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.
When it comes to the kettlebellswing, the hip action we’re referring to is a hinging motion. 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 kettlebellexercise 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.
Be sure to keep core tight throughout so you don’t strain your lower back. The kettlebellswing is a core training staple that can help to build total body strength and power, but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly?
For this explosive movement, you shouldn't settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it's such a simple, essential exercise that should serve as one of the centerpieces of your training plan. Let Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
Before you pick up a weight and start waving it around, take note that it's extremely important to pay attention the movement here. The way that you start your swing position is essential, as is your body's posture throughout—so let's break down everything you need to know.
Even more than that it is a move that lets us explosively express what’s called “hip extension.” If you do those things right (and because we increasingly sit so much, we occasionally do it wrong), you’re squeezing your glutes and your lower body is driving your ability to stand up.
This action is crucial to moving and standing correctly, and critical to improving your athleticism (and your squat and dead lift movements). This doesn’t just miss the point of a kettlebellswing (hip extension) but it’s dangerous for your shoulders, too.
You end up trying to finish the swing with your shoulders, placing your rotator cuff tendons in a compromised position. The height of the kettle bell is strictly a function of how aggressively you straighten your legs and squeeze your glutes.
Ex says: The American kettlebellswing has you swinging to a wildly high target (overhead) and that’s problem one. Problem two: if your shoulder mobility isn’t ideal; you'll compensate by arching through the lower back.
Swing Cues Ex says: Your upper body isn’t the driver of the kettlebellswing ; it’s only a lever. Ex says: This is a lower body move, and your arms shouldn’t be anything more than a lever for the bell.
If you explosively and powerfully stand up, and really exaggerate that glute squeeze, your torso will naturally pop up and the bell will translate forward. Ex says: Critical in the kettlebellswing is not letting your lower back drive the movement.
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. Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. The kettlebellswing is a great exercise to strengthen your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back.
Using an explosive motion emanating from your hips, glutes and hamstrings, the kettlebellswing can boost your muscular power and endurance so you're better equipped to perform everyday activities such as walking, lifting and turning. The repetitive nature of this high-intensity full body exercise can also help boost your aerobic capacity resulting in enhanced cardio fitness so you can do more for longer.
If you're keen to witness dramatic changes to your fitness you will find our top tips for getting started below, including a how-to guide to performing the perfect kettlebellswing. One of the best ways to warm up before picking up the kettle bell is to practice the swinging motion but without the weight in your hands.
Once you've picked up the kettle bell, try and keep a loose but firm grip on the weight to avoid causing unwanted tension in your neck and shoulders. Keep your core tight and a slight bend in your knees as you straighten your legs pushing from the heels and explode through the hips and swing the kettle bell to chest height.
Half squat and grab hold of the kettle bell handle with one arm. When it reaches chest height, grab the kettle bell with the other arm, making sure you've got it, then let go the other hand.
Grab the handle with both hands, keeping palms face down and hips square. You will get more full body results in less time from the kettlebellswing than any other exercise !
If you are new to Kettle bell Training then you should focus all your time and effort on the Swing. The kettlebellswing hits all the major muscles of body, increasing your metabolism and generating after burn for up to 24hrs after your workouts.
To help you get the most from your kettle bell swings and to stop your workouts from becoming boring here are some kettlebellswing Won for you: Double Handed Swing — 20 reps Push Ups — 10, 9, 8, 7 etc.
A perfect kettlebellswing workout that hits almost every muscle in the body using only 2 exercises. Perform 20 Double Handed Swings and then 10 Push Ups.
At the end of the workout you will have completed 200 Swings and 55 Push Ups. A super simple kettlebellswing only workout and great for beginners.
Perform 20 double handed swings at the beginning of every minute. The time left over after your 20 kettle bell swings until the start of the next minute is for rest.
Alternating between Swings and Burpees will really elevate your heart rate. This workout will seriously burn some calories as well as strengthening the complete lower body.
A KB swing workout using the 2 most important kettle bell exercises. Repeat the circuit adding an extra Turkish Get Up each round.
The kettlebellswing works predominantly the muscles of the posterior chain which includes, the hips, glutes, hamstrings, back, lats, abs, shoulders, and forearms. Perform 10 double handed swings at the beginning of every minute.
The time left over after your 10 kettle bell swings until the start of the next minute is for rest. However, you need to listen to your body and take a day off when you feel you have not fully recovered.
In today’s world we spend the majority of our days doing things in front of us with terrible posture. Cubicles) for hours at a time not moving and making the front of our body even tighter.
If You’re Not Doing The Kettle bell Swing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life! This overuse of the muscles on the front side of our bodies is called “anterior dominance” and it is plaguing our society.
Anterior dominance results in imbalances in our muscles causing us to move and perform at sub-optimal levels. And because of our terrible posture — because our anterior muscles are shortened and tight pulling us forward — we give the illusion of being weak and unconfident as opposed to standing erect with our chins up.
It’s no wonder that we’re generally unhealthy compared to previous generations that didn’t live a convenience lifestyle in this information age. And there is one exercise — that if you incorporate it into your daily routine — can easily combat the ill effects of anterior dominance and the Western Lifestyle.
Frequency Exercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest up to 7x per week strength training high intensity varies by workout varies by workout Once labelled “hard core”, kettle bells are now popping up in every gym, garage and backyard because of their portability and reputation for fast results. Go into any gym and you’ll see inexperienced exercisers turning a swing into a front squat and shoulder raise exercise further tightening our hips, quads, chest and shoulders and just adding to the anterior dominance issue that I told you about above.
A hip hinge — like a dead lift movement — forces you to use those posterior chain muscles to move the kettle bell. It will allow you to loosen your tight hips and strengthen your butt so that you’ll develop the rear end of an athlete.
It will bulletproof your low back by creating an armored brace around your midsection, and it will get rid of that paunchy gut. “If You’re Not Doing The Hard style KettlebellSwing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life!”
As opposed to starting your set of swings from the standing position like how you see most amateurs do it, the hike pass allows you to overstretch your lats — a powerful muscle in your upper body with a direct relationship with your glutes — and get more “juice” out of your swing. Push your hips back keeping your butt high and bend your knees slightly.
Always making sure your shoulders stay above the level of your hips, “hike pass” the kettle bell through your knees by contracting your lats. When you push your hips back keeping your butt high and your shins vertical, you are hinging.
This is good because most people today are hip flexor and quad dominant (your anterior muscles), so learning how to load and use your posterior chain creates a natural balance between front and back that will help in preventing knee and hip issues. Imagine that you are growing roots through your feet and grab the ground with your entire foot.
Getting proper instruction from an expert so that you can MASTER THE KETTLEBELLSWING is the best thing that you can do for your training regardless of your goal. If you want to build strength, kettle bell swings will forge a grip of steel and will add pounds to your dead lift & squat.
If you want to boost your athleticism, kettle bell swings will make you more powerful and add height to your jump and shave seconds off your sprints. If you want to pack on muscle, swinging a heavy kettle bell will build an intimidating upper back & set of shoulders.
And if you want to shed body fat, swings will incinerate blubber like butter melting in an iron pan. But, in the last decade or so, they’ve seen a resurgence in popularity, not least because they are a part of so many CrossFit workouts.
Of all the exercises you can do with a kettle bell, the swing is arguably the most popular and may even be the most valuable. Many fitness enthusiasts believe that squats and dead lifts are the kings of exercise.
But Tim Ferris says “the two armed kettlebellswing is the king and is all you need for dramatic body recomposition results”. This post will reveal the main kettlebellswing benefits and how to do them correctly.
It takes time to master the kettlebellswing, but once you’ve got it nailed, this exercise has a wide range of benefits. These muscles are crucial for better posture, as well as improved sports performance.
Your heart rate will also soar when you swing a kettle bell, which makes kettle bell swings one of the best strength training exercises for fat loss and weight loss. Tim Ferris's writes glowingly about the fantastic benefits of the kettlebellswing for rapid fat loss and body recomposition in his New York Times Best Seller The Four Hour Body.”
Image Credit Tracy & Mark Ranking Many fitness enthusiasts believe that squats and dead lifts are the kings of exercise. But Tim Ferris says, “the two armed kettlebellswing is the king and is all you need for dramatic body recomposition results.”
Increased cardiovascular fitness Kettlebellswing training is excellent for your heart and lungs, as well as your muscles. Because they are a full-body movement, kettle bell swings will drive your heart and breathing rate sky-high, which makes them a beneficial and challenging cardiovascular exercise.
Better posture Kettle bell swings are one of the best exercises for undoing the effects of prolonged sitting. Swings work your posterior chain, which are the muscles responsible for holding you upright against the pull of gravity.
In many instances, this will also eliminate the back pain often caused by poor posture. Quadriceps — located on the front of your upper thighs, the quads as they are known, are responsible for knee extension.
Gluteus Maximus — known as the glutes for short, this is the most massive muscle in the human body and is responsible for hip extension. Core — the muscles that make up your midsection, which is responsible for keeping your spine stable.
Latissimus Doris — the side/upper back muscles, the lats are responsible for shoulder extension. Forearm flexors — the muscles in your lower arms that are responsible for keeping a firm grip on the kettle bell.
Because kettle bell swings involve so many muscles and joints working together and at the same time, there’s a lot that can go wrong with this exercise. But, if you master a proper kettlebellswing, you can enjoy all the benefits this exercise has to offer while avoiding all the risks.
Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, pull your shoulders down and back, and brace your abs. Focus on your hip drive to pop the kettle bell upwards, not your arms.
Use your lats and abs to stop the weight swinging upward and then let the kettle bell fall back down. American kettlebellswing — the kettle bell is swung up and overhead until the arms are vertical.
Russian kettle bell swings generally allow you to lift more weight, and they are easier to learn. However, it’s all too easy to inadvertently shorten your rep range by not swinging the weight high enough, i.e., below shoulder-height.
Swinging the weight up until the arms are vertical ensures that each rep is the same, making them easier to judge and quantify. However, raising the weight so high will increase stress on the lower back, which could lead to injury.
The increased range of movement also means you won’t be able to lift as much weight. But, unless you are training for CrossFit competitions, the Russian swing is potentially the safer one, which may mean it’s the best choice for most exercisers.
As recommended by the American Council on Exercise, ACE for short, this kettle bell workout is best done three times a week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. With this workout, you do a set of kettle bell swings at the start of each minute, and whatever time is left over is for resting.
*Note: kettle bells are popular home workout gear, and some items are not yet back in stock, so you might need to be preordered. AmazonBasics Vinyl Coated Cast Iron Kettle bell Weight
With the Noose Fitness Kettle bell Handle, you can add as many or as few standard weight plates as you like, making it both ideal for a range of users and also saving you from buying several sets of kettle bells. Sold without filling, you can easily adjust the weight to suit your needs.
Kettle Grip Kettle bell Adjustable Portable Weight Grip Kettle bell cleans and snatches come close, but they are much trickier to master.
Whether you want to burn fat, get fit, or boost your dead lift performance, kettle bell swings will help. Remember, to get the most from this exercise ; you need to do them correctly and give yourself time to recover between workouts.
Dead lifts are one of the best exercises on the planet to change your body dramatically, no matter what your age. Related Posts:Footnotes:Please take a moment and share 5 Epic KettlebellSwing Benefits for Total Body Conditioning: 5 Epic KettlebellSwing Benefits For Total Body Conditioning
If so, then you have everything you need for a full-body workout that'll burn plenty of calories and help you pile up glute, hamstring, and core strength, too. Get ready for a “cardio” workout that takes place far from the treadmill or the track and prep for KettlebellSwing Conditioning Hell, a fire-breathing workout that'll have your entire body gassed in less than 10 minutes from Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
“But you can do it with any alternate load too, from a big water jug to a backpack filled with books, to a dumbbell.” Either way, over the course of 8 minutes, you'll pile up 160 total kettle bell swings.
And the constant alternating between those swing varieties means you're training from athletic stances too. “You're becoming explosive in ways that mirror the actions you might take on a sporting field of play.”
That's enough to ramp up your heart rate, says Samuel, and by the final sequence, your body will be at its limits. Shift your right foot back slightly, lifting your heel off the ground.
Shift your left foot back, lifting your heel off the ground. Either way, you'll be smoking your entire posterior chain, building strength, challenging your lungs, and incinerating calories.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Ex and Sole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Ex's New Rules of Muscle program.
Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
How does a smaller butt, slimmer hips, a flat stomach, thinner thighs, toned arms and chest with increased strength and endurance sound to you? Kettle bells are so effective because they stimulate the muscles and surpass standard cardio exercises!
The KB swing will help you lose weight and get you into shape faster than any other exercise ! 5) Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to boost fiber intake
— Builds a strong, lean body head to toe To reach the whopping 1,212 calorie burns per hour, says Flynn, you’d have to work your way up to completing 250 to 300 swings using a kettle bell that’s between 20 and 35 pounds.”
This awesome workout can help you lose more fat in minutes per day than if you were to spend hours on the treadmill! Hips glutes hamstrings lats abs shoulders pecs
As noted in the above picture start to swing up by snapping your hips forward. Keep elbow slightly bent not straight to protect your joints.
Perform the double hand swing and walk forward as you bring the kettle bell up as you execute the exercise. Explode through the hips to bring the kettle bell up and do not lift it with your shoulders.
At the top of the motion, quickly pull the kettle bell with your shoulder horizontal back then swing down to the ground and repeat. If you are considering to just use a dumbbell for the workout I am here to inform you that kettle bells work your muscles differently, and kettle bell exercises add more of an aerobic quality to your workout than dumbbells.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with toes slightly pointing out. With back flat and abs pulled in, squat down and hold your kettle bell with both hands between your legs.
Straighten your legs and swing the kettle bell in front so your hands are in line with your shoulders. Exhale and return to the squatting position, allowing the kettle bell to swing back between your legs.
But nothing beats using a kettle bell to gain the best use of this workout since explosive movements are required. It is necessary to eat healthy, reduce stress, get sufficient sleep with a combination of cardio and strength exercise to help stave off fat deposits in the body.
But for some weighted moves, especially ones that require an explosive movement, kettle bells reign supreme. You can also hold them by the handle or the bell (the round part of the weight), which allows you to get a different range of motion depending on the kettlebellexercise you're doing.
Plus, the shape of a kettle bell lets you work your muscles a little differently than a traditional dumbbell, Jessica Sims, a NASM-certified personal trainer at the Hitting Room in New York City, tells SELF. When you take a class with kettle bells, or any other new type of equipment, it's normal to feel a little lost.
Oh, and a quick lesson on the lingo: The “ball” refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom, and the handle is the part attached to it. The handle is also referred to as the “horns,” and can be gripped at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball.
Adding a kettle bell increases the resistance your body has to work against to stand back up, challenging your muscles even more. In addition, holding the kettle bell close to your chest helps you nail proper form.
“When you pick up heavy grocery bags, you should squat down like this so you don't hurt your back.” Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, gripping the sides of the kettle bell handle with both hands at chest height.
They also secretly challenge your core, since you have to keep your abs tight to avoid arching your back. Sims says to choose a heavier weight with a dead lift—since you're not bending your elbows at all, you're mostly using your glutes, which are likely the strongest muscles in your body.
Hinge at your hips and push your butt back as you lower your torso and the weight toward the ground. “Make sure that you don’t let the kettle bells swing, keep them stable by your side like actual suitcases,” Sims says.
Push through your heels, putting most of the weight on the back foot, to return to the starting position. Adding weight to a sit-up adds an extra challenge for your core, and the press at the top works your shoulders and arms, too.
For these sit-ups, Sims says you can either keep your knees bent or put them in butterfly position, depending on what feels comfortable for your hips. Start in a sit-up position, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
Kettle bell swings are great for your butt, legs, and lower back, Sims says. You can probably go heavy here, but she suggests nailing the technique with a lighter kettle bell before adding too much weight.
To perform a swing with proper form, you have to “thrust your hips aggressively to get the kettle bell up, don't use your arms,” Sims explains. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with both hands.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs. Stand back up; use the momentum from your hips to swing the weight to chest height.
Your form here should be similar to a traditional dead lift, except your legs should be wider than shoulder-width distance and your feet should be turned out a bit. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and toes angled out.
Switching to one-handed swings isolates one side at a time, which makes it harder and helps improve stability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to thread the kettle bell between your legs. Bring your now-empty hand to meet the weight at the top of the movement (so you don't slam it into your chest).
Grasp a kettle bell in each hand, palms facing out, arms bent so the weights are resting at each shoulder. Bend your knees just a few inches, and as you stand back up, press the weights straight up overhead.
To protect your lower back and make sure you're using your triceps, don't arch your back, Sims instructs. The key here is to straighten your arm completely at the top—that'll let you work the triceps through a full range of motion. Grip the kettle bell by the ball at the base of the handle with both hands and raise it directly overhead.
Keeping your elbows close to your ears, lower the kettle bell behind your head to neck level. The trick is to keep your core tight and hold your torso stable as you rotate your arms and the weight.
Lift the ball to eye level and slowly circle it around your head to the left. Hold the kettle bell handle in your right hand with your arm hanging straight at your side.
Holding a kettle bell above your head at the top of a crunch challenges your core and lower abs—so does the flutter motion of your legs. Start with the weight above your shoulders, and to make it more difficult, bring it a little behind your head, Sims says.
Make sure to keep your core super tight and lower back flat on the ground. If your back comes off the ground, or you feel any strain, bring your legs up a couple more inches.
Stand in front of a box or step, holding a kettle bell by the handle with both hands at your chest. Crew Performance Zip-Front Sports Bra (jcrew.com, $45), Cotton On Body Pocket Crop Tight (, $35), and Puma Fierce Evoking Women's Training Shoes (, $120).