The Kettlebell Swing
The Kettlebell Swing is a simple yet effective exercise that most if not all modern day personal trainers are starting to include in clients exercise programmes.
This Kettlebell exercise simultaneously burns fat, builds massive strength and power and dramatically improves cardio vascular fitness. Often thought of as the easiest and most effective tool in a personal trainers arsenal, the Kettlebell Swing is a full body movement which works on and improves multiple fitness qualities at the same time. Except for doing high rep Barbell Squats, what other exercise would offer all this?
Pound for Pound the KB Swing outdoes even the barbell squat and every other exercise you can think of when it comes to burning calories and a high repetition set of this kettlebell exercise will cause massive stress to your cardio vascular system. The increase in heart rate caused by this simple movement is easily equal to uphill running whilst at the same time toning multiple muscle groups.
If not the most effective, then the Swing only comes a close second to the Kettlebell clean when it comes to training your posterior chain. As you get stronger and you use heavier Kettlebells this becomes a great hand grip strength improver and one that climbers are now starting to take quite seriously and use in their routines.
This is quite a unique exercise that teaches you to use the hip to drive the weight. A whole body power exercise in general, although unlike most other weight bearing exercises requires you to use the momentum of the Kettlebell, as oppose to constant control of the weight. Although a whole body movement, when done correctly the Abs stay locked for the entirety of the movement and much of the force is supported through the core with the Grip being very important in making the exercise safe. All the force of the movement comes from the Hips, not the Arms and/or Shoulders and is the supported via keeping your core muscles extremely tight.
What will I get out of the Kettlebell Swing?
Incorporating a new and very athletic movement into your regular workouts is always a good idea. Your body loves to be kept guessing. During the movement of this kettlebell exercise your Hips, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lats, Abs, Deltoids and Pecs all support the weight and force of the movement and are forced to contract and relax. Due to the large number of Muscle groups needed to support the weight during this movement your Heart and Lungs are forced to supply multiple areas with fresh oxygenated blood, increasing your heart and breathing rate and activating your cardio vascular system.
All this activity puts your body into overdrive forcing your body to dip into its fat stores and use fat Calories for fuel. Due to this your body is far less likely to start depleting muscle stores for fuel which your body chooses to do when swimming or running.
Most bodybuilders have noticed that once they have incorporated the Kettlebell Swing into their workout routine that more depth and density has developed into each muscle group. This is because the Swinging movement causes microscopic tears in fibrous tissue that your basic isolation exercises cannot do. By bringing this into your training routine, the Kettlebell Swing will result in a far more athletic looking physique in which the rippling effect of the Deltiods are achieved as oppose to slabs of meat in the upper arm.
The KB Swing can be used on its own as a cardio vascular exercise. When done with light weights this kettlebell exercise can substitute traditional cardio such as the treadmill. The Kettlebell swing burns more calories than running per minute (unless you can continuously do 6 minute miles) and is also non-impact so is far more kind on the joints such as the Ankles and Knees which suffer great trauma when running (especially road running).
Performing the Kettlebell Swing
Place the Kettlebell between your feet to begin. Push your buttocks backwards and bend your legs as if you are sitting in a chair. Your back should be straight and your head straight looking straight ahead. This is the correct starting position for the Kettlebell Swing.
Take hold of the Kettlebell with one hand and swing it between your legs before driving upwards using your hips so the kettlebell is in front of you with your arm parallel to the floor. As one smooth movement bring the Kettlebell back between your legs.
*Remember that your Arms are to be used like a pendulum throughout the movement and at no point are you to be using the force of the muscles in your arms or shoulders to lift the weight. The drive of the hips will bring the weight up and you simply let it fall backwards between the legs and continue back and forth.
Brace your abdominal wall throughout the movement, inhaling on the way down and exhaling at the top of the movement and remember to swap hand on alternative sets.
To ensure you are doing this correctly, observe the position of the bottom of the Kettlebell. At the very top of the movement the bottom of the Kettlebell should be facing away from the Athlete and not at the floor.*
Please let us know how you have incorporated the Kettlebell Swing into your Kettlebell Workouts below.