Kettlebell Swing Exercises To Burn Fat and Build Muscle

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Are you tired of the old style cardio workouts involving running endlessly and cycling to nowhere? Have you ever thought about using kettlebells or more specifically, using kettlebell swings? I don’t know about you but it would definitely make me happy, because I hate conventional cardio workouts and I honestly have not found them to be a great fat burning solution. In fact, one of the major reasons for the growth in the popularity of kettlebells, is the fact that they are a great fat loss tool to use!

A great alternative to traditional cardio, is a kettlebell exercise called swings. Do you find this hard to believe? Well, take a 5-10 pound kettlebell and do 200 reps in under 12 minutes and see for yourself what I mean! Get back to me if you can do it and do not feel that it made your heart beat faster than light jogging or cycling.

How To Perform a Kettlebell Swing:

  1. Place one kettlebell between your feet.
  2. Push back with your butt and bend your knees to get into the starting position. Make sure that your back is flat and look straight ahead.
  3. Swing the kettlebell between your legs forcefully.
  4. Reverse the direction and drive though with your hips bringing the kettlebell up to the chest level.
  5. Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat.
  6. Breathe out as you swing the kettlebell out and breathe in as the kettlebell swings between your legs. Look straight ahead at all times.

kettlebell-swingsNow that you have the form down for this wonderful exercise, we will now figure out how to incorporate it into your workout regime. Let me first tell you, do not think for even a second that you should do it with the same frequency as your morning daily walks. Swings are an intense exercise and if you do them everyday, it will cause serious overtraining and could cause overuse injuries. Do not do a high repetition kettlebell swings program more than every other day. In fact, two sessions a week would be ideal for beginners.

Ideally, kettlebell swings should work your glutes and hamstrings the most. It should not be taxing on your lower back. However, when you begin with this exercise for the first time, you will probably work your lower back quite a bit. It’s all right initially and with time you will get better and use your legs and glutes properly instead of the lower back.

If you are following a regular 3 day per week weight training program, then do the kettlebell swings workout on two days of the week when you do not weight train. Take a 10-20 pound kettlebell and do this exercise. Here are the sets and reps scheme that you can follow:

Beginner:

  • 10 sets of 10 reps with 45 seconds break.
  • Work down to 15-30 seconds rest between sets.

After 4 Weeks:

  • 10 sets of 20 reps with 45 seconds rest.
  • Work down to 15-30 seconds rest between sets.

As you progress, add more reps to each set while decreasing the rest periods. You can also use a heavier kettlebell to increase the intensity instead of always increasing the reps. So now go and get swinging as you have a tough battle ahead against a seasoned enemy, which is called body fat.

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About Author

Arnav Sarkar

Arnav is a strength and fitness instructor based in India. He has completed his gym instructor certification from the American Council on Exercise (ACE). See my profile page for more information!

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    i do 10 sets of two arm kettlbell swing, each set lasts 60 seconds with 40 swings and then 60 seconds rest, I use a 12kg kettlbell. Am I doing this correctly? I have also done the same amount of exercise with a 14kg kettlbell. With the 12kg kettlbell, on the 10th set I’ve recently been doing 120 seconds with 80 swings so that’s 9 sets of 40 swings and the 10th set 80 swings in 120 seconds non stop.

    • shapefit

      Harvey – This sounds like a really tough workout. If anything, you may want to increase your rest period from 1 minute to 2-3 minutes to fully recover. You can really setup your workout any way you would like as long as it feels go to you. I would not recommend going over 45 minutes for your total kettlebell workout.

  2. Avatar

    I have read on other websites to do the kettlebell swings everyday, I dont do any other exercise other than walking so how many swings should I do a day to see results?

    • shapefit

      Tracey – It’s not recommended to perform kettlebell swings every single day. It’s important to allow your muscles to recover from workouts. Shoot for 4-6 sets of 15-20 reps when doing swings and add them to a few other kettlebell exercises to create a well rounded routine. A 3-day per week workout schedule works well (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) but take more time if you’re very sore.

      • Avatar

        Hey thanks for the reply 🙂 So with a 3-day per week kettlebell workout it will help me see results? I’m just looking to tone up and possibly lose a little weight. I understand about muscles needing to rest as I have a pretty sore hamstring muscle today! Maybe some more rest is a good idea! Great advice and great article 🙂

        • shapefit

          Tracey – Including kettlebell workouts 3 days per week will definitely help but also make sure to watch your diet and include some cardio exercise which will be the most important factors for toning up, losing body fat and achieving a lean physique.

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