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.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down to pick up the kettle bell with both hands in an overhand grip. Look ahead, not down, and keep your spine aligned and your knees slightly bent throughout the movement.
Allow the weight to drop back down, hinging at the hips as it swings between your legs. Focus on clenching your glutes at the top of the move and keeping your back straight.
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Kettlebellswings were introduced to the US by Russian fitness expert Pavel Tsatsouline at the turn of the 21st Century. Since their introduction, Russian kettle bells have become a familiar sight in many gyms and a popular choice for home workouts.
They also come in a wide range of weights, which means that you can use them at any stage of your fitness journey and can benefit whether you’re an experienced or novice user. The two-handed swing uses the hamstrings, glutes, quads, hips, core, back, trapezium, shoulders, and forearms.
The intensity means that you will feel the burn after a decent set, and with a good 30-minute workout you will be sweating profusely, your heart will be pumping faster, and oxygenated blood will be coursing through your veins. As long as you maintain good form, you don’t have to use a heavy bell, especially for cardio training.
He also advises having two additional, heavier, bells for progression and for use in some other types of kettle bell exercise. As the kettle bell descends from the swing, gravity ensures that the bell will feel a lot heavier, especially as you reach the end of your set.
As with any exercise, but perhaps more so with a full-body kettle swing workout, good form is vital to ensure the best results. When performing the swing, all your weight should be placed on the heel and middle of the foot and should never transfer to the toes.
You should also keep your neck and head in alignment with your back so ensure that you are always looking ahead at the horizon while performing this movement. The height you raise the kettle bell will be determined by the amount of power you can muster from your hip thrust.
The number of reps and sets you need to perform depends on your fitness level, what you’re trying to achieve, and the weight you’re using. The length and frequency of your kettle bell workouts depends on the intensity and difficulty of the session.
Kettlebellswings are a full body workout, and whether you are training increasing strength or stamina, or even to lose weight, research suggests that shorter sessions are more effective. They utilize virtually every muscle in the body, and they are effective for weight loss as well as explosive strength training.
They also require very little equipment, and the intensity of the workout can be increased so that you continue to make the gains you’re looking for. The goblet squat targets your quads and glutes while challenging your core stability, as well as lower body flexibility and mobility.
The kettle bell swing targets your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and shoulders while providing a metabolic workout. Throughout my blog you will notice how I frequently include the kettle bell swing and goblet squat in a lot of the workouts.
If you don’t know or understand how to do a kettle bell swing or a goblet squat then watch the video below for some quick pointers. The hinge is the first thing you must learn in order to execute a powerful and injury-free kettle bell swing.
As you learned in the video above, the hinge is a postural pattern where we are shooting our hips back to assist us in folding forward while keeping a neutral spine. You can apply the hinge in other important exercises, such as the dead lift, good mornings or bent over rows.
Integrating the hinge in your everyday movements will help save your back from injuries and discomfort. In the following video I show you how a good and bad kettle bell swing looks like.
(To pause/stop the video simply click on it again) With the good swing, you can see me hinging at my hips and having control of the kettle bell by keeping it very close to my body on the way down. We are going to look at different rep schemes, exercise order, execution and rest periods.
Pyramid training is where you start off with a particular exercise(s) and you either ascend or descend in repetitions. You’ll then rest for 30 seconds and perform 30 goblet squats.
You’ll proceed in climbing your way to the top of the pyramid. Make sure to grab a kettle bell size that will allow you to complete the designated repetitions.
As soon as you reach the top you will continue in going back down (ascending in reps) to the base of pyramid. On week 6 go back to completing it only once but this time choose a heavier kettle bell.
Instead of dedicating an entire workout to these two exercises, we are going to distribute them into smaller portions throughout 30 days. Treat it as complimentary mini workouts to assist your fat loss and muscle building efforts.
This a great way to add up movement, caloric expenditure or physical activity to your day and month. Forty-five seconds might seem like a lot of time to rest but the fatigue will surely catch up with you as you move up on your set.
Weeks 3-4: Complete Mom A 2x but choose a heavier kettle bell. In week 5 you will be doing just 10 goblet squats but 20 kettlebellswings and the workout will last 10 minutes instead of 8.
What’s so great about these workouts is that you don’t need any fancy equipment or a lot of space to do them. If you have any questions about the exercises or the workouts please leave them in the comment section below.