Because of the hip hinging movement pattern in the exercise you’ll be able to train the glutes and hamstrings. From there, the shoulders, back (mostly lats) are used to help bring the kettle bell to chest height.
After a brief pause occurs here, it’s at this point the traps and lats are really engaged. Because kettle bell swings may elicit cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and metabolic responses sufficient for improvements in strength, aerobic power, and overall physical fitness.
In one study conducted researchers compared thirty minutes of kettle bell swings and dead lifts to walking on a treadmill at a slight incline. The kettle bell workout and treadmill cardio had similar VO2, blood pressure, and calorie burn markers, but the kettle bell workout had a higher rate of perceived exertion (it felt harder) and heart rate.
What this tells us is that kettle bell workouts (and swings) could be a good method for cardiovascular training. The results of one study compared the effects of weight lifting and kettle bell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition.
Results showed that short-term weightlifting and kettle bell training were effective in increasing strength and power. However, the gains in strength using weightlifting movements were greater than that during kettle bell training.
Just keep in mind that to build strength in the Russiankettlebellswing you need progressive overload. This is totally normal and is creatively called “beginner gains.” Almost anything you do is progressive overload at this point and your body responds very quickly to it.
Grab the kettle bell with both hands and stand up using proper dead lift form. Begin to push your hips back while maintaining a flat torso.
Use the hips and glutes to thrust forward and drive the kettle bell up Maintain relaxed arms as you are doing this. As the kettle bell approaches chest height keep the shoulders from shrugging to the ears.
Knees and hips will lock out as the bell reaches chest to chin height. To hip hinge start by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart.
Shift your weight to the heels and push your hips back. Continue driving the hips back until your torso is parallel with the ground.
Reverse the movement and stand up by contracting you glutes and pushing your hips forward. Below are a couple of exercises and progressions to help level up your hip hinge game.
The biggest difference between the Russiankettlebellswing and American kettlebellswing is in how high (the apex) you bring the kettle bell while swinging it. The American kettle bell swing takes a longer period of time to complete which can inhibit power output.
This might not develop as much strength through the glutes, hips, and posterior chain. If you have healthy shoulders, good range of motion, and don’t have heavy enough kettle bells at home or where you train.
Russian swings allow me to use heavier weight and are easier for me to maintain my form, so I do those. As mentioned earlier kettle bell swings are low impact on the joints.
But one of the greatest benefits of the Russiankettlebellswing is that it can strengthen many muscles in the core and posterior chain. Some studies are even showing that regular kettle bell training can help reduce pain in the neck, shoulders, and back as well.
Photo: Jewell Chiropractic Kettle bell swings can also be a great way to burn some calories. Kettle bell swings are simple in theory but can be more difficult in practice.
Because high reps are often used in kettle bell swings the rounded spine can be troublesome. This is typically because the weight is too heavy and it may feel like the legs are needed to get enough power to get the kettle bell up.
Second, it could just be a matter of misunderstanding form, it might feel like you need to let the kettle bell get away to get it up. Just like the squat above, lightening the load and revisiting form should do the trick.
Continue practicing dead lift form, work on keeping your shoulders back and down, and use mini reps to help get comfortable using the hip hinge. Below are a few commons questions I’ve received from coaching clients about kettle bell swings.
When you hear 1 Food used to describe a kettle bell that means it weight 36.11 pounds. Focus on form first as a way to decrease risk of injury as you start swinging it at higher volumes and more often.
A few practice reps every couple of days is a great place to start. Once form, strength, and conditioning is built up the reps can vary depending on the individual.
A calorie deficit is the only thing that contributes to fat loss. Kettle bell swings uses calories but your best bet is to use your diet for fat loss.
Beginners will experience rapid results while those that have been training for a while will see much slower progression. Fat loss comes down to creating a consistent calorie deficit over time.
It depends on if you’re creating a consistent calorie deficit over time and reduce your body fat levels enough to be “ripped.” Mancini, Rodrigo Luiz et al. Kettle bell Exercise as an Alternative to Improve Aerobic Power and Muscle Strength.” Journal of human kinetics vol.
Chan M, McGinnis MJ, Koch S, et al. Cardiopulmonary Demand of 16-kg Kettle bell Snatches in Simulated Gregory Sport. Otto WH 3rd, Co burn Jr, Brown LE, Spearing BA.
Effects of weightlifting vs. kettle bell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition. APA Thomas, James F.; Larson, Kurtis L.; Hollander, Daniel B.; Kramer, Robert R. Comparison of Two-Hand Kettle bell Exercise and Graded Treadmill Walking: Effectiveness as a Stimulus for Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: April 2014 — Volume 28 — Issue 4 — p 998-1006doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000345
Jay K, Frisco D, Hansen K, et al. Kettle bell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial. 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.
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. 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). This spat pits the Russian swing against the American swing in a battle for kettle bell supremacy.
The American swing, on the other hand, mirrors the motion of the Russian swing until the apex of the movement. 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.