There are many benefits to the kettlebell swing. Not only is this exercise a great alternative to a traditional cardio routine, but it is also an exercise that burns a high amount of calories while also building muscle. Performed with the proper weight, kettlebell swings can burn upwards of 20 calories per minute while increasing your heart rate and breathing. They are a perfect match for interval training and will help boost your anaerobic capacity. They also strengthen the posterior chain and the core muscles. These swings incorporate the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back and do it in a functional manner and not through isolation like other machine exercises.
Kettlebell swings also help develop the musculature in the upper back and shoulders, especially when you bring the weight all the way overhead. If you have shoulder problems that limit your range of motion, go as far as you can without creating discomfort. Aside from all these benefits, this move is a great fat burner. Since this exercise produces such a metabolic disturbance (when done with a decent amount of weight), it works to boost resting energy expenditure (your metabolism) post workout.
This movement requires such little space and can provide you with the means to get in a great workout with only one piece of equipment. Mix in goblet squats, single arm rows, or some body weight pushups and you will have a killer total body workout.
Once you’ve got your kettlebell, follow these steps to do a kettlebell swing:
1. Begin in a lowered squat position, standing with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed slightly outward. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down, to avoid rounding your back.
2. Brushing your arms on your inner thighs, forcefully extend the knees and hips to accelerate the kettlebell up. Keep your arms straight while you project the kettlebell up and away from the body. Make sure to squeeze your glutes.
3. At the top position, the kettlebell should be nearly straight above your head or slightly forward. Try not to overextend the hips by keeping your core tight at the top.
4. Absorb the kettlebell weight as it follows the same path back to the starting position. Make sure to keep your arms straight the entire time.
5. Repeat immediately!
- Keep your weight on your heels through the movement
- Drive your butt back (remember to keep your back strong and your core tight) the key to this exercise is to hinge at the hips
- Keep your shoulder blades down and back
- Your going to want to try and use your arms and muscle through it but your power should come from your hips
- The most common mistake is the rounding of the back and not staying tall throughout the movement.
- The second mistake is an overextension of the hips and that leads to the arching of the back. You want to keep a neutral spine at the top.