Whether you are a beginner or a pro athlete, kettlebell swings will unfold a carpet of new gains for you. It doesn’t matter what your goal is: to pack some muscle, get your cardio in, or become a better athlete. Kettlebell swings will definitely aid you in some way or form in your journey!
Why You Should Be Doing Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are one of the biggest staple movements in kettlebell training. The reason for this is the sheer amount of benefits they provide and also how versatile and easy to perform they are. Benefits like muscle building, aiding in fixing muscle imbalances, increasing cardiovascular capacity, and much more.
You definitely will not regret implementing a few sets of these in your workout programs throughout the week, and will notice the benefits settling in within just a few sessions!
Benefits of the Kettlebell Swing
The benefits of kettlebell swings are truly endless and limitless. Any goal you have whether it’s to pack on some muscle, fix muscle imbalances, increase explosive power, lose fat, or even get better at MMA. Kettlebell swings will definitely contribute to helping you achieve your goal quicker.
The large range of motion provides for hypertrophy in nearly the entire body, this full-body exercise is guaranteed to have your whole body sore within minutes! Here is a list:
Builds Grip Strength
Improves Core Strength and Stability
Develops a Stronger Posterior Chain and Improves Posture
Provides a Full-Body Workout
Greatly Improves Muscular Weaknesses and Imbalances
Increases Range of Motion
Builds Lean Muscle
Navigate This Post
Kettlebells are great for developing explosive power in your hips. Your backside is one of the most important muscles in your body, especially for explosiveness and speed. Training it with kettlebells could help you jump higher, run faster, kick harder, and much much more.
Practice and progress at hinge movements with kettlebells and watch your athletic progress soar. Some great options for developing explosive strength in the hips are kettlebell swings, cleans, and snatches.
Improves core strength and stability
One of the most functional reasons to use kettlebells is to develop core strength and stability in the trunk region. The core has an important role in keeping the body grounded especially during intense movements.
Kettlebell movements are high-velocity movements with large ranges of motion that challenge the core muscles to stop the body from falling over. Almost every exercise with kettlebells is a core exercise if done with proper form.
Whether you aspire to be an athlete or just want to have a beautiful set of abs for a beach day, training your core strength and stability will go a long way toward your core goals.
Builds grip strength
Doing normal grip work by exercises like farmer’s walks is out of the range of most people. However, every gym has a few cast iron kettlebells you can train with to give the most respect-commanding handshakes ever. A strong grip is a great asset for all your pulling desires.
It can translate to better deadlifts, better grappling, and much more. Even if you cannot go to a gym, kettlebell training with swinging exercises is more than enough to indirectly increase your grip strength over time allowing you to give unforgettable handshakes.
Develops a Stronger Posterior Chain and Improves Posture
Having a strong posterior chain is essential to maintaining a good posture over time. Having a good posture helps you become and look more confident, it can also make you look taller when your spine decompresses.
Your spine is what keeps your upper and lower body upright in a strong manner, if you strengthen your posterior chain, you will notice an increase in strength in the overhead position allowing you to train your shoulders and the rest of your upper body strength in a better manner.
Kettlebell exercises like kettlebell swings, deadlifts, and cleans all strengthen your posterior chain. This also includes your back which is responsible for keeping a straight and confident posture.
Provides a Full-Body Workout
Kettlebells are known for how versatile they are; you do not need a whole gym’s worth of equipment or a large space to get a decent workout in. All you need is one or two kettlebells and you are set for months of benefits and gains.
A 20-minute full-body workout thrice a week is more than enough to set you on track for months of muscle gains and progress. Kettlebell exercises are high-velocity movements that have long ranges of motion, meaning multiple muscle groups are exercised at different parts of the exercise.
Exercises like the Turkish get-ups and kettlebell swings exercise your core strength and stability, shoulders, legs, and also your back. These make kettlebells great for beginners looking to get into fitness.
Greatly improves muscular weaknesses and imbalances
Kettlebell workouts are an excellent option for fixing and reducing muscle imbalances. This is because many kettlebell exercises can be done unilaterally, in other words with one hand.
This helps stimulate and stabilize muscles. Using kettlebells will work these small muscles in rhythmic coordination, setting out stability and balance for the entire movement. As a result, reducing the risk of injury and improving athletic performance, or even helping with everyday house chores.
Increases Range of Motion
Anything that increases mobility or stability in your body will allow you to increase your range of motion for many exercises. For example, you might be able to squat deeper. Training with lighter weights and high movement is an excellent way to increase the range of motion.
Kettlebell training does just that, it puts your body into unfamiliar positions which develops strength in those unknown areas. Exercises like Turkish get-ups and overhead kettlebell squats create immense strength in your core strength and stability.
Builds Lean Muscle
Any form of weight training will over time, build muscle and help you develop an admirable physique. The same goes for kettlebell training, whether you prefer swinging full-body movements like single kettlebell swings or if you prefer isolating movement patterns like kettlebell bicep curls.
Kettlebell training has got your muscle-building goals covered as it exercises all the muscle groups needed to help build lean muscle mass, like your shoulders, legs, back, core, and chest.
Proper Form For Kettlebell Swings
Maintaining proper form in every exercise is key to ensuring longevity in your fitness journey. With proper form, the risk of injury is minimized and the efficiency of the exercise is maximized, allowing you to benefit from it to the fullest!
Fortunately for beginners, kettlebell swings are simple and easy to do with a simple technique. It is recommended to keep your core engaged and back neutral throughout the movement perfectly to avoid instability and lower back pain.
The first step is to stand upright holding the kettlebell with its handle, keeping your feet around your feet shoulder width apart.
Next is to bend in a hinged manner to let the weight freely glide backward between your legs, at this point, you should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.
This stretch is basically the green light for you to thrust the kettlebell in front of you, pushing with your glutes. You should note that at this point your arms should be loose allowing the kettlebell weight to move freely in front of you
Let the weight force you to return to the hinging position as it comes down and repeat for a few sets of 15-20 reps with moderate weight, making sure to train close to muscular failure.
Here is a video breakdown of what you should be performing when you are doing the kettlebell swing the proper way.
Kettlebell Swing Muscles Worked
Kettlebell swings are a full-body movement, however, they mainly emphasize training the glutes, lower back, hamstrings, and quads because it requires a strong hinging movement and then back to an upright position. You will definitely notice muscle and strength gains within just a few weeks of regularly training kettlebell swings.
Common Kettlebell Swing Mistakes
Kettlebell swings are an easy movement to master, however, a mistake beginners and even intermediates often make is compromising on form to lift a heavier weight. Not using the proper form can lead to minor and major injuries which is just not worth the little flex of lifting a heavier weight. Use a decent weight during workouts and train hard for efficient and effective kettlebell swing training.
For kettlebell swings, it is essential for you to keep your lower back from bending. You can avoid this by learning to properly engage your core muscles by bracing. This makes sure that the kettle bell weight is lifted with just your leg muscles like the glutes and hamstrings.
How to Avoid Injury
There are not really any serious mistakes that people can make when implementing kettlebell exercises into their routines, only small mistakes like over-training or compromising on form.
Most kettlebell workouts and exercises are full-body movements, meaning that they train multiple muscle groups. This means that if you have an intense kettlebell leg-focused workout, chances are you might have a sore upper body the next day.
This becomes a problem when you train your already sore, upper body the next day, this kind of overtraining can reduce efficiency and can even set you back multiple weeks of progress with an injury. It is recommended to only train with kettlebells three times a week for maximum efficiency, and also not to train your upper body without optimal rest periods between workout sessions which is 48 hours.
How much weight should I use for kettlebell swings?
More often than not people assume that 5 or 10-lb kettlebells are good enough for a beginner kettlebell workout. However, this is not at all the case, if you go too light you are simply wasting your time going through the movements.
It is very important to safely challenge yourself; to do so you must pick a decent weight to work out with. The sweet spot for most kettlebell workouts for most women is 10-25-lb kettlebells, and for men, it’s 25-45 lbs. Anything under this, and you probably won’t break a sweat using them and you’ll just be doing the movements with no real benefit.
Kettlebell Swing Workouts
kettlebell swings are the most efficient when incorporated into a solid kettlebell workout. There are also different variations of this excellent movement, each slightly more advanced with different benefits.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
The single-arm kettlebell swing is just like an ordinary kettlebell swing except that you hold the kettlebell with one hand instead of two. This increases the strain on your core muscles and forces them to work harder because of the decreased stability from the unilateral movement.
Double Kettlebell Swing
The double kettlebell swing is also an advanced variation of the kettlebell swing. The difference is that you hold a kettlebell in each hand. Other than the increase in weight, your stability is also challenged more because both kettlebells move differently in their own plane.
This is an excellent exercise for strengthening your coordination, reflexes, and explosive core strength.
Bringing the kettlebell overhead
Bringing the kettlebell overhead does not put your shoulders in harm’s way, however doing this does not really give you any significant benefits. Kettlebell swings already train your shoulders to a small extent at the top of the movement, they train your front delt only and should mainly be used for lower body benefits.
If you swing the kettlebell overhead, your shoulders will only be trained slightly more than usual. You are better off doing isolating exercises like the kettlebell shoulder press or compound movements like the kettlebell clean and press.
Why do kettlebell swings hurt my low back?
kettlebells swings and kettlebell exercises in general are hard on your posterior chain muscles. If you do not prioritize good form, you may end up with a painful soreness in your lower back. Not using the proper form can also lead to injuries which will hinder your progress big time, regardless of if you are a beginner, intermediate, or professional.
Learning the technique for a proper back hip extension and hinge movement will help you avoid this, moreover, you should learn how to brace your core muscles which also stabilizes your trunk. Any form of stability or mobility movement will contribute towards your lower back, making sure it does not bend when resistance is added.
Another way to avoid this is by using less weight in the beginning. Going too heavy, too early is a recipe for disaster! Take your time and slowly increase the weight over the course of multiple weeks.
Kettlebell Swing Weight progression
Just like with any other exercise or weighted resistance equipment, performing progressive overload is absolutely necessary to avoid injury and to make the most out of your workouts. The same applies to kettlebell training!
For the average male, 25-45 lbs is the perfect weight to start kettlebell training in an efficient manner with proper form. For females, it is around 10-25 lbs. Once you are familiar with the movement patterns, only then should you increase the weight you use.
Remember, will is important but ability is crucial. Challenging yourself is important but there is always a limit to the amount of utility you get from a certain number slapped onto a piece of equipment. If it occurs that you are sacrificing form to lift a certain amount, you are outweighing any benefit that you could possibly get with the risk of injury.
If you see a heavier kettlebell that you want to swing around in a majestic manner, you must first master the lighter ones and gain all the benefits you could get. The pride of ego lifting will never outweigh the regret of getting injured because of a foolish decision.
Find weight that you can control and stop the set when your form starts to take a toll, if you want to push yourself a little harder, try implementing drop-sets with good form to achieve absolute failure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to just do kettlebell swings?
Doing just kettlebell swings will not bring any negative externalities into your life. However, you must understand that to build muscular and cardiovascular endurance, and mass and gain other benefits of kettlebell training you need to train efficiently in different exercises, rep ranges, weights, and even styles of kettlebell training like different programs.
The kettlebell swing is an excellent exercise, however, it becomes even better when done with a few more versatile movements like the kettlebell clean and kettlebell goblet squat. You do not need to train dozens of exercises every day, four to six movements three times a week is perfect for gaining all the benefits of kettlebell training.
Can you build muscle with kettlebell swings?
Kettlebells are an excellent tool for any fitness enthusiast because, on a sway, they can shed fat, bulk up muscles, and develop a fit and stoic structure in a limited period with limited resources. Kettlebells are usually known for being an instant remedy for building up muscles and reducing body fat.
Similar to other strength training routines, this exercise is also dependent on intensity, overall training volume, rest periods, and recovery. The beauty of kettlebells is that it works as a compound exercise, interacting with multiple muscle groups altogether.
This leads to the release of high-quality testosterone. With kettlebell swings, movements are carried in more depth. The muscles are contracted in their full range meaning maximum capacity. This too, provides fortification of muscles, making sure you pack some serious mass.
Therefore, kettlebells are a powerful tool for gaining some size on your frame. If taken with the right approach and use for it, it can be just as useful as a barbell to gain muscle. The correct approach can be that of choosing effective exercises and performing the correct sets of reps with an adequate mass.
Getting good nutrition is also among the key factors which usually go neglected. Lastly, getting good amounts of rest and letting your muscles recover will restore your power to hit back. Taking all these measures into account, it is guaranteed that one can build a significant amount of muscles in a regulated, aerobic, and steel manner.
What is the kettlebell swing good for?
One of the most famous and versatile movements in kettlebell workouts is none other than the full kettlebell swing or two-handed swing. The reason for the popularity of this movement is that it targets almost the entire body like a compound movement from your shoulders to your lower back but mainly your entire lower body.
The swing consists of two main movements, the hinge forward, and the thrust. The first step is to stand upright holding the kettlebell with its handle, keeping your feet around shoulder width apart. Next is to bend in a hinged manner to let the weight freely glide backward between your legs, at this point, you should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.
This stretch is basically the green light for you to thrust your hips forward with the kettlebell in front of you, pushing with your glutes. You should note that at this point your arms should be loose allowing the weight to move freely in front of you after which you return to the original starting position.
What will 50 kettlebell swings a day do?
50 kettlebell swings in itself are not enough to make any significant progress even if done every day for a week. It is better to incorporate these 50 reps into an entire kettlebell workout program that consists of several movements with a few sets for each.
Having a good program is key to making progress as quickly as possible at the beginning of your fitness journey. If you have one or two kettlebells available, you are far better off doing 10 to 15-minute kettlebell workouts thrice a week instead of 50 swings every single day.
What do 100 kettlebell swings a day do?
Kettlebell workouts are an effective exercise and very simple to perform and can be executed domestically and that too under 15-20 minutes in an efficient manner, and that too for cheap. Performing 100 kettlebell swings per day even with a light kettlebell is indeed a productive manner of close to 100 calories every day.
This one-motion kettlebell exercise is the answer to all your health-related benefits: losing fat, getting in form, bulking up muscles, and increasing your overall work capacity. Losing fat is a very common advantage seen by doing kettlebell swings over some time.
All in all, kettlebell squats and swings both are a form of HIIT workout which means that it burns way more calories than regular steady-state cardio exercise such as running, cycling, and rowing.
However, it is better to incorporate multiple exercises into your weekly routine. 4-5 exercises for a few sets each, around three times a week is the most efficient way of kettlebell training. Some kettlebell swing alternatives include the kettlebell goblet squat and the kettlebell clean and press.
How effective are kettlebell swings?
Kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise for developing explosive power throughout the body and also building muscular endurance. This movement is also great for getting your cardio in as the large and quick range of motion, requires strong lungs to help you breathe better and a strong heart to help with increased blood flow.
Even on their own, they give you countless benefits. However, it is recommended to incorporate this movement into a whole workout of 5 to 6 exercises. Tirelessly doing just one exercise is not an efficient way of achieving your fitness goals, a 20-minute kettlebell workout consisting of 4-6 exercises, three times a week is the golden formula for easily powering through your goals!
Do kettlebell swings reduce belly fat?
The average person burns around 700 to 1000 calories an hour from kettlebell training, depending on the intensity of the workout. This makes kettlebell training a great tool for losing fat in a healthy and quick manner.
Burning 2500 calories is the equivalent of burning a pound of fat. Three kettlebell workouts of a decent intensity are enough to lose a pound of fat every week. Although this may not seem like much, over a period of a few months, this will accumulate into a serious body transformation.
Kettlebells make fat loss much easier than mainstream influencers and trainers make it seem. Keep it simple, train hard, eat clean, and be patient to achieve your goals and enjoy the journey as there is no overnight solution to fat loss.