Ideally, your forearm should stay connected to your body until you drive your hips.” The kettlebellswing is one of your best gym weapons for high-intensity intervals as a “finisher” at the end of a weights' workout to improve cardiovascular fitness and torch fat.
Subjects were tested for their half-squat one-rep max and their best vertical jump, then assigned a training plan of twice-weekly 12-minute kettlebellswing sessions of 30 seconds’ work, 30 seconds’ rest, or the same amount of jump squat training, which has already been shown to increase power output. The kettlebellswing will also encourage you to keep your shoulders in a healthier position rather than slump forward at a desk.
Overall you’ll gain muscle endurance, solid glutes, more flexible hips and — if you work at it — a core of steel. Bending slightly at the knees but hinging mainly at the hips, grasp the kettle bell and pull it back between your legs to create momentum.
Drive your hips forwards and straighten your back to send the kettle bell up to shoulder height. “Don’t make the common mistake of using the upper body too much to get the weight moving,” says kettle bell king Mike Mahler.
“This limits what you can lift and how many reps you can do, and makes you far more likely to develop back issues. Put your entire body into each rep and keep the bell close to your body until the hip drive begins, and then use the hip power to swing the bell to shoulder level.”
The American one differs in that you let the weight swing all the way above your head, not shoulder height. Aim to keep your forearms attached to your hips until you reach neutral then, as your arms come up, squeeze your glutes to prevent overextending your lower back.
This is a posterior chain movement (the muscles on the back of your body), not a quads exercise. “Change hands at the highest point of the swing, where the kettle bell is weightless.
You could be forgiven for thinking that people just do it to look flashy but it’s a good test of your co-ordination, timing and control of the kettle bell.” Ten-minute fat-torcher Perform as many swings as you can in 60 seconds, using the form pointers above, and record the number of reps you complete.
Aim to beat your total rep score every time you attempt the challenge. Primal Soldier) is all about utilizing kettle bells to enhance your workouts.
Lava specializes in crafting challenging routines using the versatile fitness tools—along with his Men's Health Kettle hell workout program on All Out Studio, Lava has recently shared a grueling single kettle bell total-body session. Now, Lava is teaching some of his favorite kettlebellswingvariations in a helpful YouTube clip.
The kettlebellswing is a super-effective exercise that can help you to build size, strength, and hone explosive power through your posterior chain. Rather than cycling through multiple reps of the exercise, you'll return the weight to the ground and reset between each.
Make sure that you avoid rounding your back when you set the bell down. Otherwise, your feet should be just as wide as in the standard single-arm swing, and your mechanics should stay consistent.
Start at a staggered stance, then shift your feet as you switch your working arm on each swing. Think about the motion like this: swing up, step forward to neutral stance, let the weight fall back in the hole, step back to staggered stance.
Perform a standard swing, then take two small steps forward as the weight reaches its peak. Perform a standard swing, then take two small steps to the side as the weight reaches its peak.
Mix up your steps here as you swing, moving forward, to laterally, and diagonally—but never backwards. Keep it close to the chest with this variation—instead of extending your arms, hold the weight bell-in to your sternum and focus on the hip thrust of the movement.
Check out his Kettle hell program on the Men's Health All Out Studio streaming platform. Emily Shiffer is a former digital web producer for Men’s Health and Prevention, and is currently a freelancer writer specializing in health, weight loss, and fitness.
Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
Kettle bell Swings were once exclusively performed by athletes in the Soviet Union. Now you'd be hard-pressed to walk through a gym and not see at least one person doing this incredibly versatile exercise.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a kettle bell about a foot in front of you on the ground. Step 2: Pull your shoulders down and back and brace your core before starting the exercise.
Step 3: Lift the kettle bell off the ground and allow it to swing between your legs. Step 4: Forcefully drive your hips forward to propel the kettle bell into the air.
As the kettle bell lowers, move immediately and fluidly into the next rep. Step 6: On your final rep, allow it to swing back through your legs, and then place it a foot in front of you on the ground.
A loose core makes for a sloppy KettlebellSwing and puts stress on your spine. Imagine that your upper body is in a plank position with your torso hinging on your hips.
This keeps your spine in the proper position and makes your glutes, not your lower back, do the majority of work. We advise athletes to avoid this variation, as it places extra stress on the shoulders and spine.
The rhythmic nature of the KettlebellSwing makes it a wonderful move for improving your breathing technique. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath (through your stomach) as the kettle bell lowers, and exhale fully during the swing.
They explosively extend the hips and drive them forward, creating the power needed to swing the kettle bell. Your quads extend your knees to provide an extra power boost.
Your core and back muscles engage to keep your torso stable and your spine in a neutral position. Your shoulder stabilizers engage to control the movement of the kettle bell.
These muscles also help decelerate the kettle bell during the downswing, while maintaining control of your body. The hip hinge is a fundamental movement pattern that all athletes should perfect.
It's important for athletic skills like jumping, and for exercises like the Dead lift and Squat. This allows your strong and powerful glutes to maximally contribute to the movement, while keeping your lower back safe.
The moves require lots of practice and great coaching—heck, these lifts are sports on their own. You don't get a full triple extension—of the hips, knees and ankles—and you can't use as heavy of a weight.
In a study led by renowned spinal researcher Dr. Stuart McGill, it was found that the KettlebellSwing puts forces on the spine in the opposite direction from Dead lifts and other similar exercises. We're not saying the Dead lift is a bad exercise—it's one of our favorite lifts—but if you're dealing with back pain, the KettlebellSwing might be a smarter option.
Since the KettlebellSwing is a full-body movement, it's a great option for conditioning and training muscular endurance. According to an ACE Fitness study, a Kettle bell Snatch workout, which is similar to the Swing, burns approximately 20 calories per minute.
However, the focus of the exercise is on the hip hinge, which is driven by the glutes and hamstrings. You will use lighter weight than the traditional Swing, but the single-arm variation is more challenging for your core.
The amount of weight an experienced lifter can use is significantly different from what a beginner can handle—as with any exercise. We always advise starting on the lighter side so you can focus on mastering technique and not on the difficulty of moving the weight.
Once you perfect your form, gradually increase the weight so your muscles feel challenged in your set. “Swings work almost every major muscle in the body,” says Jacquelyn Boston, CSS, owner of Triple Fit in Chicago.
Hold a kettle bell in front of your body with both hands, arms straight. Use that momentum to stand and swing the kettle bell out in front of your body, up to shoulder height.
Thrust your hips forward, and engage your glutes and core as you stand up straight. When the kettle bell hits shoulder height, your knees should be straight and glutes contracted in a full hip extension.
Form tips : The emphasis in this move is on a hip hinge, not a squat, so make sure you have that movement pattern down before you pick up a ‘bell, Boston says. “The glutes and leg muscles generate force while the core musculature, shoulder girdle, and pecs stabilize to control the movement,” Boston explains.
They’re fabulous for developing power, improving core stability, building endurance, and improving muscle imbalances (like shortened hamstrings and weak glutes). The latter is almost impossible to control without hyper extending your lower back, and many people lack the shoulder mobility to fully and safely extend a weight overhead in this manner, Boston says.
What’s more, the variation used here—Russian Kettle bell Swings—allows you to use more power from your hips and legs, taking some strain off your shoulders as well. “Because it engages so many muscles and is dynamic in nature, you need adequate recovery time to prevent injury,” Boston explains.
Plan to work kettle bell exercises in general, not just swings, into your routine up to two or three days per week. Use the move's intensity to your advantage by including it in a HIIT workout, ideally paired with push ups, planks, and squats (all body weight movements).
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. With that common misconception out of the way, let’s clear up another, because it’s not just the name of this old school-turned-trendy exercise tool that trips people up.
The preeminent kettle bell exercise —the two-handed swing —has been known to leave gym-goers of all ages and ability levels scratching their heads, wondering, “You mean I don’t use my arms to swing this thing?” When performed correctly, kettle bell swings build total-body strength, power, and balance, while improving cardiovascular stamina, all with one piece of equipment.
If that sounds too good to be true, maybe it’s because you’ve never swung a kettle bell with pinpoint precision. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn to use your legs (and hips, glutes, and core) to perform the perfect kettlebellswing.
As it turns out, dancing the salsa and swinging a kettle bell have a lot in common. But they do share a coaching cue that makes every movement possible: It’s all in the hips.
The swing begins to take shape when the kettle bell is added into the mix. With loose arms and a light grip, the kettle bell is swung from inside the quads up to the chest, just before eye level—in the Russian version anyway (more on this later).
To the untrained eye, the swing appears to be a feat of upper-body strength: Simply squat and then stand up while pulling with the arms. Performing the perfect kettlebellswing places all the emphasis on the posterior chain—the major muscles on the backside of the body from the heels to the base of the neck, primarily the hamstrings, glutes, and low back.
And unlike the little movers (calves, biceps, triceps, and deltoid), the big movers are capable of moving big weight and burning massive amounts of calories. But the good news is its a piece of fitness equipment that actually lives up to the hype.
Consider this: A study seeking to analyze the effectiveness of kettle bell exercise concluded that “kettle bells provide a much higher-intensity workout than standard weight-training routines and offer superior results in a short amount of time.” The same study went on to say that the benefits of kettle bell training extend beyond strength and stamina by helping people “burn calories, lose weight, and enhance their functional performance capabilities.”
Keep arms long and loose while squeezing shoulders blades together and engaging your core. Soften knees, shift body weight into heels, and lower butt back and down toward the wall behind you.
Driving through heels, explode through hips to send weight swinging upward from quads. Achieving this finish position requires you to snap your hips through, contracting your core while squeezing glutes.
As the kettle bell begins to descend, let the weight do the work as you ready your body for the next rep. Shift weight back into heels while hinging at the hips and loading both the hamstrings and glutes.
Receive the weight, allowing the kettle bell to ride back between legs. As it makes the transition from backward to forward, drive through the heels and hips to repeat.
There’s nothing like an arms race to create animosity among nations (or in this case, coaches and their respective exercise communities). Instead of stopping at eye level, the American swing finishes with the arms and kettle bell overhead.
Our expert Chris Finn, certified personal trainer at Life Time at Sky and Strongest level-two kettle bell instructor, never recommends the American swing due to the risk of injury to your shoulders. That said, the decision on where to pledge your allegiance should be based on personal ability level and safety.
Paying close attention to a proper swing will ensure a successful—not to mention injury-free—workout. Start and finish the swing by loading, firing, and hinging at the hips.
But there's a reason it's held strong in its top spot in the workout world. “It's an incredible total-body movement that builds strength while also requiring power, speed, and balance.”
While the specific muscle benefits are clutch, the best part is that this movement translates to a more fit and powerful body overall. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that kettlebellswing training increased both maximum and explosive strength in athletes, while a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that kettle bell training (in general) can increase aerobic capacity, improve dynamic balance, and dramatically increase core strength.
“Because you are only using one side of your body, you must keep tension in your core at the top of the swing to stay balanced,” says Carr. “The one-handed swing is slightly more difficult because you're being challenged to control the entire movement with one side.
As a result, it's best to start with a lighter weight and build up as you become more comfortable with the movement.” Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a kettle bell on the floor about a foot in front of toes.
Hinging at the hips and keeping a neutral spine (no rounding your back), bend down and grab the kettle bell handle with both hands. C. Powering through the hips, exhale and quickly stand up and swing the kettle bell forward up to eye level.
When you're done, pause slightly at the bottom of the swing and place the kettle bell back on the ground in front of you. (Alternate swings with heavy kettle bell exercises for a killer workout.)
At the top of the movement, your abdominal muscles and glutes should visibly contract. To help you do this, blow your breath out when the kettle bell reaches the top, which will create tension in your core.