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. But the question on many people’s lips is, “what muscles do kettlebellswings work?”, and that’s what I want to answer in this post.
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.
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. Muscles Worked With KettlebellSwings The kettle bell swing is primarily used for its cardio effect which is great for weight loss, hence, it’s such a popular kettle bell exercise.
Gluteus Maximus (13) Bicep memoirs (long head) (14) Semitendinosus (15) Semimembranosus (16) Truth be told, there are plenty more muscles used during the kettle bell swing but I’ve tried to stick to the most common and known ones, I also categorized them a bit differently than normal.
If your grip has no endurance then you won’t be completing high reps unbroken. Throughout the swing, your erector spinal muscles need to work to keep your spine erect, and there is actually a lot more going on inside as well to protect the spine and brace the abs.
These are the muscles that create the movement which is the hip and knee extension only when we’re talking about the conventional kettle bell swing. Keeping the knee above the ankle is important when hip hinging, if the knee comes excessively forward, then the movement starts to turn into a squat.
Not a great quality video at all, but the content is, I explain how to prevent the common back aches from the kettle bell swing, whether using the conventional/Russian or American swing. The following is a drill I use for teaching the deep hip hinge insert which is what happens during the back swing and is also used to prevent bobbing of the kettle bell.
If you want to be efficient with the American swing, stay safe, and be able to perform high reps then there is no doubt in my mind that you should lay the foundation with the conventional kettle bell swing and then continue that knowledge through the kettle bell snatch. Taco Fleur Russian Gregory Sport Institute Kettle bell Coach, Caveman training Certified, IFF Certified Kettle bell Teacher, Kettle bell Sport Rank 2, HardstyleFit Kettle bell Level 1 Instructor., CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, CrossFit Judges Certificate, CrossFit Lesson Planning Certificate, Kettle bells Level 2 Trainer, Kettle bell Science and Application, MMA Fitness Level 2, MMA Conditioning Level 1, BJJ Purple Belt and more.
Kettlebellswings are based on the dead lift movement pattern and hit almost every muscle in the body especially those of the posterior chain resulting in a stronger back and hips. If you only had time to do one kettle bell exercise then KB swings would be a fine choice.
Below I have gone into great detail about how to get your kettle bell swing form correct so let’s get started: It targets the posterior chain and essentially you are loading and reloading the back of the body as you accelerate and decelerate the kettle bell.
Be warned the eccentric or deceleration part of kettlebellswings is what causes muscle soreness so you could be walking like John Wayne for a few days if you perform too many KB swings early on. “ Over the last decade or so, kettle bell exercise has enjoyed a successful reintroduction into the fitness industry.
If your main objective is fat loss then there are not many single exercises better than the kettle bell swing. Kettle bell swings targets over 600 muscles in one go creating huge demands on energy consumption which in turn means more calories burnt.
Huge amounts of oxygen are required to fund the kettle bell swing movement so it only takes between 30 – 60 seconds before your heart and lungs are really working hard. “ Performing kettlebellswings at a self-determined pace for 12 minutes, attempting to complete as many swings as possible during that time, maintained subjects’ HR and _ VO2 at an average of 87 and 65% of their respective maxima.
Based on these observations, the “man-maker” kettle bell drill provided a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase _V O2max. Big strength and conditioning gains come from eccentric movements which involve lengthening muscles under load.
Look out though, eccentric movements are what make your kettle bell swing muscles feel sore the next day! If you suffer with bad knees then often the swing can be tolerated due to the lack of excessive bend at the knee meaning you can still strengthen the legs, hips and your cardio without needing to squat or lunge.
Kettle bell swings develops lots of explosive power through the hips and legs which is vital for most sports. Unlike lots of other exercises you hardly need any room to perform the KB swing.
Your feet will not move and the kettle bell will only extend slightly further than your hands so you could work out anywhere within a 6-foot square space. The shoulders, forearms and lat muscles are also used during the kettle bell swing.
You will get some conditioning through the quads but not as much as with squats or lunges, great for women because it will not bulk up the legs. Kettle bell swing muscles worked lower back should act in an isometric manner meaning that it should maintain a flat or neutral spine throughout the movement, the core muscles will help to maintain this position.
However, this is not such a bad thing as the chest is often overworked by men resulting in rounded shoulders. In fact kettle bell swings can help improve a chests' appearance by producing a more upright posture and pulling the shoulders backwards.
There are various different types of kettle bell swing (more on these later) but to begin with it is important that you master the basic hip hinge movement. “ Briefly, the swing exercise is initiated by driving the (15), loading the hamstrings while maintaining correct alignment between the back of the head, and the C8 and sacral vertebrae, and “packing” the shoulder neutral shoulder girdle).
To ensure that your weight distribution is correct you can practice a few kettlebellswings with your toes curled back towards you. It is crucial that during your kettle swings you keep your lower back flat.
There should be a straight line running from your tail right up to your shoulders, these are all the kettle bell swing muscles of the posterior chain. If you find that your back starts to bend at the bottom part of the kettle bell swing then push your hips further backwards and don’t lean so far forwards.
McGill (13) has also shown that conscious bracing of the abdominal wall during the swing will further stabilize the spine adding training tolerance ( Jones et al.) The core and abdominal muscles are worked hard during the kettle bell swing.
Imagine the top part of the kettle bell swing as an upright plank. It is important to realize that during the swing the shoulders are used merely as a connection between arms and body.
I will often teach beginners just to focus on the horizon as a lifted chin at the downward part of the kettle bell swing will help to keep the back flat. Depending on the width of the kettle bell handle you are using you may be able to hold on with all fingers from both hands, this is the best option.
During the swing the kettle bell is constantly trying to get away from you and so good grip is required just to keep holding on. Remember that the kettle bell swing comes from the hips and not the lower back or shoulders.
A good way to monitor this is to take the kettle bell only to the mid forearm on the inner thigh. The top of the kettle bell swing can vary and will be dictated by the strength and power of your hips and posterior chain.
So a good hip snap but only a height of 45 degrees is a better start than using your shoulders to pull the kettle bell up the rest of the way. This technique works inline with nature stimulating your extensor muscles as you straighten up and forces the air out as you fold forwards.
As the weight increases your diaphragm steps in to help out your core muscles and stabilize your spine. Nudging the kettle bell off the thigh ensures that you are already upright and the lower back is not comprised however it does entail a few small kettlebellswings to really get the momentum going.
If you do opt for starting from the ground then start with the kettle bell 12 inches in front of your toes, load your hamstrings and entire posterior chain by putting your weight on your heels, brace your abs, pull back between your legs and then drive your hips forwards with everything you’ve got. Don’t attempt to twist your upper body and swing it to the side of your one foot.
If your timing is off you will not generate the correct power through your hips and also “muscle” the kettle bell up more with your shoulders. As mentioned earlier, all the power for the kettle bell swing comes from the hips and posterior chain.
Solution: Don’t get into a rocking routine when you swing, remember its 2 moves, backwards and forwards, nothing else. Solution: If your stance is too wide you will lack power and reduce the amount of leverage you have through your hips and knees.
Swinging the bell just to horizontal with the floor or reducing the weight may also help you to master this technique. Solution: Ensure that the complete kettle bell swing comes from the hip snap and not the shoulders.
The back muscles are used during the kettle bell swing but only as stabilizers and should not be the source of power. Solution: As the kettle bell reaches the transition period at the bottom between your legs ensure that the bell does not flick.
Solution: Often the knees will want to splay outwards to allow for the kettle bell to swing between the legs. Solution: Keeping your head up at the bottom part of the kettle bell swing can cause a jarring of the neck if you go too low.
Solution: Don’t be lazy starting and finishing your swings this is the worst time to take your eye off your technique. The kettle bell is held with both hands so the total body works in a symmetrical forwards and backwards movement.
Swinging the kettle bell with one hand does two things: firstly it doubles the load on the one shoulder joint and secondly it pulls the upper body into rotation requiring more core stabilization. “The study showed for the first time that 1-armed kettle bell swing induced greater activation of the contralateral side of the upper erector spinal than that of the ipsilateral side and greater than during 2-armed swing.
With the alternating swing the brain has to start working a little harder, you need to focus or you can miss and drop the kettle bell. You will need lots of focus and a good swinging technique to perform this effectively and safely.
Progression : there are no specific requirements to move onto the walking swing because the movements are very different. Great for training outside and to add an addition element to the regular two handed swings.
Progression : once you reach this point you are very comfortable with the swing and the next two variations can be completed when you feel ready. Holding a kettle bell in each hand will double the load placed on your total body so be careful.
I hope you have enjoyed this kettle bell swing form guide and found it useful. It has taken years of teaching and training with kettle bells to discover all these finer points so please save yourself some time and learn from my experience.
Remember to first master the hip hinge before moving on to two handed KB swings. Once you can swing the kettle bell with two hands for 60 seconds then you can progress to the other variations of kettlebellswings.
Go nice and steady and you’ll be falling in love with the results that short and simple kettle bell swing workouts can deliver. The kettle bell swing targets 100’s of muscles in one movement creating huge demands on energy consumption which in turn means more calories burnt.
Kettlebellswings are therefore a great way to improve physical endurance, muscle strength and conditioning, cardiovascular functions, and increase lung efficiency. Yes, at the top position of the kettle bell swing the core has to work hard to control your pelvis and prevent you from overextending your hips.
Performing reps of kettlebellswings is not only a cardio workout but it also targets and strengthens many muscles. The fact that kettlebellswings basically strengthen all the major muscle groups in the body makes them a valuable part of anyone’s fitness routine.
The posterior chain core power leg drive shoulder stability The posterior chain is a network of muscles that extends from the calves to the lower back and are necessary for jumping, swinging and running.
The core is actively engaged throughout the entire exercise as it works to stabilize the torso while you swing. Best of all, the fact that most of your large muscles are being worked equates to a higher calorie burn.
The main muscles you can expect to strengthen and tone when performing a kettle bell swing are calves, hamstrings, quads, butt, upper and lower abs, interior and exterior obliques, deltoid and rotator cuffs. Few exercises are able to target the core as well as all the major leg muscles all in one move.
A final positive attribute of the kettle bell swing is that it can be tailored to almost any person’s workout needs. The weight of the kettle bell can be increased or decreased depending on ability and the focus of the workout.
Form and technique are similar to regular squats so it is quite easy for most people to make the transition. The kettle bell swing is an explosive training movement ideal for those looking to burn calories and to lose weight.
Kettle bell SwingDeadlift Muscles Worked Deltoid, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and abs Erector spinal, traps, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, quads Used for Building strength, shoulder flexibility, and cardiovascular enduranceDeveloping strength and muscle mass in the lower body Weights Needed Lighter kettlebellsMaximum weight Start the exercise by having a kettle bell (weighing about 35-80 lbs) on the floor in front of you and stand with a shoulder-width stance. Slightly bend at your knees and hinge at the hips to grab the kettle bell using both hands with an overhand grip.
Driving your hips forward and then straightening your back, move the kettle bell up to your shoulder level. Lower the kettle bell back to the initial position and repeat for the desired number of sets.
The kettle bell swing is one such exercise that requires you to use the muscles in your hips and legs to generate the force of the swing while your abs, back muscles and shoulder girdle stabilize your upper force to control your posture, momentum and balance. The posterior chain is a network of muscles and fascia that extends from your calves and hamstrings into your buttocks and lower back.
In a study published in the January 2012 issue of “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” researchers Dr. Stuart McGill and Leigh Marshall found that the hip-hinge movement of the swing causes your lower back and buttocks to undergo an activation and relaxation cycle during the movement. As you breathe and swing, your core is constantly activated throughout the exercise, which includes your transverses abdominal, external and internal obliques, multimedia and diaphragm.
The core works with the posterior chain to stabilize your torso and control the rate and direction of the downward swing phase. These muscles stabilize the scapulae in order to control the swing without injuring your arms or shoulders, just like in a dead lift exercise.
This temporary tension, called a lockout, is where your buttocks, thighs and abs are tightened and your shoulder blades are pulled back and depressed when you swing upward. When using the kettle bell, the body becomes the hinge that bears the weight of the equipment using the hands, the legs form a triangle shape to support all kinds of movements, and your core muscles are engaged in this process.
The motion starts by involving the glutes, quads, and hips slowly gaining hold of the core and then the shoulders and pecs. The kettle bell is one of the most efficient weight training equipment that works wonders on the human body.
Optimal for developing strength and endurance, the Russian kettle bell swing is a full-body exercise that’s great for building muscles and burning fat. The discovery of the kettle bell is a gift to mankind as its usefulness in performing body-building exercises is limitless and undeniable.
Whatever might be your fitness level and stamina, it is always recommended to start slowly and improve gradually. Any workout benefits more when more reps and sets are performed with higher resistance levels.
Start using a lightweight kettle bell and try performing reps within a certain timeframe instead of counting it. This is an anaerobic workout as it involves short bouts of explosive exercise sets with longer breaks in between.
But for this, it is recommended to use medium/heavyweight kettle bells, perform short sets of reps and benefit from increased muscle mass, endurance, and stamina. Repeat this movement of swinging the plate down in between your legs and taking it right up your head for as many times as you can.
The Kettle Grip weighs less than a pound and is highly durable made of impact-resistant ABS plastic. Reap maximum benefits by working out using the Russian kettle bell swing as it helps you achieve a full-body workout.
The equipment consumes as little space as possible, can target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and is one of the best pieces for weight training. But the way in which you hold the equipment and how you sway your hips are critical to refrain from causing any injury to yourself.
Also, make sure that you start with lighter weights and then move onto heavyweight equipment for optimal resistance levels. 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 kettle bell swing 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.
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.
To initiate the swing, inhale and hike the kettle bell back and up between legs. C. Powering through the hips, exhale and quickly stand up and swing the kettle bell forward up to eye level.
To help you do this, blow your breath out when the kettle bell reaches the top, which will create tension in your core. 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 kettle bell swing is the king and is all you need for dramatic body recomposition results”. This post will reveal the main kettle bell swing benefits and how to do them correctly.
It takes time to master the kettle bell swing, 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.
Increased cardiovascular fitness Kettle bell swing training is excellent for your heart and lungs, as well as your muscles. Because they are a full-body movement, kettlebellswings will drive your heart and breathing rate sky-high, which makes them a beneficial and challenging cardiovascular exercise.
Better posture Kettlebellswings 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.
Because kettlebellswings 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 kettle bell swing, 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. Russian kettlebellswings 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. They involve a more extensive range of motion, which could make them more demanding.
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 kettlebellswings at the start of each minute, and whatever time is left over is for resting.
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 Whether you want to burn fat, get fit, or boost your dead lift performance, kettlebellswings will help.
Remember, to get the most from this exercise; you need to do them correctly and give yourself time to recover between workouts. Therefore, it is also an excellent move for a beginner to prepare for a dead lift program.
Greetings, last year I started with a 16 kg kettle bell but injured my back due to stupidity in technique, so I gave it a go again last month with a lighter weight and went with an 8 kg. I have experienced some weight loss with the garbage around my waist starting to fade but I have not gained any muscle.
I can still see my rib cage and my neck looks like what you see on Bill Clinton and Al Sharpton. I believe I am ready to move on now to a higher weight as the 8 kg feels at times like swinging a doll but am I looking for one that would help both with cardio and boosting muscle growth.
The 24 kg and 32 kg seem more of a preferred choice among those who have experienced solid gains and developed transformations but I'm not sure if that is too big a leap. Basically, I'd like to hear about your individual experiences on what weight(s) you have used to notice a growth in your physique.
I am able to work the 40 kg on some moves (swings, goblets & TGU) but still use the 24 a lot. I am able to work the 40 kg on some moves (swings, goblets & TGU) but still use the 24 a lot.
Level 9 Valued Member Master Certified Instructor Greetings, last year I started with a 16 kg kettle bell but injured my back due to stupidity in technique, so I gave it a go again last month with a lighter weight and went with an 8 kg.
I have experienced some weight loss with the garbage around my waist starting to fade but I have not gained any muscle. I can still see my rib cage and my neck looks like what you see on Bill Clinton and Al Sharpton.
I believe I am ready to move on now to a higher weight as the 8 kg feels at times like swinging a doll but am I looking for one that would help both with cardio and boosting muscle growth. The 24 kg and 32 kg seem more of a preferred choice among those who have experienced solid gains and developed transformations but I'm not sure if that is too big a leap.
“Beginner” has a very wide range of physical starting states, even if all people are equally new to kettle bells. As to brand, I think most are likely OK for 2 hand swings, but I can say for sure that Rogue is good.
swing, welcome to Strongest Greetings, last year I started with a 16 kg kettle bell ... I believe I am ready to move on now to a higher weight as the 8 kg feels at times like swinging a doll but am I looking for one that would help both with cardio and boosting muscle growth.
I am able to work the 40 kg on some moves (swings, goblets & TGU) but still use the 24 a lot. Obviously the selection of lifts should be thought through carefully (to avoid trauma) and training has to be planned.
I started my Strongest journey with the purchase of a 24 and a Kindle copy of Simple&Sinister. “Beginner” has a very wide range of physical starting states, even if all people are equally new to kettle bells.
It describes how to progress. As to brand, I think most are likely OK for 2 hand swings, but I can say for sure that Rogue is good. I purchased a used copy of Simple & Sinister from Casebooks and hope to receive it by early next week.
Best, swing, welcome to Strongest I take it you already own a 16 kg bell and if 8 kg is too light, why not just go with the 16 kg and continue progressing. Unfortunately I no longer have the 16 kg kettle bell as I returned it shortly after injuring my back.
I would consider buying another 16 kg but would prefer a weight that would stay challenging for a while and help with building muscle. When the book arrives, I will start incorporating the exercises in the program with the 8 kg to get a feel but plan on going forward with a heavier weight.
I do not think it is a mistake to invest in a small collection of Kettle bells from 8,16,24,32 at least (I have more), but the 32 gave me what the 24 never could, but I would not be there without the 16 and the 24. For hypertrophy, you need a heavier KB than whatever you're comfortably doing volume with now (progressive overload).
Set Simple as your objective goal & let the The come with it (Help Me Screw Things Up). My wife yelled at me when the FedEx guy was struggling up the driveway with double 32s.....
To add to the already good suggestions above, if you only want to do swing, and you really only can afford one kettle bell, the 24 should probably be your go-to bell for now. 16 will be outgrown very fast in most cases for men, unless you have existing medical conditions or are of very small build.
If you then cannot add more kettle bells, you can do the progression: dead lifts (to practice hinging, bracing, ..., you will get the drills in SAS), 2 hands swings, 1 hand swings, snatch (you may or may not need a lighter kettle bell to learn the snatch though). If you also want to do other moves that involve arm and shoulder muscles (TGU, press, ...), you will probably also need at least the 16, unless you are already quite strong.
I own and have used a selection of DragonDoor, Rogue, and Perform Better cast iron bells, and competition bells from Kettle bell Kings and Kettle bells USA (as well as briefly handling a number of other brands). They may be usable for two-arm swings, but none of them are comfortable. And I think chasing big bells for two arm swings is not an economic strategy, and not necessary to any training goals.
For overloading swings specifically, a T-handle (manufactured or DIY) is much more economical (and comfortable). New York Barbell has these TDS wide handle kettle bells for sale.
I haven't used one, so I can't speak to their fit and finish but the handles look wider than normal in the picture. The question I would be asking myself is... “have I corrected my form issues?” You said you screwed your back up with a 16 kg and poor technique so you bought a 8k.
You can get away with it with light weight but moving up to a 24 kg is just asking for more trouble if your form isn’t spot on.