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kettlebell swings muscles worked

The Effective Way To Train The Kettlebell Swing Exercise

Written by Vitruve Team

3 June, 2022

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Quick overview: Over the past decade, Kettlebell swings have grown in popularity as a fast-moving full-body exercise. Initially, they were used to measure the weight of various goods, but they were later used in strength competitions. Today, they are popular in gymnastics such as CrossFit and athletic training programs. Because they are simple and easy to use, they are often included in the average high-intensity exercise program. In this article, you’ll know everything you need to know about the Kettlebell swing exercise.

What Is Kettlebell Swing Exercise?

The kettlebell swing also called KB swing — is a type of workout that involves holding the weight of the kettlebell and swinging that weight in front of the body and back with the legs. In the case of a kettlebell swing, the arms act as a pendulum string and a kettlebell as the ball. Basic ballistic exercises are used in KB to train the back chain like a broad jump. It involves moving the bell in the same way as the pendulum does- from between the knees to anywhere between the level of the upper extremity. It can be done with both hands or with one hand. Kettlebell Swing is based on a deadlift movement pattern and strikes almost every muscle in the body, especially that of the back chain leading to a stronger back and hips. If you only had time to do one kettlebell exercise then KB swings would be a fine choice.

The Scientific Analysis of Kettlebell Swing Exercise

According to research, the Kettlebell swing uses the back muscles throughout the movement, as they are the main muscles that are involved in the initial phase of the swing. A key finding in the analysis of carrying a kettlebell was an increase in muscle activity in the “lower-upper” area.  Therefore, it was found that average muscle activation was significantly higher at low-rise loads than in the affected area. As a result, the combined pressure and cutting force were also very high in the lower-upper area. The researchers determined that the bottom-up position required higher degrees of grip strength. Researchers also conducted a case study on the kettlebell ring of Russian kettlebell king Pavel Tsatsouline. He swung a 32kg kettlebell for testing. It was noted that Tsatsouline tightened his hips with force at each swing which leads to greater strength. Moreover, based on the research this technique is not suggested for those with lower back issues due to the speed at which the spine moves.

The researchers also concluded that the relationship between the forces of the spine was significantly different from kettlebell rotation than traditional strength exercises such as deadlifting or squatting. The kettlebell swing has very high cut-off strength so athletes with insufficient movement patterns or bad habits of letting their spine move while under load can find the kettlebell swing more painful than traditional lifting. On the other hand, researchers have noted that the fast-moving circles of the muscles and the rest of the body need to do more focused and unusual swing exercises that can be beneficial in a variety of sports.

Benefits of Kettlebell Swing Exercise

There are many benefits to Kettlebell swings, including:

  • Enhanced cardio-respiratory fitness
  • Provide a stronger posterior chain
  • Greater explosiveness and power
  • Full-body workout
  • Stronger calorie burn
  • Rapid and suitable exercise
  • Low impact exercise
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Improved muscular power
  • Greater aerobic capacity

Kettlebell swings, in particular, can help build resilience. Developing explosions is important for athletes who participate in specific sports. Among them are football, basketball,  track and field. Because the kettlebell swing requires continuous movement, it can also accelerate fat loss. It raises the heart rate, making it a workout for cardio and strength combined.

When performing a kettlebell swing, it should be kept in mind to focus on hips hinging during the lowering phase, which will help build up power to perform the move safely and effectively.

Opting the Correct Kettlebell Swing Starting Weight

As mentioned earlier, the kettlebell swing is a dynamic movement exercise so caution should be exercised when choosing the right weight. If you choose too much weight you risk overloading your kettlebell skeletal muscles and ligaments too quickly and risk injury. However, if you start to get too lightweight the kettlebell will not provide enough fullness throughout your body and thus will not force any adjustment consequently. Here are the kettlebell starters weights that are usually recommended for both women and men respectively:

  • Women – 8kg / 15lbs or for athletic women 12kg / 25lbs.
  • Men – 12kg / 25lbs or for athletic men 16kg / 35lbs.

Can You Build Muscle With Kettlebell Swings?

The kettlebell swing is not a muscle-building activity but will add energy and condition to many muscles in your body, especially the buttock muscles, hamstring muscles, and back muscles.

How Does Kettlebell Swing Exercise Work On Muscles?

 The kettlebell swing exercise works on many muscle groups. As you hold the weight with your arms, it activates the various muscles in the upper body.  Kettlebell swings work your entire posterior chain in one fell swoop. This series of large muscles run from your neck to the heels on the back of your body, including upper and lower body muscles like your:

  • Forearms
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings muscles
  • Calves
  • Deltoids
  • Erector spinae
  • Trapezius (traps)
  • Rhomboids

Alleviating during exercise also requires the use of your spine. Stomachs and lats work together to provide control and help support the movement of the swing. Some muscles other than those mentioned above working on the kettlebell swing can be found in the back chain. These include the gluteus maximus (the gluteus muscle), the erector spinae, and the hamstring muscles. All in all, a kettlebell swing is a perfect exercise routine. It can be used as part of both the upper body and the lower extremity.

The Bottom Line

Kettlebell Swing has several benefits, such as improved cardiovascular fitness, strength, and stamina. They are also a powerful but low-impact exercise that can burn tons of calories in a short period, making them ideal for anyone with a busy schedule. If you are planning to add kettlebell swings to your workout, make sure you exercise in the right form for maximum benefits. Whether you are bored with your current workout or want an improvement in strength, you will want to give kettlebell swings a try.

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Sports Science Degree. Crossfit trainer, in love with weightlifting and digital marketing

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