Swing 

Double kettlebell swings are more brutal than performing the single kettlebell swing, and they will have you sweating and swearing under your breath. But for all this difficulty, there are many benefits of kettlebell swings listed below.  

You Can Lift More Weight 

Although you’ll have less weight in each hand than using both hands on the single kettlebell, you can swing more weight. For instance, if you usually swing a 35-pound heavy kettlebell, you can swing 26 pounds in each hand for a total of 52, a 17-pound increase. 

Better Cardio Workout

double kettlebell swing front view

Even using a lighter weight in each hand than you would for the regular single kettlebell swing. Your total weight per swing will be higher. This total load doesn’t just improve strength but your cardiovascular conditioning and fat loss potential too. A small 2021 study1 showed that swinging heavier loads will increase your heart rate during your double kettlebell swing workout.

Recruits More Muscle Groups 

Whether one or two kettlebells, the swing is a powerful full-body movement pattern that will get more than your glutes rocking. Like lifting heavier weights, being able to swing heavier loads has been shown to increase muscle engagement2 across your whole body, specifically the hip and ankle muscles.

RELATED: Best Kettlebells

Help Fix Muscular and Strength Imbalances

The double kettlebell swing requires you to do two swings simultaneously, one with each arm during the swing motion. You’ll need to lock everything in, like your hips, core, upper back, and grip, to keep good technique. But with a single kettlebell, if a dominant side exists. It may take over. However, doing the swing with two bells will bring to light any imbalances between sides so that you can address them.  

Increases Grip Strength 

Since your arms will work independently, double kettlebell swings will positively impact your grip strength. By controlling the load with each hand throughout the range of motion, without each hand having to shoulder the load (see what I did there), your grip strength in each hand will improve. 

Improved Coordination and Balance

Due to their offset load, kettlebells increase the engagement of the body’s stabilizers to remain on two feet and swing with good form. But when you swing with two bells in a ballistic fashion, you will need to prevent the bells from smacking together at the top of the swing, and this concentration will help improve your coordination. 

double kettlebell swing demo side view

Adds Variety to Training 

Single kettlebell swings are great, but it helps the mind, body, and soul to change things up occasionally to keep you engaged and challenged to prevent boredom and overuse injuries. Throwing in some double kettlebell swings may be the spark you need for glute gains.  

Improved Mental Toughness

Double kettlebell swings are tough on your grip, lungs, and legs. When you’re doing them, you may think, “Geez, these are really hard. I’m going to quit now.” When you put those thoughts to bed and complete the set, you’ll improve your mental toughness and physical capacity to do stuff. 

Try These Double Swings Kettlebell Workouts

The double kettlebell exercises below will be performed as a triset; you will only put the kettlebells down once you finish the triset. Keep the repetitions between six and 12, depending on your fitness level and level of strength. Rest a little between exercises and two to three minutes at the end of each triset.

Repeat between two to five times, depending on your fitness level. If you are a beginner, start on the low side. If you’re a more advanced lifter, do three to five rounds. 

Swing, Squat, Press

swing squat press graphic

2 to 5 Rounds:

6-12 Double KB swings 

6-12 Double kettlebell front squat

6-12 Alternating overhead press

Swing, Clean, Snatch

swing clean snatch graphic red background

2 to 5 Rounds:

6-12 Double arm kettlebell swing 

6-12 Double kettlebell cleans

6-12 Double kettlebell snatches 

Swing, Snatch, Carry

swing snatch carry graphic black background

2 to 5 Rounds:

6-12 Double kettlebell swings 

6-12 Double kettlebell snatches 

Double overhead kettlebell carry 40 yards

Deadlift, Swing, Clean or Snatch

deadlift swing clean or snatch graphic blue background

2 to 5 Rounds:

6-12 Double kettlebell deadlift

6-12 Double swings

6-12 Double cleans or snatches 

What Muscles do Double Kettlebell Swings Work? 

Double kettlebell swings are full-body exercises but mainly focus on the below-mentioned muscles in the posterior chain. 

Hamstrings

If your hamstrings are not sore the day after a set of swings, you are doing them wrong. They are the prime mover, along with the glutes, when it comes to swings. They contract eccentrically and concentrically as they assist the glutes with hip extension. 

Glutes

Glutes are the prime mover, and the point of doing kettlebell swings is to get a strong, popping set of glutes. Finishing with your glutes at lockout ensures better form and a better baby-got-back look. 

Upper Back and Lats 

During the kettlebell swing, engaging the upper back and lats and keeping them tight ensures better form and the muscle of the glutes and hamstrings to do their job correctly. 

Lower Back 

The lower back muscles, known as the erector spinae, play a similar role as the upper back during kettlebell swings. They contract isometrically to keep the spine neutral and for the larger muscle of the hamstrings and glutes to do their job.  

Forearms

If you cannot grip it, you cannot swing it. The forearm flexors and extensors co-contraction ensure a neutral wrist during the kettlebell swing. Kettlebell swings will improve your grip strength and endurance.  

Double Kettlebell Swing: Final Thoughts 

Double kettlebell swings are just the ticket when looking for variety and a challenge in your kettlebell training. They are tougher to perform than the typical two-handed single kettlebell swing but have considerable benefits: 

  • Improved grip strength
  • Works more muscle
  • Improved cardiovascular endurance
  • It helps fix strength imbalances and improves balance

They will add variety to your training to keep you more engaged. What are you waiting for? Get to swinging.

Double Kettlebell Swing: Q&A

Are double kettlebell swings good?

Yes, double kettlebell swings are good, provide variety in your training, and will help improve your grip strength and cardiovascular capacity. But be warned, they are tough. Make sure you have the single kettlebell swing form down before attempting this exercise.

What muscles do double kettlebell swings work?

Double kettlebell swings work the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back, lats, and forearms. This study2 shows double kettlebell swings work more muscle than single kettlebell swings, particularly the muscles surrounding the hips and ankles.

Can you do kettlebell swings with two kettlebells?

Yes, you can swing two kettlebells, but there are a couple of adjustments you need to make over doing the single kettlebell swing. First, you need a wider stance for space to swing between your legs. Second, you must grip the kettlebells with your wrists in neutral, palms facing each other the entire set.

References

  1. Raymond LM, Renshaw D, Duncan MJ. Acute Hormonal Response to Kettlebell Swing Exercise Differs Depending on Load, Even When Total Work Is Normalized. J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Apr 1;35(4):997-1005.
  2. Levine NA, Hasan MB, Avalos MA, Lee S, Rigby BR, Kwon YH. Effects of kettlebell mass on lower-body joint kinetics during a kettlebell swing exercise. Sports Biomech. 2020 Mar 4:1-14

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