No matter if you’re a fitness beginner or an experienced CrossFitter it’s possible to benefit from the addition of weighted swings with kettlebells in your exercise routine for strength. This workout is a total package that helps to improve everything from the strength of your spine along with flexible hips to cardiovascular fitness and the burning of calories.
How can just one piece of equipment be so beneficial to your body? Let’s explore the benefits of swinging the kettlebell — and how you can safely add kettlebell swings into your current exercise routine.
Kettlebell swings A brief history
Kettlebell swings are among the many activities you can try using the kettlebell. This kind of weight is shaped like the shape of a cannonball, with handles, and is typically made from cast iron and steel.
Kettlebells are available in a variety of sizes. They can be used to press and clean, as well as swings, and curls… every move you can think of using dumbbells or the barbell.
It is believed to have been developed in the 18th century in Russia when people began lifting counterweights for amusement. The kettlebells are usually that are measured by Russian pounds (~16 kg or 36 lbs) and the traditional kettlebell swing has also been referred to in the form of the Russian one-handed swing (the more you learn about… ).
How to perform kettlebell swings to maximize benefits
A two-hand Russian swing is a perfect introduction to kettlebell workouts. Here’s how you can do it:
- Standing straight and tall, with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Place the kettlebell on top of your body using both hands.
- Engage your core, squeeze your shoulder blades, and hold arms straight and loose.
- Relax knees move your weight to your heels, then push the hips to back.
- Push through your heels, then explode forward using your hips. Inhale glutes and your core while you push your hips to assist you lift the kettlebell until you reach chest height, keeping your arms in a straight position.
- Be sure to keep your upper body in place when you are swinging. Do not lift the weight using your arms. Instead, use your hips to push as you let your kettlebell slide off your shoulders.
- Move your hips backwards as the kettlebell falls (like pressing your hips towards against the wall). Hold your hips in a slack position by letting glutes and hamstrings help you lift the weight.
- The kettlebell should gently move back and forth between your legs.
- Move through your heels and hips to repeat. Your arms should be acting as a pendulum which the kettlebell is swinging from.
15 advantages of swinging kettlebells
Why not add this workout to your next workout? This is how kettlebell swings can increase your fitness level.
1. Build up muscle
Lean muscle mass is growing What’s that? Kettlebells swings are a type of weightlifting that helps to increase your muscle mass.
A small study from 2013 also showed that a 10-week kettlebell training program improved strength and power for lifting weights and powerlifting.
2. Give your body a full exercise
So, which muscles are you doing? Kettlebells are a great way to work the whole posterior chain with one swing. The large muscle group extends from your neck up to your feet on both sides of the body. including lower and upper body muscles, such as:
3. Boost cardio fitness
Why would you choose to do exercises for strength as well as cardio work not work when you can combine both? The research suggests that swinging kettlebells could aid in improving your cardiovascular fitness. This is the way your body utilizes oxygen to boost the rate of your heartbeat and breathing.
A study from 2010 of participants who performed 12 minutes of swings with kettlebells discovered that the exercise was more difficult for the cardiovascular system compared to conventional circuit weight training. The researchers concluded that this type of kettlebell exercise can help improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of athletes.
4. Help in weight loss
If you’re embarking on an losing weight fitness journey, kettlebells will aid you to shed fat and increase muscles all at once. The experts from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) believe that kettlebell exercises can assist in burning more calories than other strength-training exercises.
According to the ACE’s research from 2010, ACE’s research kettlebell exercise can generate 20.2 minutes of calories. That’s equivalent to the amount that most people could burn if they ran at a 6-minute mile.
5. Strengthen weak muscles
A desk job for long hours can make your hip flexors tighter as well as weaken your lower back. Also, if you’re doing weights, your workouts tend to concentrate on only the front part of your body, which could cause muscles that aren’t working properly.
Kettlebell swings can relax your hips and help strengthen weak posterior muscles such as your glutes and hammies as well as your lower back.
6. Take it easy on your back
Although more research is required before we can conclude that swings with kettlebells can relieve back discomfort and back pain, the exercise can be a fairly low-impact means to build muscles and improve mobility in your back.
According to a tiny study conducted in 2012, the kettlebell swings could cause stress upon the back in the reverse direction to conventional lifts. This may be one reason many people think that swings with kettlebells aid in improving back function and overall health.
The research study from 2017 of hip and low back pain thresholds revealed that people who exercised with kettlebells were less sensitive to muscle in the area.
The results don’t show that exercise reduces back pain, however, researchers suggested that it’s worth investigating the ways that kettlebell swings can help those suffering from low back pain, or muscle soreness following an exercise.
7. Develop functional strength
Kettlebell swings can strengthen the muscles that you are using every day. Holding the handles of the kettlebell while you swing it or other kettlebell exercises will help you increase your grip strength.
Additionally, the swinging motion produces a functional movement pattern that mirrors bending downwards and lifting. Since you’re working your muscles in the posterior, you’ll be well-built and strong for daily lifting and bends.
8. Get your posture back in order
If you want to swing a kettlebell correctly, you’ll need a good standing throughout the entire exercise -and then you can incorporate this into other exercises and daily life.
If you do a proper kettlebell swing, it is important to keep your spine straight while keeping your glutes and core are engaged and your pelvis in neutral. Instead of stressing your spine, this small adjustment will help you build your body to work your core muscles and move your hips with a hinge (hello the functional muscle!) to ensure a good posture.
9. Convenient AF
Kettlebell swings don’t need an expensive gym membership or heavy equipment. You can keep a few kettlebells in your living space or at home in your fitness center.
10. Increase flexibility
We’re not suggesting you cut out all of your stretch regimens, but due to the posterior chain working kettlebells could aid in getting bendy.
The swinging motion, as well as the thrusting of the hips that is used during kettlebell swings, will expand your hips, stretch your spine as well as build your back muscles, resulting in more flexibility.
11. Increase your balance
A good equilibrium isn’t only for ballerinas- anyone can benefit from it to stay safe from slipping on the soles of their feet.
In a brief 2013 study 2013 in 2013, participants who trained with kettlebells at least twice per week for eight weeks noticed an improvement in their dynamic leg balance.
A smaller 2020 study 2020 also showed that ballerinas who took kettlebell classes (including the swings and get-ups) increased their jump speed and balance better than dancers who attended traditional balance and jump classes.
We’ll need to do more research to determine the effectiveness of kettlebell swings for balance, however, they might aid in holding those difficult yoga postures.
12. Develop strength and athleticism
The kettlebell’s explosive swing is akin to many of the movements required to sprint, lift, lift or jump with ease. According to the findings of a research study from 2012 that kettlebell swings can increase the strength of explosives.
It’s an all-powerful move. If you’re looking to increase your athletic ability the kettlebell swings could help.
13. Improve your heart health
You’ve probably heard that cardio is beneficial to the health of your heart due to its capacity to utilize oxygen and boost the heart’s rate. Since kettlebell exercises count as cardio, they can keep your heart healthy as well.
A brief investigation in the year 2021 discovered that kettlebell workouts can also lower blood pressure. However, more research is required in this field.
14. Low impact
15. Affordable and versatile
In comparison to other strength-training exercises, kettlebells like the swing are safer and more adaptable for people of all ages and levels. (Plus they’re far safer than lifting weights when you’re just beginning to learn about the idea of resistance exercise.)
In a twenty-one-year study with 35 people (men and women between the ages of 59 and 79), researchers discovered that kettlebell swings of 17 pounds had similar effects to deadlifts that weigh 52 pounds. In the end, the researchers suggest that kettlebell swings could offer an “easier, more convenient, and more appealing” alternative.
Although the sample size of the study is small, anyone can benefit from kettlebells.
How to use kettlebells and swing them
Here’s how you can get started with kettlebell exercises:
- Select the weight you’d like to use. To stay safe and avoid injury, choose the weight that is challenging, but not too heavy that it ruins your body. If you’re an beginner in kettlebells, manufacturers typically recommend that women start with 18 pounds (8 kilograms) while men begin by lifting 35 pounds (16 kg). With time, you’ll gradually increase your weight to heavier weights..
- Choose the kettlebell you want to use. Not sure where to start your kettlebell shopping list? Look through our suggestions for the top OG kettlebells and kettlebells with adjustable handles for those who are tight on space.
- Start your strength training. Add kettlebell swings to an weightlifting program twice a week. Begin with a few set of reps each. When you become more confident with the movement then you can increase the number of reps.
- Try to do HIIT. Complete kettlebell swings for 20 seconds. Then, you can take 10 seconds of relaxation. Repeat up to eight sets and you’ve got the perfect high-intensity training routine.
- Include warm-up. You can also employ lighter weights (kettlebells are available in increments of 4 kilograms) to warm up or as an activation exercise prior to other lifting exercises.
The main takeaway
Kettlebell swings can be an effective all-in-one strength and cardiovascular exercise. Regularly exercising can offer a range of advantages such as muscle development along with weight loss and improved balance.
If you’re just beginning to learn about kettlebell swings, begin with a weight that is challenging but allows you to keep good form. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps every week, just once.