Take The T-Rex Out Of Your Two Handed Kettlebell Swing

TRex Swings

The “T-Rex Swing” falls under the “Don’ts” of “Kettlebell Swing Do’s And Don’ts” but unfortunately I see it all too often.

The “T-Rex Swing”, also known as the KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken Swing) because the arms in the finish of the swing resemble chicken wings, or as my Iron Body Studios Co-Owner Eric Gahan very cleverly referred to it as, the “Horsey Swing”, because the arms in the finish of the swing resemble a person holding onto the reins while riding a horse.

The T-Rex Swing: Do NOT do this…

A proper kettlebell swing: Instead, YES, DO THIS…

The T-Rex Swing will typically be the result of the following:

  • Incomplete Finish Of The Kettlebell Swing: As the person returns from the back swing and finishes their hips they think that their work is done and that the kettlebell swing is finished, or they simply get lazy and exaggerate the moment of relaxation at the finish of the swing and let everything go, short of the kettlebell itself.
  • Excessive Wrist Flexion: As a result, the person loses tension in their arms and lats, thereby bouncing the kettlebell off the front of their hips, and as they finish, they finish with excessive bend in the elbow and break their neutral wrist by going into excessive wrist flexion.

See below how in my example of the T-Rex Swing my wrists are not neutral and rather have excessive flexion…


Remember, there are no wrists in kettlebells. The wrists should always be neutral. (Learn more about the importance of maintaining a neutral wrist in kettlebell training in the post by Eric Gahan, Co-Owner Iron Body Studios “The Kettlebell Wrist: It’s Simple, Keep it Simple!”).

Sometimes in the case of the T-Rex Swing, you may also see the following movement patterns:

  • Incomplete Hip Hinge: From the very start of the swing, the person may cut their hip hinge short as they complete the back swing. As a result they do not sit back deep and low enough in their hips, and their arms do not reach far enough between their legs for the back swing. As a result, they will not swing the kettlebell completely through their legs.
  • Scooping: The person leads the hip finish with their knees, thereby producing a “scooping” motion from the knees to the hips in order to arrive in extension for the hip finish. It goes something like this:

Knee Bend ==> Hip Scoop ==> Knee Extension ==> Hip Extension

Watch more here about the T-Rex Swing…

In order to correct or avoid the T-Rex Swing complete the following steps:

  1. Upper Body Tension: Generate upper body tension from the start of the swing by actively “breaking the handle” or trying to pull the hand apart with both hands while in the hike position before starting the back swing.
  2. Active Back Swing: Hike the kettlebell back into the back swing to generate the appropriate amount of force in order to load the glutes. The more force you apply to the kettlebell on the back swing, the harder your hips have to work to power the kettlebell back through your legs to the finish of the swing.
  3. The Whole Kettlebell, No Half Kettlebell: Have you heard the saying, “Don’t half ass it, whole ass it!”? Well, whole ass your hip hinge and back swing for your kettlebell swing! Sit back into your hip hinge as deep and low as possible as you execute the back swing. As you complete the back swing, your entire forearm you’re your wrists to your elbows should reach back through your legs and your forearms should touch high up on your inner thighs. Remember to keep your chest tall, and your eyes high looking out on the “horizon”.

By doing this, you should be able to see the entire kettlebell come through your legs out your backside, not just part of it peaking out…


4. Full Extension In Elbows: As you come back through to finish the kettlebell swing maintain upper body tension, full extension in your elbows, and neutral wrists and remember that the kettlebell swing is not finished when your hips finish, but rather when the kettlebell arrives at chest to shoulder height, (while you still maintain upper body tension, full extension in your elbows, and neutral wrists), as a result of the power you generate from your hip finish.

See below how I maintain upper body tension, full extension in my elbows, and that my wrists are neutral…


Learn how to steer clear of a T-Rex Swing and instead master the correct way to swing a kettlebell with grace, beauty, and power AND build a stronger leaner body in the process by taking advantage of Iron Body Studios SUMMER SWAGGER PROMO PACKS!


If you are local to Massachusetts, at Iron Body Studios We are running a promo special for summer training at our location in West Roxbury, MA.

Swagger on the Summer Beach…

Swagger on the Summer Streets…

Both Team Training and Small Group Personal Training Promo Packs available.

Combine two promo packs; a team training and small group for a wicked SUMMER SWAGGER…

Promo Packs are available for purchase through June 30, 2016.

Purchase under “ONLINE STORE”, “SERVICES”, HERE.

3 Comments on “Take The T-Rex Out Of Your Two Handed Kettlebell Swing

  1. Pingback: Best Fitness Articles -- June 12, 2016

  2. I haven’t seen this very often, it’s a little strange to me. Would the cue “long arms” keep the elbow in extension? Congrats on making the articles of the week on the PTDC

  3. Hi Shane,

    Thank you! It’s been about a year since I made the list so it’s nice to be back on it this week :).

    I’ve seen this often in my 8 years of coaching kettlebells. The more people you coach on the kettlebell swing the more you will see it.


%d bloggers like this: