Although the kettlebell isn’t seen very commonly in most United States gyms, the kettlebell swing is nonetheless a great exercise that can help to work a wide variety of different muscle groups. Unlike other exercises, it also provides good cardiovascular work as well, thereby helping to improve overall fitness too.
The kettlebell was first popularized by Russian athletes and has only recently been adopted by western trainers. A kettlebell swing is a simple exercise that strengthens the back muscles, the glutes, the hamstrings and more. It also provides a solid foundation for abdominal muscle work as well. Best of all, many people use it to boost their heart rate for the purpose of overall fitness training.
The full kettlebell swing involves your holding of the kettlebell with both hands. Grip onto both handles of the ball and carefully lift it up. Be sure to lift with your legs and not with your back as you do this, as this can help to prevent potential injury. Stand upright with the kettlebell held in between your legs. This is the basic rest position for the exercise.
To execute the full kettlebell swing, use your hips, abdominal muscles and glute muscles to propel the kettlebell up and away from your body. Hold on tightly with both hands as you do so. The ball should reach a level approximately even with your head. Carefully control the piece of equipment as it falls back down, and cradle it in between your legs once again. This constitutes a single repetition of the exercise.
Safety and Injury Prevention
Any exercise involving a kettlebell has the potential to be dangerous. These items are heavy and cumbersome and may easily cause a broken toe or foot if dropped. Additionally, this particular exercise puts your waist, hips and legs at risk as well. For this reason, it’s a good idea to begin the exercise with lighter kettlebells so that you can be sure of your ability to adequately control the weight. Only when you’re feeling secure in your preparation should you move up to the heavier kettlebell. This will allow you to control yourself and reduce the risk of injury.
There are a number of alternative forms of the kettlebell swing that you can incorporate as well. Side swings are a good way to increase the mobility that you use as you work with the kettlebell. Additionally, you can do a partial kettlebell swing which only involves a limited range of motion. If you’re not secure with your ability to properly handle the kettlebell, it’s also popular to hold the kettlebell in only one hand before you execute the full swing. Be careful, however, as this is more dangerous than the standard exercise that was outlined above.