The Kettlebell Coaching Series Part 1: Loading the Posterior Chain (Hamstrings) in the Swing

Loading the Posterior Chain at the bottom of the KB Swing is critical to a strong hip drive and to get the sequencing correct. Failing to load the posterior chain in the swing is common and creates a host of issues too long to list. While saying to load the “Hamstrings” is well and good, getting the student to understand how to consistently get into this position is another matter entirely. While there are countless drill and cues coaches use to fix this issue, we will focus on four. Our criterion in selecting these and all coaching fixes in this series is as follows:

  1. It works
    1. We are only presenting fixes that we have used for years with a high level of success
  2. Its easy for the coach to learn
    1. Our goal is to make your job easier… not harder. Therefore, we kept it simple
  3. Its easy for the student to understand and perform
    1. We don’t believe in ridiculous fixes that require a student to do 7 things at one. As number 2 states… our goal is to make your job easier. Confusing the student won’t help accomplish this goal.

Here’s an example of a Erik failing to load his posterior chain. Notice the short ROM in his hinge. He never gets enough weight in his heels and there is definitely no “loading” of the Hamstrings to speak of… FYI: His normal swing looks a little better than this.

Here are 4 coaching fixes that will help:

Fix #1: Load the hamstrings before hiking the bell  

Fix #2: Behind the Heel Hip Hinge Touches (we need a shorter name for this one)

Fix #3: Towel Drill #2

Fix #4: Clipboard Drill

Please note that we do NOT recommend that you do all 4 drills with your students. You will need to fit the drill to the student. Optimally, 1-2 drills is all it takes.

How to implement these fixes…

  1. We recommend everyone does coaching fix #1 before they hike the kettlebell.
  2. Coaching fix #2 can be done before swings as part of your prep work or as part of a circuit (focused on skill acquisition) which includes swings. This is a great tool because it teaches your student what the bottom of the swing should “feel” like.
  3. Towel Drill #2 is also all about feeling ideal position at the bottom of the swing
  4. Coaching fix #4 is implemented while a student is performing swings so they can feel the bottom position in each swing.

Now that you have all this new info… try some of the fixes above with your students who have a challenges loading their Hamstrings! Tell us which ones worked for you or your students.

Shameless plug time:

Fit EDU’s next Certified Kettlebell Instructor (Level 1) Seminar is scheduled for Saturday, 6/13/15 in Malvern, PA ( If you’re ready to get an affordable certification to immediately improve your kettlebell coaching skills we’d love to have you there!

Please note: This article and many to come will focus on simple coaching fixes designed to help trainers coach and “fix” issues students might have in The Russian Style Kettlebell Swing. We are also working under the assumption you and/or your client does not have any major movement limitations / contraindications and simply needs skill work and some great coaching to improve.

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