How To Do Kettlebell Swings, Their Benefits, and Muscles Worked

how to do kettlebell swings

A Guide On How To Do Kettlebell Swings with Proper Form

We already know that kettlebells are one of the best pieces of exercise equipment on the market that can help you to lose weight, build stamina and strength and give you the body of your dreams if you put in the work. However, before you pick up a bell and get all reckless, you will need to learn how to do a kettlebell swing. If you simply lift the kettlebell and start swinging, then the chances are very high that you’re going to be a danger to yourself and others…and probably your surroundings as well. It is essential that you learn proper technique when handling the kettlebell in order to prevent injuries (and property damage) and ensure that you get the most benefit from the exercise. So let’s get into how to do kettlebell swings.

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First of all, you need to select an appropriate weight. It is recommended that women start with a kettlebell that is between 15 – 25 lb and men can start with one that is between 25 – 35 lb. You place the kettlebell in front of you and then bend over and hold the handles with both of your hands. Then, you lift the kettlebell off the ground, using your legs and not your arms or torso. Now, you’re ready to swing the kettlebell. It is essential that you perform this swing, using your hips and not your arms. You will have to use your hips like a hinge and swing the kettlebell from between your legs up to the level of your chest but not above eye level. Remember that you are not using your arms to lift the weight, but rather momentum. Think of a pendulum. As you swing the kettlebell upwards, be sure to tighten your glutes and then relax as the kettlebell descends.

So that’s pretty much it. You are now well versed in how to do the kettlebell swing. Although it sounds all good on paper, and it seems like something you’ll be able to master…it is highly advised that you receive at least a little bit of training on how to kettlebell swing by a licensed professional to prevent any injuries. Or property damage.

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The most famous kettlebell swing workout is to just do as many kettlebell swings as you can for a set amount of time. You’re not doing a set amount of reps. You’re trying to beat the number of reps you did last time you worked out. The most popular times are five minutes, ten minutes and the dreaded twelve minutes of hell (I dare you!). There is no set rest period.  Rest when needed, doing as many “sets” as you can, and keep track of the total number of swings you do and record it.

It’s really a form of density training where the goal is to do more work, in this case, kettlebell swings, in the same (or less) amount of time. This will not only burn a lot of calories during the workout but it will boost your metabolism so that you are burning calories for hours after your workout. Density training with kettlebell swings will burn tons of calories so that the body fat melts away. You’ll also find, after doing these kettlebell swing workouts for a while, that your fitness levels will improve tremendously. Actually much faster than traditional cardio on the stationary bike or treadmill.

You’ll also start to feel better, too.  While the kettlebell swing works almost every muscle in the body, there is a big emphasis on the hips.  The hips are actually the power center of the body. Thanks to modern technology and all the sitting people do, most of them have tight hips. Tight hips can actually cause a lot of problems and are responsible for a lot of pain in the body, including the lower back.

Now that we’ve covered how to do the kettlebell swing…and I’ve covered my butt a little bit with a warning to get training from a pro, let’s talk about the benefits you get from this amazing total body exercise.

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The Benefits Of The Kettlebell Swing

Whether you’re new to fitness or are an advanced fitness guru, you’ve probably heard about kettlebells. It is basically a weight in a ball format, that has a handle at the top. Even though it may appear simple, using a kettlebell is one of the best ways to meet your fitness and physique goals, no matter what they may be. Now the most popular move with the kettlebell is the famous swing. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of doing the kettlebell swing.

First of all, the kettlebell swing was made mainstream by Tim Feriss in the “Four Hour Body.” He did many experiments and concluded that the kettlebell swing was one of the best exercises to help you get a more rounded posterior. This is particularly important to women, who usually seek to have a more beautiful behind. The swings actually help to raise the glute muscle, creating a rounder and more lifted appearance.

Another benefit of the kettlebell swing is that it is an extreme calorie burner. You will burn between 15 to 21 calories per minute when doing this exercise, which means that it burns more calories than running or most other cardio exercises. As a result, you can burn a high number of calories in a short space of time, which makes this the perfect workout for the person who is trying to lose weight and doesn’t have much time to workout. You can burn as much as 1200 calories in one hour of kettlebell swings, which will help you to drop a lot of fat quickly.

Lastly, kettlebell swings will drastically improve your athletic performance. These swings will greatly improve your cardiovascular system, endurance and help you to perform better in any sport.

So basically, kettlebell swings kick ass. As you can see, this is an amazing piece of exercise equipment and you should definitely start incorporating kettlebell swings into your workout. Now let’s take a look at some typical kettlebell swing results and what muscles kettlebell swing work.

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Kettlebell Swing Results: Toned Muscles & Increased Cardio

We already know that the kettlebell swing is one of the single most effective exercises for burning fat and leaving behind firm, toned and strong muscles. But the thing is, when you want to lose weight, you don’t really want to end up being a puny, skinny version of your heavier self. Think about it. You want to look strong, lean and toned whether you are a man or a woman. You are not working out to look like a beanpole.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings can get you the physique you need all while giving you a great cardiovascular workout with very low impact. A kettlebell swing workout, when done properly, will burn a ton of calories and send your metabolism through the roof.  You’ll increase power and strength, while also improving your cardio conditioning exponentially. There are even some athletes who use the exercise to recuperate from low back injuries due to the low impact nature of the move. Swings are the perfect exercise move for both the beginner fitness enthusiast as well as the professional bodybuilder.

Besides having low impact and providing a killer dose of cardio, what muscles does the exercise really work on?  Basically, it helps work out just about every muscle group. More on that later. But the best part is that you can do your swings in a short one-off workout and reap the rewards of doing a whole circuit of weights in the gym.

The important thing to remember is to do each swing correctly, as we stated earlier. It should be done by pushing the weight forward using your hips, not your back. Now let’s look at the specific muscles used in the kettlebell swing.

heavy kettlebell swing

Muscle Groups That Benefit From Kettlebell Swing

Very few exercises work on almost every major muscle in the body. Each muscle group has a specific task. Some stabilize the body while others generate force. Well, the kettlebell swing is one such workout that requires a person to use muscles in the legs and hips in order to generate force while the back muscles, abs and shoulder girdle stabilize the upper force in order to control momentum, balance, and posture.

Core Power

As you swing and breathe, the core is constantly activated throughout the kettlebell workout, which includes the internal and external obliques, diaphragm, multifidi, and transcersus abdominis. The core teams with the posterior chain in order to control the rate and direction of the downward swing while stabilizing the torso. This stabilization allows the lower back to handle the forces that the kettlebell swing generates

Posterior Chain

This is a network of fasciae and muscles that extend from the hamstrings and calves into the lower back and buttocks. This group of muscles works together to coordinate movement when you jump, run, swing or throw. During a kettlebell swing, the hips move like a door hinge which causes the buttocks and lower back to undergo a relaxation and activation cycle. However, one hamstring tends to have a higher activation compared to the rest.

Leg Drive

This refers to the legs’ ability to create enough force for an upward kettlebell swing. By shifting weight towards the heels and extending the hips and knees slightly, the hips can thrust forward to create the swing. The different types of kettlebell swings focus on different leg muscles. For instance, the one-hand swing focuses on the hamstrings, while a double one relies on the quadriceps to boost the leg drive’s power.

These are the primary muscle groups that the kettlebell swing works.

So you can see how the kettlebell swing has become such a popular exercise move and a great alternative to traditional cardio. It not only works multiple muscle groups, but it gives you a great cardio workout, burning as many calories as a 6-minute mile.



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