The king of exercises. Long live the king!
The Kettlebell Swing has been called “the perfect exercise” by many of its most ardent fans. It burns a bunch of calories, sculpts the body, melts fat, builds muscle, improves posture, decreases lower back pain, and improves endurance. That’s pretty much everything that anyone interested in fitness wants to get done! It’s hard to argue with the success of this particular exercise, which is low enough impact to be safe even for beginners.
The practice of using kettlebells (in lore at least) goes back to Russian marketplaces, where farmers and merchants would swing around the counterweights that they used to measure goods. The practice is believed to be hundreds of years old, but no one knows for certain.
In recent years, Kettlebell Swings have become increasingly popular for their ability to build muscle mass in a fun and new way. This exotic exercise was at first mainly used by athletes who were training for competition, but through word of mouth and positive results, the kettlebell has become synonymous with people who are serious about building muscle mass.
Obviously kettlebells are an essential piece of equipment for this exercise. Avoid the temptation to use a free weight or a bag, as this is an exercise that requires the right kind of equipment to prevent injury. You might throw something through a wall or drop it if you don’t use the right stuff.
It all starts with choosing the weight that’s right for you. If you’re new to this, start out with a weight that’s lighter than what you think you need. You can always go up. Women generally do well starting around 12 pounds and men with no more than 25. Again, you can always go up.
To do a Kettlebell Swing, the steps are simple.
- Start with feet hip’s distance apart. Toes should be pointed slightly outward.
- Hold the kettlebell with both hands at midline, between your feet.
- Pull the shoulders back and down to keep from hunching.
- Lift the kettlebell about six inches off the floor. Brushing your arms against the inner portions of your thighs, extend your legs to help propel the weight up, arms straight as they move away from your body.
- At the top, the kettlebell should be nearly above your head and a little forward.
- Continue holding control as the weight goes back down the same path it went to the starting position. Arms should always remain straight.
- Repeat as soon as you reach the down point.
That’s a lot of explanation for a very simple exercise. However, form is important for working with kettlebells as the weight is significant and injuries can happen!
Why Kettlebell Swings Are Effective
The effectiveness of the Kettlebell Swing is undisputed.
Kettlebell Swings can improve the following areas.
- Muscle endurance
- Anaerobic capacity
- Aerobic capacity
- Full body training
Variations on the Kettlebell Swing can effectively target specific areas of the body, improve balance, and help to foster even development of muscle groups. The Single Arm Swing, One or Two Kettlebell Double Arm Swing, High Swing, Squat Style Swing, and Suitcase Swing are just a few variations.
Whether it’s in a class setting, a gym setting, or at home, getting into the swing of fitness with Kettlebell Swings is a fantastic way to get a whole body workout.