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Dumbbell Swing [Exercise Guide]

dumbbell swing

What Is A Dumbbell Swing

Dumbbell swing is one of the most effective compound exercises to train your legs and back muscles. It improves strength, flexibility, and balance. Furthermore, it’s good for cardio. A rather simple technique is combined with convenience. You can practice dumbbell swing anywhere – at the gym, at home, or even outside. The only equipment you need is a dumbbell. Regular exercising helps to develop muscle and shred body fat. Read on to know more about muscles worked, their benefits, and how to perform the exercise.

What Muscles Does Dumbbell Swing Work

Dumbbell swing is a compound exercise. It means you work on many muscles at once by practicing this exercise. Here is the list of muscles worked:

  • glutes
  • hamstring
  • quadriceps
  • erectors
  • trapezius
  • rhomboids
  • deltoids
  • abdominals

Knowing how muscles work during this exercise will help you understand the exercise to avoid mistakes and injuries. Let’s find out how the muscles should work while you are practicing a dumbbell swing.


The glute takes the main load during exercise. Glutes provide one of the main movements – hip extension. Also, these muscles are a source of impulse strength for arm swing.


The less you bend your knees, the greater the load is exposed to the thighs and hamstrings. If your goal is to pump these muscles first, try to bend your knees only slightly. Hamstrings also stabilize knee joints and help provide a hip extension.


These muscles are more active in the second phase of the exercise when the knee bend reaches its maximum. However, the dumbbell swing doesn’t target the quadriceps primarily.


The spinal erectors play a crucial role in this exercise. They are responsible for the back extension. They support the body throughout the movement and prevent the spine from rounding. This feature is essential because the arc in the mid and low back during the movement can cause injuries.

Rhomboids and Trapezius

These muscles work as a support for the upper back position. They keep the upper body in a neutral pose, maintaining stability. This function is crucial because it guarantees proper resistance throughout the full range of motion. 


Abs are active at the movement’s top part. The muscles flex the spine, preventing hyperextension. 


Deltoids control most of the movement, especially in the “come up” phase. A dumbbell swing is one of the best exercises for loading front delts.

How to Perform Dumbbell Swing

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Put your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders down and your abs tight. The head should be in line with a spine. 

Step 2. Bend the knees

Then, bend the knees a bit, hinging at the hips. The goal is a soft quarter bend and natural lower back-arc. Put the dumbbell in front of you.

Step 3. Swing the dumbbell

Grab the dumbbell by the end. Feel the tension in the lats and rear shoulder. Hike the weight between the legs and come up. Repeat this swing motion as much as you can. Don’t squat or bend over. Snap your hips through, bring your chest almost parallel to the floor, and come up straight.

Advantages of Dumbbell Swing

Compound exercise

Dumbbell swing targets many muscles at once, making the workout very effective and saving your time. The exercise develops a posterior chain – the whole backside of your body. The gluten complex and hamstring also work during the exercise. The torso executes supporting function, preventing spine moves.

Suitable for beginners

You don’t need to spend a fortune on equipment or have an advanced fitness level to start exercising. Dumbbell swings are available for everyone. Beginners can choose lightweight at first. There will be no problem with practicing for people who are overweight. The technique is simple and includes three steps.    

Exercising at a lower risk

The dumbbell swing is a low-risk workout since it doesn’t place any pressure on the spine or joints. There is only one thing that can be potentially dangerous. The wrists might be strained if you attempt to lift the weight without wearing wraps. Therefore we suggest doing this workout with them on.

5 Dumbbell Swing Alternatives 

Barbell Hip-Thrust

Barbell hip-thrust primarily targets glutes and hips as well as dumbbell swing. It’s possible to perform this exercise both with and without weight.

How to do:

  • Sit on the floor, leaning on the bench behind you. Your upper back should be on the edge of a seat.
  • Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor.
  • Push up straight into the air. Try not to arch your back. Squeeze your glutes and feel hip extension. Push as hard as you can by going to the top.
  • Come back to the starting position.

Romanian Deadlift

Adding a little weight while maintaining focus on the posterior chain is possible with this exercise. The exercise is ideal for those who want to focus on loading hamstrings.

How to do:

  • Begin by holding the bar in your hands at your hips.
  • Slowly lower the bar by bending forward at the hips while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Drive your hips forward to return to the beginning position whenever you feel a tiny stretch in your hamstrings.

Resistance Band Pull Through

What alternative to choose if you have a band and don’t have a dumbbell? This exercise might be the answer. You get a wonderful workout for your glutes and hamstrings by concentrating on the posterior chain with this movement.

How to do:

  • Set a band at a low point. Grab it between your legs and make a few steps forward to create resistance. 
  • Hinge your body and slightly bend the knees. 
  • Pull your upper torso through, initiating the movement. 
  • Extend to the hips and knees, feeling the pressure in the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Return to the starting position.

Sumo Deadlift 

Besides targeting glutes, squads, and lower back, sumo deadlift helps focus on hamstrings and hips. The exercise technique guarantees the minimum load on your lower back 

How to do:

  • Approach the bar with a wide stance. Put your toes close to the barbell’s collars. Toes should be pointing away from your body. 
  • Choose a grip. You can use an overhand grip or a switch grip. Ensure your hands are directly under the shoulders. 
  • Lower your body and grab the barbell. Try to keep your chest up and push your knees out. Ensure you are keeping your core tight while exercising.
  • Lift the barbell. Make the distance the bar travels shorter by lowering your shoulders. This tip helps to maximize the weight you can lift. Make sure you are pushing by your hips.
  • Go back. Once you reach the top, put the bar back down to the ground, controlling the movement.

Box Jumps

It’s a great alternative exercise that gets your body to move through a similar range of motion.

How to do:

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart in front of a box.
  • As you bend your knees and swing your arms backward, keep your body in a slouched position.
  • Push yourself off the ground by swinging your arms forward.
  • Make a smooth landing on the box with your feet flat and bent knees.
  • Retract your steps and do it again.


Are dumbbell swings effective?

Yes. It works in several different parts of the body, including the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the chest, the trapezius, and the shoulders. Strength, endurance, power, and speed may all be improved by practicing this exercise.

How do you do dumbbell swings?

Put your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Pick up the dumbbell by its end, and brace your abs and glutes. Stay stable on your back and shoulders. Hinge at the hip, slightly bending your knees. Make a swing movement with a dumbbell, allowing it to go between the legs. Push up, drive the move with your legs, and return to the starting stance.

Can your kettlebell swing with a dumbbell?

You can perform kettlebell swings using a dumbbell. But to complete this exercise correctly, you must grip the weight by the plate. To gain more support and make a grip stronger, wear gloves.


You’ll enhance your stability and lower-body strength with a dumbbell swing by working your glutes, thighs, and core muscles. It targets many muscle groups simultaneously, allowing you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

After all, a dumbbell swing can change your body and the quality of your life. If there were only one exercise you could perform that would give the best overall results, it would be the dumbbell swing.