Kettlebell or dumbbell swing is great for shaping a lean, toned, and firm physique with a focus on building strength, rather than muscle bulk.
It is fascinating to think of this exercise as one that’s created by the arms, but the power of movement comes from the legs, booty, and core.
The primary muscles acting in this exercise are your quads, glutes and hamstrings. They explosively extend the hips and push them forward, creating the power needed to swing the Kettlebell or dumbbell.
Although it is considered a hip-dominant exercise, the Kettlebell or dumbbell swing is actually a full-body movement. Your quads raise your knees to increase extra strength. The core and back muscles are attached to keep your torso stable and your spine in a neutral position. Your shoulder stabilizers engage in controlling the speed of the kettlebell or dumbbell.
These muscles also help reduce Kettlebell or dumbbell during the downswing, while maintaining control over the body.
Steps of Kettlebell or dumbbell swing
- Stand with your feet a little more than your hip distance apart, and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell between the knees.
- Keep the chest raised, hold that weight for dear life, and carefully start to let it move forward and backward to gain momentum.
- When you’re ready to start the set, exhale while swing the weight up to your shoulder height, and “snap” the booty forward by using glutes.
- Each time you swing up, breath out, and use the legs and the core to drive your movement.
- You may need a heavier weight, if you feel as if you need more control.
- Kettlebell or dumbbell swing is a hip-dominant exercise. Although the knees are slightly bent, they are only for riding. When you exercise, think about consciously bending the hips, not your knees.
- Kettlebell or dumbbell swing is a lower body exercise, not a shoulder exercise. The speed generated by the hips is enough to swings your Kettlebell or dumbbell. The arms help control your Kettlebell or dumbbell, but you should not pull it up. If you want to work the shoulders, do shoulder exercises.
- A loose core creates a sloppy Kettlebell or dumbbell swing and puts strain on the spine. Keep the core tight during your entire exercise, such as for a punch. Imagine that your upper body is in a plank position and your torso rests on the hips. This keeps your spine in the correct position and forces the glutes to work more than your lower back.
- You will notice that some people lift the Kettlebell or dumbbell upward during the swings. It is called the American Kettlebell or dumbbell swing. It recommend athletes avoid this change, as it puts additional pressure on the shoulders and spine. Remember, you are training the hips, not your shoulders.
- Your rhythmic nature of the Kettlebell or dumbbell swings makes it a wonderful step to improve the breathing technique. Take a deep diaphragm breath (through your abdomen) when the Kettlebell or dumbbell is low and exhale completely during the swings.
Benefits of Kettlebell or dumbbell swing
- It provide a super quick way to shed some pounds. A study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that the average person burns around 20 calories per minute during a standard Kettlebell workout, meaning you could burn 400 calories in a 20-minute workout! 1 A quick yet effective workout is the order of the day and Kettlebell or dumbbell swing training delivers.
- This functional exercise, Kettlebell or dumbbell swing training, can work out all the muscles that you use in everyday life, making daily activities easier, whilst also improving your posture. 2 3
- Bridges the gap between strength and cardio training; Sport and real life do not respect the difference.
- The exercise, all in one the total body conditioning tool, can be used for strength, endurance, flexibility and balance training (the four main aspects of fitness).This is definitely one of the biggest benefits of Kettlebell or dumbbell swing. It’s versatile and simplify things!
Try it out
Try following total body exercises to get heart rate up and burn more calories:
- Jumping rope or skipping rope
- Jumping lunge and kick
- Donkey hop to one leg reach
- Straight Bridge
- High knees
- Air jacks
- Nick Beltz, M.S., Dustin Erbes, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Ray Martinez, Ph.D., Scott Doberstein, M.S., and Carl Foster, Ph.D. “” Available from: https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/3172/ace-sponsored-research-study-kettlebells-kick-butt.
- Meigh NJ, Keogh JWL, Schram B, Hing W, Rathbone EN. “Effects of supervised high-intensity hardstyle kettlebell training on grip strength and health-related physical fitness in insufficiently active older adults: the BELL pragmatic controlled trial.” BMC Geriatr. 2022 Apr 22;22(1):354. doi: 10.1186/s12877-022-02958-z. PMID: 35459114; PMCID: PMC9026020.
- Meigh NJ, Keogh JWL, Schram B, Hing WA. “Kettlebell training in clinical practice: a scoping review.” BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2019 Sep 3;11:19. doi: 10.1186/s13102-019-0130-z. PMID: 31497302; PMCID: PMC6719359.