In a previous article, I discussed why I felt that heavy kettlebellswings should be utilized for athletic strength & conditioning. I mentioned that heavy KB swings would be a great exercise for improving hip power, acceleration, and speed.
Recent high-quality research has shown this to be true in sprinting, that is, the glutes and hamstrings counteract the hip flexion and knee extension torques induced by gravity, motion, and ground reaction (see abstract HERE). Finally, Lake & Lauder showed in an excellent study that KB swings produced a greater impulse (impulse equals force multiplied by time) compared to squats and jump squats, indicating that they may be superior in some regards (see abstract HERE, see larger review of the study HERE).
The gluteus Maximus exhibits the largest peak muscle activation during kettle bell swings. Hopefully in time a study will emerge will a sufficient sample size, but my guess is that the results will be duplicated as it’s common biomechanical sense to me.
For example, if I do swings with 300 lbs, my range of motion (ROM) is compromised, my power output diminishes drastically, and my hip extensors (glutes and mammies) don’t contract as forcefully. If possible (due to equipment availability), I recommend pyramiding loads for swing sets.
If you perform kettlebellswings with the intention of shaping the glutes and hamstrings, make sure you progress over time and use heavier loading. If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely want to first master the kettle bell dead lift and cable pull-through, then the kettle bell dead lift/swing hybrid (click HERE to see this movement), and then finally move onto swings (click HERE to see videos for KB swing form).
I’ve found that advanced women can hold great kettle bell swing form with 48 kg, and advanced men can hold great form with 92 kg. Learn to do the kettle bell swing properly to build and tone your butt.
People who do a lot of kettlebellswings and similar exercises are renowned for having nice sexy butts. All you need to do is a search for women’s or men’s favorite body parts and the butt shows up on both lists… near the top.
The kettle bell swing is amazing for developing a sexy toned butt but if done wrong will not only prevent results but can potentially irritate your low back. Little fire hydrant leg lifts or Brazilian butt whatever just won’t cut it.
Tiny little kettle bell movements that you may have seen on late night TV simply won’t cut it. After the kettle bell reaches the top position as it starts to swing back… wait… keep waiting… don’t sit back (hike pass) yet.
Wait until the kettle bell is about to hit you in the groin before you hike pass. You could also just think “wait till your arms connect to your ribs” before you hike pass.
If the kettle bell leads the way before your hips snap / glutes contract then you are missing out on all that wonderful butt toning. Just like a crane with a wrecking ball, the crane swings and then the wrecking ball gets pulled, your hips should snap forward first and that will pull the kettle bell forward from your hike pass position.
As mentioned before you need fairly heavy weight to challenge the butt. The kettle bell swing uses a lot of muscles, this is a good and a bad thing.
2 – 3 days per week, sets of 20 – 30 reps, brief rest breaks, for about 4 – 10 minutes. For a minimal investment of your time you can build up and tone up your butt to make the guy’s and/or ladies’s heads turn.
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Walk into most commercial gyms a few years back, and you would see a vast selection of resistance machines and cardio equipment, with perhaps a small section in the corner devoted to free weights and a squat rack. For most novices this is probably the most intimidating area in the gym, full of loud grunts and heavy weights being dropped on the floor, maybe somewhere you never intend to venture too.
When it comes to strength training, we believe that nine times out of ten free weights are preferred over resistance machines. Start standing with feet outside hip width, toes are turned out where comfortable and knees and ankles are aligned.
Whole foot should be in contact with the floor and hold onto the kettles with straight arms, making sure to grip inside the legs. Keep a neutral spine as you straighten your knees, hips, and chest all at the same time to stand up tall.
Hinge back to the start position the same way you set yourself up, making sure you don’t round your shoulders. Keeping a neutral spine flex through one hip to bring the leg to around 90 degrees.
If you are struggling to maintain in a controlled position with this exercise either take the kettle bell away and perform with body weight or keep both feet in contact with the floor and do a regular hip thrust. Keeping a neutral spine, hinge your hips backwards with a soft knee and take hold of the kettle bell by the horns in an overhand position.
Swing the kettle bell in-between the tops of your legs, keeping your spine neutral and hinging back further. Make it an explosive movement as you move with the kettle bell to stand tall allowing the weight to swing forward in front of you.
Begin by keeping the chest upright, hinge the hips back as you take a big step to the left. Bend the left knee as you place the whole foot onto the floor, the right leg should remain straight.
Keeping the spine and pelvis in neutral, as you drive off the left foot and come back to the start position. If you are struggling to find balance and control in this exercise regress to a lateral squat.
If you are finding the exercise easy you could progress to a front rack position or a barbell lateral lunge instead. The supporting leg is soft at the knee and the pelvis should remain in a neutral position.
Start lying on your back with legs straight but hips flexed so the soles of the feet are facing up toward the ceiling. Exhale as you extend one leg away from you, inhale as you bring it back to the start position and repeat on the other side.
If you are struggling to keep your lower back in contact with the floor regress this exercise and don’t allow your leg to travel too far away from you. We also believe that exercise should be for everyone and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy a couple of kettle bells.
With kettle bells, basically every move is all about the hips, so it’s not shocker that they’re a great tool for boosting the glutes. “Due to the versatility of the handle and how the weight is distributed, kettle bells add another dimension to weight lifting: the need to counterbalance, which improves stability and balance, particularly in the glutes,” says Lisa Reed, CSS, a Hard style Kettle bell Certified instructor and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness.
“The kettle bell can be hiked back to load the glutes with as much resistance as a dead lift, plus you can rep consecutively without interruption because of the kettle bell ’s nature,” says Paul Vivaria, a personal trainer and Russian Kettle bell certified instructor at New York Health & Racquet Club. These workouts, designed by Vivaria and Reed, use kettle bells along with traditional lifts and plyometric moves for the most, ahem, well-rounded glute-strengthening results.