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 kettle bell swing (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. Problem two: if your shoulder mobility isn’t ideal; you'll compensate by arching through the lower back.
You absolutely must maintain the stiffness through your torso over the life of your swing set. Ex says: This is a lower body move, and your arms shouldn’t be anything more than a lever for the bell.
You really need to think about two things when you are trying to explode the bell upwards: stand up and squeeze your glutes. 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 kettle bell swing 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.
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.
As mentioned, the kettle bell swing is a dynamic movement so caution needs to be exercised when selecting the right weight. You need to start with a basic movement skill called the hip hinge:
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).
The motion is then powerfully reversed, with the aim of projecting the hip girdle, and, as such the kettle bell, forward. The kettle bell should be vertical displaced to between hip and shoulder height, depending on the mass of the kettle bell, and swing exercise should be continued until the perceived “crispness” of the movement begins to decline. ( Lake and Lauder 2012)
To ensure that your weight distribution is correct you can practice a few kettlebellswings with your toes curled back towards you. 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. The harder and faster you drive your hips forwards the higher the kettle bell will want to go.
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.
If you want to generate the maximum amount of power then explode forwards with the hips and snap them to vertical. Here’s a drill to help improve your kettle bell swing form and hip snap:
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.
The lower erector spinal or external oblique was similarly activated on both sides during both swing exercises. Watch a video of the single arm kettle bell swing form below:
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.
The kettle bell is taken across the upper body rather than between the legs so you also need to be careful not to hit the front knee. I have found the following system very effective for knowing when to increase the weight safely:
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.
A 16-kilogram (35 lb) “competition kettle bell Arthur Saxon with a kettle bell, cover of The Text Book of Weight-Lifting (1910)The Russian girl (, plural girl) was a type of metal weight, primarily used to weigh crops in the 18th century. They began to be used for recreational and competition strength athletics in Russia and Europe in the late 19th century.
The birth of competitive kettle bell lifting or Gregory sport ( ) is dated to 1885, with the founding of the “Circle for Amateur Athletics” ( ). Russian girl are traditionally measured in weight by Food, corresponding to 16.38 kilograms (36.1 lb).
The English term kettle bell has been in use since the early 20th century. Similar weights used in Classical Greece were the halter, comparable to the modern kettle bell in terms of movements.
Variants of the kettle bell include bags filled with sand, water, or steel shot. By their nature, typical kettle bell exercises build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders, and increase grip strength.
The basic movements, such as the swing, snatch, and the clean and jerk, engage the entire body at once, and in a way that mimics real world activities such as shoveling or farm work. Unlike the exercises with dumbbells or barbells, kettle bell exercises involve large numbers of repetitions in the sport, and can also involve large reps in normal training.
Kettle bell exercises are in their nature holistic; therefore they work several muscles simultaneously and may be repeated continuously for several minutes or with short breaks. This combination makes the exercise partially aerobic and more similar to high-intensity interval training rather than to traditional weight lifting.
In a 2010 study, kettle bell enthusiasts performing a 20-minute snatch workout were measured to burn, on average, 13.6 calories/minute aerobically and 6.6 calories/minute anaerobically during the entire workout — “equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace”. When training with high repetitions, kettle bell progression should start out slowly to build muscle endurance, support the joints and prevent injury.
Like movements performed with any exercise tool, they can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems, or a weak core, when performed without proper education and progression. They can offer improved mobility, range of motion, agility, cardio vascular endurance, mental toughness and increased strength.
The following is a list of common exercises that are uniquely suited to the kettle bell for one reason or another. A kettle bell exercise that combines the lunge, bridge and side plank in a slow, controlled movement.
Keeping the arm holding the bell extended vertically, the athlete transitions from lying supine on the floor to standing, and back again. As with the other slow exercises (the windmill, get-up, and halo), this drill improves shoulder mobility and stabilization.
It starts lying on the ground with the kettle bell over the shoulder in a straight arm position, as in the top of a floor press, but with the other arm along the floor straight overhead. The trainee then gradually turns their body away from the kettle bell until they are lying partially on their front.
The kettle bell is held hanging in one arm and moved smoothly around the body, switching hands in front and behind. Also called a front leg pass, this is a backward lunge, circling the bell around the front leg, returning to the standing position, and repeating.
Like the slingshot, but the bell is swung forward until the arms are parallel to the ground. Starting with the bell in the rack, the bell is pushed away to the side slightly, the swung down to the other side in front of the body, and reversed back up into the rack.
A variation of the press where the other arm assists by pushing open palm against the ball. Stand on one leg and hold the kettle bell with the opposite arm.
By then lowering and raising the kettle bell you can work stabilization and power. A press utilizing a bent-leg windmill position to lift heavier weight than is otherwise possible.
One bell is rowed to the chest while maintaining the plank position, then returned to the ground and repeated with the other arm. Alternatively performed with a single kettle bell, one arm at a time.
This requires more control than an ordinary push up and results in a greater range of motion. Feet may be elevated to increase the difficulty, until the trainee is performing a handstand push-up on the kettle bells.
In any movement involving the rack or overhead position, the kettle bell can be held with the ball in an open palm (sometimes called the waiter hold) for a greater stabilization challenge, or for even more precise control and added grip challenge, the bottom-up hold, squeezing the kettle bell by the handle upside-down. Holding a single kettle bell in the rack position bottom-up with two hands (“by the horns”) makes for goblet exercise variants.
Conventional swing: The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell. Hang clean: The kettle bell is held in the rack position (resting on the forearm in the crook of the elbow, with the elbow against the chest), lowered to below the knees, and then thrust back up in to the rack.
The kettle bell is held in one hand, lowered to behind the knees via hip hinge, swung to an overhead position and held stable, before repeating the movement. Jerk: As a push press, but with two dips, for more leg assistance (as in the barbell clean and jerk) Thruster: A rack squat with a press at the top using momentum from the squat.
Pistol squat: A single-leg squat with one leg held straight in front parallel to the ground, holding the bell in the goblet or rack position. An easier variant for those with less hip mobility is to perform the squat parallel to a step or ledge, so that the foot of the free leg can dip beneath the pushing leg at the bottom.
Carry: Walking with the kettle bell held in various positions, such as suitcase, rack, goblet, or overhead. Row: While bent over anywhere from 45 degrees to parallel with the ground, the kettle bell is held hanging from a straight arm, pulled up to the hips or laterally, and lowered again.
Keeping the bell arm vertical, the upper body is bent to one side and rotated until the other hand is touching the floor. The single kettle bell version is called the suitcase walk.
These build grip strength while challenging your core, hips, back and traps. The kettle bell is swung from just below the groin to somewhere between the upper abdomen and shoulders, with arms straight or slightly bent, the degree of flexion depends on the trajectory of the kettle bell.
The key to a good kettle bell swing is effectively thrusting the hips, not bending too much at the knees, and sending the weight forwards, as opposed to squatting the weight up, or lifting with the arms. The one-arm swing presents a significant anti-twisting challenge, and can be used with an alternating catch switching between arms.
Within those variations there are plenty more variations, some are, but not limited to: pace, movement, speed, power, grip, the direction of thumb, elbow flexion, knee flexion. The kettle bell has more than 25 grips that can be employed, to provide variety, challenge different muscles, increase or decrease complexity, and work on proprioception.
Competitive lifter (Greek) performing jerk with 32 kg kettle bells (rack position). Contemporary kettle bell training is represented basically by five styles. Hard style has its roots in powerlifting and Gj-rykarate training, particularly hobo undo concepts.
With emphasis on the “hard” component and borrowing the concept of time, the Hard style focuses on strength and power and duality of relaxation and tension. Gregory, sometimes referred to as the fluid style in comparison to the Hard style, represents the training regimen for the competitive sport of kettle bell lifting, focusing on strength endurance.
Juggling is a training style where the practitioner releases and catches the kettle bell with all manner of spins and flips around the body. Kettle bell training is extremely broad and caters to many goals, some being, but not limited to: mobility, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and power.
The sport can be compared to what the CrossFit Games is to CrossFit, however, the sport has been much longer in existence, and is only recently gaining more popularity worldwide, with women participating as well. One such example being Valerie Wazowski, who at age 52, was the first US female lifter in the veteran age category to achieve Master of Sport in 24 kg Kettle bell Long Cycle.
^ , «» . « » “ ”, 22 August 2016 (with period photographs).
21 (1908), p. 505: “PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE USING SCHMIDT'S Celebrated 'MONARCH' DUMB-BELL, BAR BELL AND KETTLE BELL SYSTEM”; also spelled KETTLE-BELLS (with hyphen) in a 1910 advertisement for the “Automatic Exerciser”) ^ a b c Rathbone, Andy (2009-01-04). “The kettle bell way: Focused workouts mimic the movements of everyday activities”.
Blast Fat & Build Strength With Innovative Equipment!” Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 542-544 ^ a b Iv ill, Laura (2008-11-22).
“Exclusive ACE research examines the fitness benefits of kettle bells” (PDF). Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies 15 (2011): 125-127 ^ Kettle bell Swing Vs. High Pull”.
^ “The Kettle bell Clean, Stop Banging Your Wrists | The Complete Guide”. When I finally decided to purchase my first 16 kg kettle bell to see how this tool could possibly help me, I was blown away.
I was even more blown away when I took my first workshop taught by a phenomenal, high level ROC Instructor (Andrea Duane). Is this type of training really any different from a dumbbell or other gym exercises?” Every time I’m asked that question, I start to feel the passion build and I have to contain myself.
As Tracy Ranking, ROC and author of the great book The Swing puts it, it’s a two-for-one exercise. It combines the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning in one very powerful exercise.
Ballistics are fast, explosive movements, while grinds are slow and deliberate. This means you get total body strengthening and conditioning with one single tool.
Virtually every fitness goal you want could be accomplished with a kettle bell, but don’t mistake me saying that this is the only thing you should do. While I still use body weight exercises and barbell programs, kettle bells are an essential part of my training and what I teach today because they offer better results in less time.
This is something I feel very strong about as a former physical therapist, because kettle bells actually teach you to move in a way that is better, stronger, and safer. Unfortunately, many of us today lose some of our basic movements as a result of sedentary occupations and lifestyles.
That’s exactly what happens when we don’t move with full range of motion or become habituated to certain postures (like sitting all day at a computer). I’ve had many clients say how well they move and function again, after learning how to perform this exercise correctly.
The best way to get started is to find a certified instructor and get qualified instruction from the beginning, if you can. For total body strengthening and conditioning, kettle bells are definitely a very special fitness and performance training tool to incorporate into your program.
The kettle bell swing is a powerhouse when it relates to burning fat, building muscles, and improving your cardiovascular system. Burn a bunch of calories Studies#1 The American Council on Exercise (ACE), researchers found that a kettle bell workout can burn up to 20 calories a minute (1).
This means that a 20-minute kettle bell workout could burn up to 400 calories. The participants would use a 16 kg (35lbs) kettle bell to complete the workout.
They were told to go at their own pace and take as much rest as they needed. The subjects completed an average of 265 swings in the 12-minute workout.
Using a metabolic cart, researchers found that the participants burned an average of 160 calories in the 12 minutes, an average of 22 swings per minute (2). The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn (assuming all other variables are equal).
Obviously, the heavier the kettle bell, the more calories you will burn (assuming all other variables are equal). The subjects completed an average of 22 swings per minute.
It is fair to say that not everyone will burn an average of 20 calories per minute, like in the Ace study. But that doesn’t mean everyone will only burn 160 calories in 12-minutes, like in this study.
There are too many variables that determine how many calories a person could burn for any given activity. Age Weight Gender Activity level Your lean body mass (more LBM equals more calories burned) Your metabolic rate
Full body workout The Kettle bell swing works your core, back, shoulders, hamstring, quads, glutes, forearms, and chest. Move that shit as fast as you can (while keeping control) for 3 to 5 sets of 1 to 5 reps.
The Kettle bell swing used in high-intensity workouts such as HIIT AND Tabatha will increase your anaerobic (without oxygen) capacity. Aerobic capacity is the ability of your body to transport and use the oxygen you breathe.
If you ever have felt out of breath after just 3 or 4 minutes of jogging, then you need to increase your aerobic capacity. Your heart and lungs will curse the day you were born, but you’ll improve your aerobic capacity.
A lot of people use their arms too much to perform the swing. Kettle bell swing workout # 2 Kettlebellswings from hell
The last time I completed this challenge, I lost 8 pounds in the first seven days. The prescribed kettle bell weight for this challenge is: For women-16 kilos or 35 pounds.
If you are feeling brave, you can perform this workout a few more times. Just make sure you rest an adequate amount of time between workouts.
The kettle bell swing is a serious way to pack on muscle, increase your strength and cardiovascular endurance, while burning a shit ton of calories. They are an excellent way to get your workout on and kick some ass in the least amount of time possible and without having to leave the comfort of your home.
You can buy a kettle bell anywhere, from sporting goods stores, Amazon, and even Walmart. If you are unsure of which brand to buy, We own two CAP kettle bells.
I have done multiple 10,000 kettlebellswings challenges, and these kettle bells have withstood all the abuse. If you are looking to make your glutes firmer and stronger, check out our two moves for a stronger butt, where you’ll find two workouts that can be performed at home and without any equipment!
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