Kettlebell swings are one of my favorite exercises for both building muscle and losing weight. Kettlebell swings produce truly incredible results, which is why I use them all year long.
Kettlebell training has become more and more popular over the last five years, and its results speak for itself.
The beauty of kettlebell training is that it maintains overall fitness while also increasing your strength, aerobic/anaerobic conditioning and power. Kettlebell swings improve total-body conditioning, making it an invaluable exercise in many ways.
The metabolic demands of the exercise itself burn a large number of calories in a very short amount of time, and your overall endurance will increase for any activity.
Want to learn more about the weight loss results you can expect from doing kettlebell swings?
Keep reading below!
Kettlebell Swings for Weight Loss – Are They Effective?
KB swings are an excellent weight loss exercise because they stimulate multiple muscles at one time, are safe to perform, and are easily added to numerous different training programs. Compared with other “full-body” exercises, one of the most important features of training the kettlebell swing is that it involves fewer risks for your lower back and fewer injuries overall.
Kettlebell swings do not have an “eccentric” or controlled-lowering phase, which greatly reduces the likelihood you will injure yourself.
You’re not going to lose much weight if you are interested! The weight loss exercises you choose need to produce long-term results, not work for a short time and then injure you.
Of course, it is possible to injure yourself if you do not even attempt to have good form, but the swings are easy to learn.
Along with this, another important aspect of this movement is that you are far less likely to experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), since there is no contraction being made to stabilize the negative portion of each rep!
All kettlebell exercises can be performed at a quicker pace than nearly every dumbbell or barbell exercise, helping to provide cardiovascular elements as well as others. Kettlebell swings alone can provide the benefit of 5-6 other exercises!
Honestly, it is the most efficient-compound movement in the entire world.
How to Perform the Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is composed of two movements. The first being a hip hinge, and the second is a “lockout” phase.
Similar to the starting position of a deadlift, the first hip hinge is performed by sitting back into your hips and maintaining a neutral spine position.
This neutral spine position is vital for squatting and deadlifting properly. One of the benefits of the kettlebell swing is that it can help ingrain this movement almost immediately!
As you hinge and sit at your hips, the kettlebell gets pulled between your legs.
The second movement is the lockout, where you now snap your hips and stand up with your abs braced. During this part of the movement, your quadriceps and gluteus squeeze; as your hamstrings, gluteus and lower back power the weight upwards.
These are the two main movements of the kettlebell swing. Pretty simple, right?
You can check out this video below to see an example of the movement. The video demonstrates an advanced version of the movement, so don’t try this on your first day!
If you are looking to lose weight and develop an aesthetic body, this advanced kettlebell swing is a great challenge!
What Results Does Training the Kettlebell Swing Provide?
The main reason to perform KB swings is that it immediately conditions your entire body.
From your first set of KB swings you will begin to:
- Increase your metabolism.
- Burn a large number of calories in a short amount of time.
- Improve anaerobic and aerobic endurance.
- Increase work capacity.
- Build lean muscle mass.
- Improve physical strength.
One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that kettlebell swings perform comparatively with treadmill training for burning calories in research trials.
The study is significant because unlike treadmill training, performing kettlebell swings offers a diverse set of other benefits as well. Treadmill training offers little other than base-aerobic conditioning and calorie burning, so it is an inefficient exercise overall.
Since KB swings burn a similar number of calories as treadmill training in a short-term time frame, the difference over the course of years will be immense!
KB training will produce results greater than most other types of training, and research proves it!
Kettlebell swings can act as your:
- Cardiovascular conditioning training
- Strength training
- Explosive power or vertical jump training
- Metabolic conditioning
All in one!
Kettlebell swings are a do-everything exercise, and they are safe as well. After you learn the basics of the movement, you can freely work up to heavier weights!
If you are looking for weight loss solutions, the KB swing should be a part of many of your workouts!
Additional Benefits of Doing Kettlebell Swings
In some circles of strength and conditioning minds, the kettlebell swing has even been named the new “King of Exercises,” dethroning the squat and deadlift (your preference between these two).
The main reason that it has become so beloved is that it is simple to learn, multidimensional, and it doesn’t waste time!
Check out these benefits of the kettlebell swing!
Total Body Training
The kettlebell swing touches nearly every muscle in your body, including your:
- Deltoids (shoulders)
- Abdominals and core muscles
- Lower back muscles
The kb swing challenges a lot of different muscle groups, but your forearms will probably be the first to fail when you are doing them! Believe it or not, I think that this movement is as good of a forearm and grip strength exercise as thick bar training!
Even with a 30lb kettlebell, your forearms will be on fire after only a few high-rep sets.
Personally, I opt for the single-arm kettlebell swing more often than the 2-handed version, since it is more demanding on shoulder stability. For the last five years, I have played basketball with a torn labrum in my shoulder, and I need all the stability work I can get!
Single-arm kettlebell swings act as a form of “rhythmic stabilization” for the shoulder joint. This is a great exercise for shoulder stability because the shoulder doesn’t have to stabilize just a stationary force, but a moving one!
You can checkout an example of the single-arm kettlebell swing below:
This movement works a lot of the major muscle groups, but you will be surprised how much it works for the smaller muscle groups as well!
Improves Your Core Muscles
Kettlebell swings have a nature that compels your core to become engaged more intensely than almost all direct “ab” movements. Instead of doing crunches, you can do kettlebell swings to get a six pack and improve your core strength!
Stabilizing a moving weight through a large range of motion has a tremendous effect on your core strength, linking your upper and lower body together more than ever. Your core provides support for your spine, and when your brain notices that your core is trying to stabilize, you will be able to generate more power.
This increase in overall body strength and power will ultimately help you improve on other lifts as well!
Safe and Effective
The kettlebell swing generally involves lighter loads than other compound exercises, leading to less risk of injuries. Squats and deadlifts cause numerous injuries each year because people do not learn the technique properly.
The kettlebell swing is a perfect alternative for people who do not want to risk injuring themselves with these exercises.
Along with this, the kettlebell swing trains nearly the exact movement patterns of both of these exercises. It is a viable replacement in nearly every way.
Improves Your Posture
Even world-renowned Spinal Biomechanics professors have discovered that the kettlebell swing is capable of reversing the posterior strain on discs in the lower back and improving your posture.
While performing the kettlebell swing, the lower back opens up gently. By doing so, it allows for a natural lengthening and aligning of your spine, improving your posture, and easing back pain.
As a society who spends so much time sitting at a desk or chair during daily life, this is invaluable. The kettlebell swing is also one of the best posterior chain exercises, so it strengthens the important muscles of your core and back which help you sit, stand, and move with better posture all day.
When you go to perform your KB swings, you will effectively strengthen and stretch your tendons and stabilize muscles of your legs and back.
The kettlebell swing targets the neglected piriformis and IT bands, and with this natural stretching, you will be able to promote a higher level of flexibility in your hip.
A tight set of hips and piriformis muscle will lead anyone to lower-back pain, regardless of your level of athleticism. Don’t let this happen to you!
You can easily fight against this by practicing the kb swing regularly.
Concluding Thoughts – Using KB Swings for Weight Loss
I was first introduced to kettlebell swings the summer before I left for college. Since then, they have never left my workout program.
I knew after my first day of kettlebell training that it was a great idea!
Many exercises engage large parts of your body and build muscle mass, strength, or power on their own; but none compare to this exercise.
A few solid weeks of kettlebell swing training will bring you the results you are looking for. It will stabilize your shoulders, strengthen your grip, create a rock-solid core, and leave you with more internal physical power than ever before!
Read Next: Best Kettlebell Exercises for Abs