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Are you looking for a warm-up exercise that invigorates the blood and loosens up the body? Are you a beginner to physical fitness and looking for an exercise that won't leave you painfully discouraged? Try this popular form of qigong: Chinese arm swinging exercises are an easy and gentle choice suitable for beginners and professional athletes.

The exercise comes from various traditions. In India, British troops learned and adopted the practice of club swinging. Chinese arm swinging exercises are an ancient practice now commonly used in Qigong. The Japanese and other Asian cultures likewise use arm-swinging exercise in the various martial arts disciplines. The basic style and variations find modern use in warm-ups for professional athletes and rehabilitation centers.

In all of the exercises below, remember: the basic idea is that power is generated by the legs, passed through the body, and expressed in the hands.

Qigong Arm Swinging Basics

This pendulum-like swing is easy to learn and the ticket to more dynamic practice. Watch yourself in a mirror to ensure proper form.


Relax the body with the feet at hip width, knees bent slightly and toes facing ahead. Knees should be over the feet with arms hanging loosely. Hold the head in line with the spine, and keep the chest open with shoulders over hips.


The arms swing together in this exercise. Bring nearly straightened arms up to a comfortable height no higher than the shoulders. The palms should face down. Bring them back to the hips and continue backward to a comfortable height. Continue for two minutes or longer.


This is a gentle exercise that relies on slow breathing through the nose. Do not attempt to control motion in the hands or knees. Everyone should begin at a slow pace that gradually increases, peaks, and slows again toward the end of the exercise.

Learn more about Qigong Arm Swings here.

Arm Swings for Martial Power

Arm swinging is part of every martial arts tradition. The crucial difference with this exercise, compared to the qigong above, is its dynamic movement. Watch the video below to see Tong Bei Quan or "Through the Back" Boxing to literally see how the swinging power is turned into a powerful whipping action.

Club Swinging and Kettlebells for Fitness

Another popular way to use swing power is to add weight. While the technique changes slightly and the physical demand is greater, the basic principle of using the legs and hips for power, spine for transfer of momentum, and allowing the arms to swing freely remains the same.

Even though it looks like this club swing is done with the arms, you have to connect and stabilize the whole body to perform the action properly:

In the basic Kettlebell Swing, you have to have hip and leg power and proper alignment through the spine:

Whatever your fitness level or goals, learning how to connect to your legs and generate power throughout the body is a great idea. You will feel stronger, be more stable, and counter-intuitively, be more relaxed because of your strong foundation.