Optimizing The Kettlebell Swing Part 5: How To Create & Use The Hardstyle Lockout

Welcome back to Part 5 of our 10-part series on Optimizing The Kettlebell Swing!

Last week we covered arguably the most important aspect of your swing; the setup.

Your pre-flight checklist will not only help you learn how to safely master the Kettlebell Swing, it’ll also significantly decrease your risk of injury.

If you missed last weeks post we’d strongly recommend you go back and check it out.

If you’ve checked off all the boxes in your setup routine, then hiking the bell back and nailing your first swing should be relatively simple…

the Hardstyle Lockout is the first place to look once the bell is air born.

In today’s post we’ll cover:

  • What the Hardstyle Lockout is

  • How to use it

  • And ways you can train it to fine-tune your swing

Let’s Bring It Back...

Refer back to a couple weeks ago when we talked about the Static Stomp Deadlift and it being a GREAT drill to learn how to create tension throughout your entire body.

Remember the Static Stomp Deadlift is a slow, grinding lift that allows you to always make sure you’re in an ideal position at all times.

The Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing is quite the opposite; a lift that’s FASTER than you’re comfortable with.

Add speed to your Static Stomp Deadlift and you essentially have the Kettlebell Swing.


The difficulty here is that when you add speed to a lift, often times your body will fall back into patterns it prefers to use…

This is where your swing becomes less “hingey” and instead becomes more “squatty”...

To prevent this from happening - and developing an unwanted habit - you can use the Static Stomp Deadlift to help you learn, master, and apply the Hardstyle Lockout to your swing.

The Static Stomp Deadlift IS your Hardstyle Lockout...

Hike Like You Mean It

Picking up where we left off last week, you’ve set your feet a good distance away from the bell, set your rib cage, set your hinge, tilted the bell handle towards you, and have taken a breath to create intra-abdominal pressure…

All that’s left it to hike the bell back between your legs!

Here are a couple points to practice:

“Screw” your armpits in place

This will - again - create tension throughout your body and make it much easier for you to perform a strong hike with the bell.

Without letting go of the handle squeeze your armpits inwards and image someone has placed a pencil that you need to pinch between your armpit and your chest.

This should give you the “screwed in” feeling you’re looking for.

Aim For The Triangle

There’s a triangle that forms in the upper thighs between both legs and the middle of your pelvis.

The higher the bell is in that triangle, the less stress you’re going to feel on your back and the more strength and power you’ll develop through the hips.

We often times see members drag the bell back between their legs when hiking their first set of kettlebell swings...

Don’t drag the bell back.

With some intention, hike the bell back between your legs aiming for the triangle that forms in the upper thighs and middle of the pelvis.

Be Quick At The Bottom

The term, “faster than you’re comfortable with” refers to this exact point during the swing…

Once you’ve hiked the bell back between your legs you want to spend as little time as possible at the bottom of this hinge position.

To stand up from the swing simply DRIVE your feet into the floor and try to attain the tension you’re now familiar with creating in the Static Stomp Deadlift.

Below you can see the different phases of exactly what we’re talking about…

  • Hiking the bell back

  • Driving force into the floor

  • Maintaining a Hardstyle Lockout at the top


This is your Hardstyle Lockout and this is your Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing.

We’ll cover the timing of the swing in next week’s post, today we’re narrowing our focus on the transition from your setup to the Hardstyle Lockout.

The Dead-Stop Swing

A great way to practice this transition from setup to Hardstyle Lockout is the Dead-Stop Swing.

Also referred to as the Power Swing, this drill allows you to break the swing down into sets of 1 done by starting with the bell on the floor and finishing with the bell on the floor.

To practice the Dead-Stop Swing assume your setup position with the bell tilted back towards you ready to hike.

Hike the bell back between your legs, be quick at the bottom, and transition to the Hardstyle Lockout by driving your feet into the floor.

Now wait for the bell to come back to you, allowing the bell to go back into the hike position, and allowing it to pendulum forward back onto the floor where you first started your set.

If you took a picture of your start position and end position you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.

In other words, finish your set the same way you started your set.

One thing we often tell our members is, “The set’s not over until the bell’s on the floor.”

The Dead-Stop Swing is as slow as it gets with the Kettlebell Swing and is a GREAT way to learn how to properly hike the bell back and attain a strong lockout.

Dial It Up A Notch...

And pair Dead-Stop Swings with your Static Stomp Deadlift.

Do 1 set of Static Stomp Deadlifts for 2-5 reps holding the top for 5-7 seconds. Try to be as quick as you can at the bottom of your Deadlift - the moment the bell hits the floor.

Next step over to your Dead-Stop Swing bell and perform anywhere from 2-5 reps of Dead-Stop Swings aiming to create the same tension you just created with your Static Stomp Deadlift while also trying to be as quick as you can at the bottom of your swing.

The less thinking you have to do during your swings the better.

The Static Stomp Deadlift will remind you, “this is how tight I want to be at the top of my Swing.”

The Dead-Stop Swing will allow you to practice getting THAT tight at the top of your swing.

Ping-pong back and forth between the two to learn, train, and master your Hardstyle Lockout.

What To Look For Next Week

Next week we get into Part 6 of the series; Timing Is Everything.

Patience is a virtue…

Once you’re off and swinging you’ll need to find a rhythm and timing (with patience) is a big part of that.

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