The dumbbell swing combines momentum and muscle control to achieve the desired results. Though this exercise involves swinging and momentum, you need to control all of the movements to achieve effective results. When performing a dumbbell swing, do not round your back at any time. Your feet should stay planted on the ground and your core should remain tight. Keep your chin parallel with the floor.
Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Holding the weight with both hands, squat so that you can bring the weight between your legs, keeping your arms fully extended. Swing the weight between your legs to begin. After the weight reaches behind you, thrust your hips forward and arc the weight upward, reaching for your chest. Arc the weight back down to the starting position and repeat. Most of the work is carried out by your lower back, hips and hamstrings.
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Strength, Endurance and Balance
The exercise targets your hamstrings and glutes, but you also use your back, quadriceps and shoulders. If strength improvement is your focus, try a lower rep count and heavier weight. If you want to build endurance, use a lighter weight and perform more repetitions. Because your body has to counter the swing of the weight, your balance is also improvement.
Because you can do the swing at a faster pace than a different kind of exercise such as a frontal shoulder raise or a squat, you can burn more calories. This exercise also incorporates a number of muscles at once, which in turn will be more effective at burning calories. Try the one-armed version to increase the calorie burn. Since you'll be working one arm at a time, your workout time will double and you will burn more calories. To perform the one-armed variation, follow the same form as for a two-arm swing, but hold one hand out for balance.
Safety Tips and Considerations
Warm up and stretch -- stretching after you warm up -- before and after your workout to minimize injuries. Never hold your breath. Inhale on the easier part of the exercise and exhale on the more difficult part. Give yourself plenty of space so that you don't hit anyone with your swing, and keep a firm grip at all times. Keep your core tight and your back straight.