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Kettlebell Swing Workout | Improve Whole-Body Conditioning

Updated: Feb 12

A guy completing a kettlebell swing workout.

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If you can find space in your weekly routine for this kettlebell swing workout expect enhanced muscular endurance and fitness conditioning. Also, because this workout features a few other functional kettlebell exercises, you’ll likely enjoy increased strength in all the major muscle groups.


But surely a workout organised around one exercise can’t conder all these benefits? It’s natural to think this, but you’d be mistaken for doing so. Here's why.


Kettlebell swing benefits

The kettlebell swing is a highly functional whole-body exercise that engages all the muscles of the posterior chain. In addition, there are a number of simple ways to modify the kettlebell swing which can compound its fitness-developing effectiveness.


As Pavel Tsatsouline tells us in his book, The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, the kettlebell 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.’


It’s because of the multifaceted way that kettlebell swings engage the body that renowned strength coach and former Olympic athlete Dan Jon created the 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge. The few people who have undertaken and completed the challenge, which involves performing 500 swings every day for 20 days, can attest to the many positive outcomes, some of which include:

  • Weight loss

  • Improved muscle tonality

  • Increased muscle endurance

  • Strength gain

  • Improve physical performance

  • There are more



Kettlebell swing workout benefits

This workout engages a wide range of muscle groups. For example, the kettlebell swing alone activates all the muscles of the posterior chain – hamstrings, glutes, lower back (erector spinae), lats, and traps – as well as a score of synergists.


Coupled with the other functional kettlebell exercises and cardio HIIT finisher, this is a true whole-body workout. So, if you’ve been searching for a training session that ticks all the fitness boxes, you need look no further.


Kettlebell swings for fat loss

One frequent reported benefit of the 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge was a reduction in fat mass and with it an increase in muscle definition. Yet, the challenge only involves kettlebell swings and a few low-intensity light resistance exercises.


This kettlebell swing workout, by contrast, features five additional kettlebell exercises all of which are big calorie-consuming movements. The fat-loss effectiveness of this workout is further compounded by the 10 high-intensity cardio intervals.


How to do this kettlebell swing workout

As with all Hungry4Fitness workouts and circuits, you have multiple options to choose from. The two options outlined below engage the body in different ways. For example, option one is designed to promote strength while option two will promote functional fitness. Here’s how to do them.


Gym workout

Option one is organised into a typical run-of-the-mill gym workout. The exercises in the session plan have been assigned a set and rep range. The range spans strength and muscle endurance training protocol – low sets/reps to high sets/reps respectively.


Of course, if you decide to train for strength the resistance should be high and the rest long. For muscle endurance simply reverse the methodology – low resistance and short rest.


AMRAP training

Option two is structured around the AMRAP training method. Instead of completing a specified number of sets and reps, as with option one, here you will be competing against the clock.


First, select the length of your AMRAP (2, 3, 4, or 5-minutes), and then try to amass as many reps as possible. AMRAP training is pure overload and thus the objective is to maintain the highest pace possible pace for the duration.


If you are new to AMRAP training it’s wise to set your sights on maintaining a methodical pace, perhaps even completing a pre-specified number of reps followed by a short rest.


It goes without saying that the weight should be low (between 30 to 60% of one-rep maximum) when working through an AMRAP – certainly for beginners and inexperienced trainers.


Kettlebell swing workout

Warm-up: 5-minute rowing at a steady pace. Concluding the pre-warm-up, complete the following row/kettlebell swing interval progression:


Set 1: 250-metres row / 10 kettlebell swings (50% max effort)

Set 2: 250-metres row / 10 kettlebell swings (60% max effort)

Set 3: 250-metres row / 10 kettlebell swings (70% max effort)

Set 4: 250-metres row / 10 kettlebell swings (80% max effort)


Kettlebell swing workout session plan.

 

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Kettlebell workout exercises

If you come across a kettlebell exercise in the workout that you are unfamiliar with, the key techniques have been outlined below.


Kettlebell swing

  1. Hold the kettlebell between your legs, palms facing inwards, feet a little over shoulder-width apart.

  2. Keeping the back straight pull the kettlebell between your legs

  3. Propel the kettlebell forward until it’s level with your shoulders.

  4. Allow the kettlebell to return to the start position and repeat.


Kettlebell squat

  1. Stand over a kettlebell adopting a neutral stance.

  2. Grasp the bell and stand up.

  3. Organise your position before squatting: feet in line, knees slightly bent, eyes fixed forward.

  4. Now perform a squat as you would with a barbell.


Kettlebell thruster

  1. Holding an upturned kettlebell in front of your chest, adopt a neutral stance.

  2. To initiate the thruster first perform a squat.

  3. Try to touch your forearms to your quads.

  4. Power out of the squat and push the kettlebell above your head.

  5. Pause momentarily before completing the next rep.


Single arm snatch

  1. Centre your mass over a kettlebell.

  2. Grasp the bell with one hand and pull it between your legs.

  3. Using the muscle of the posterior chain, propel the kettlebell forward.

  4. You must apply a lot of humph! to get the bell above your head.

  5. Arrest the bell directly above your head.

  6. Allowing gravity to do the work, let the kettlebell drop into the original start position.



 

About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at info@hungry4fitness.co.uk.

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