Few singular exercises train the body as effectively and inclusively as the kettlebell swing. And those exercises that do require considerable technical expertise to perform. Unlike more complex multi-joint movements, such as the clean or thruster, the kettlebell swing can be mastered by a complete novice in just one short session.
Yet, for its technical simplicity and surprisingly limited range of movement, the kettlebell swing is a brilliant whole-body muscular endurance and strength developer. In his book The Russian Kettlebell Challenge Pavel Tsatsouline cites a 1920s weightlifting champion as having said that the swing: ‘brings into action and develops practically every group of muscles on the back of your body and legs, and a good many others besides . . . If you have time on your schedule for only one back exercise, make it this one . . .’
Tsatsouline himself likens the swing to a physical altercation with a Russian bear because, after a good hundred reps, your muscles feel as though they’ve been torn to shreds (that’s a good thing by the way).
If you decide to become a regular swinger you’ll develop superior grip, core and pelvic thrusting strength whilst enhancing your physical functionality – for few exercises force you to fight to maintain correct posture and foot positioning.
But, you’d be forgiven for asking, how can swinging a steel ball between your legs confer so many physical benefits?
The kettlebell swing achieves these many physical payoffs through the activation of multiple large muscle groups.
For example, when swinging the primary muscle groups engaged include the gluteus maximus – the larges skeletal muscle – the muscles of the trunk – which include the transverse abdominus and rectus abdominus – and a whole host of anterior muscles – erector spinae and latissimus dorsi, to name the most prominent.
This, I think you’ll agree, is an impressive range of muscle groups. Especially considering that they are all simultaneously activated when performing one simple exercise.
Do You Dare Pit Yourself Against The 10,000 repetition Kettlebell Swing Challenge?
However, the number of muscles us