I love a good dumbbell workout as much as the next gal, but they aren’t the be-all, end-all of home weight training.
The kettlebell, for example, should be a must-have for any home gym.
Why? I’ve got two words for you:
If you need to take your workouts to the next level or are otherwise looking to spice up your workout routine, you’ll want to look at adding some kettlebell swings.
But before we get into all the great kettlebell swing benefits, here’s kettlebells 101 for those who have not heard of this type of weight training before.
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Overview of the kettlebell
A kettlebell is a ball of cast iron or steel and usually flat on the bottom with a handle on top. It’s shape makes it ideal for power training and swinging exercises. They’ve become a pretty common home-workout staple and you can find some great ones on Amazon for a reasonable price.
They are really effective at building endurance and strength! The most common exercises for kettlebells include the swing, snatch, and clean.
Today we’ll be looking specifically at the benefits of the kettlebell swing, the quintessential kettlebell exercise!
How to do a kettlebell swing
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do a kettlebell swing. The most important thing to remember is that this is an exercise that’s powered by your lower body and not the arms. Here’s how you do it:
1. Gripping the kettlebell by the handles with both hands, stand up straight with your feet a little more than hip-width apart. (Be careful not to put staring on your back by picking up the kettlebell with bend knees)
Throughout the movement, keep your shoulder blades back and your arms loose. Remember that this will be a swing, not a front raise that engages your arm muscles.
2. With your weight on your heels, squat down, bringing the kettlebell between your legs back behind you.
3. With explosive movement, use your hips, quads and glutes to catapult yourself back to standing position, letting your arms swing up with the kettlebell. Keep your core tight throughout the movement.
4. Lower back down into a squat as the kettlebell swings back down, and repeat.
This exercise is best done with a heavier kettlebell but start with one between 10-15 lbs for 30-second intervals to start. I find it’s best to mix these into sets containing other exercises and alternating with lower-intensity strength exercises so that your heart rate has a chance to recover a bit between sets.
Now that we got the basics down, here are the kettlebell swing benefits that will get you excited about swingin’!
1. One exercise for full-body benefits
I love kettlebell swings because it’s one of the best multi-tasking exercises on the planet in that it targets tons of muscle groups at the same time. In particular, it benefits your glutes, quads, core, hips, and back.
Do swings on the regular and you’ll be surprised at how quickly
2. Is both a cardio and strength exercise
The kettlebell swing simultaneously conditions your muscles while putting your heart rate into vigorous cardio mode.
Building muscle is key to body recomposition (aka, changing your body shape) while cardiovascular exercise is key to burning calories and shedding fat. (Not to mention crucial for overall health!)
3. Improves stability and balance
Because you’re constantly changing positions from swinging the kettlebell back and forth from a squatting to a standing position, your balance will be challenged.
When you practice this move, you will find your muscles learn to stabilize better and you’ll have better overall balance.
4. Torches a ton of calories
Studies show that the kettlebell swing can burn up to 20 calories per minute, which is about the same as sprinting.
Even though you are only keeping up the swing for 30-60 seconds at a time, it’s ideal for HIIT training and creating that “after burn” effect, which means you burn calories even after you stop working out!
5. Easy to do at home
Kettlebells don’t take up too much space and are a versatile piece of equipment you can use at home. You can even keep one in your home office or in the living room and swing it out for 30-60 seconds whenever you need a quick exercise break!
Kettlebell Full-Body Workout Routine
You can easily work the kettlebell swing into your home workout routine. Here is a great set I like to do when I need a quick full-body workout using just a kettlebell.
By including two rounds of kettlebell swings, it gets your heart rate up for that cardio intervals.
Kettlebell swings x 15
Squat with Press x 20
Kettlebell deadlift x 20
Tricep extension x 15
Kettlebell swings x 15
Good mornings x 15
Russian twists x 20
Rest 2-3 minutes then repeat.
Conclusion: you need to get in on these kettlebell swing benefits!
It takes a little bit of practice to feel comfortable training this way, but these kettlebell swing benefits definitely make it worth the effort!
Get started with a lighter weight until you are confident in your form, then go heavier to maximize the results!
A kettlebell is a cast iron or steel ball that’s usually flat on the bottom and has a handle on top. Its rounded shape makes it perfect for swinging and power training exercises.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do a kettlebell swing. The most important thing to remember is that this is an exercise that’s powered by your lower body and not the arms. See the tutorial above for the 4-step instructions.
Kettlebell swings target many muscles, primarily your quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes and core.
It depends on your fitness level and what other exercises you are doing. If you’re knew to kettlebell swings, try starting with 3 reps of 10 swings with a minute of rest in between sets.
It’s important to remember that no one exercise can target fat from a particular area of the body, rather fat comes off from all over the body in layers. However, kettlebell swings are both ideal for strengthening muscles and burning a lot of calories, which facilitates fat loss from everywhere including the belly.
For two-handed swings, women can start with a kettlebell between 15-20 lbs. Men can start a little heavier between 20-25 lbs. However, it’s a good idea to have smaller kettlebells for one-handed swings and other one-armed kettlebell exercises.