by: Yuri Elkaim

5 New Ways to Do A Kettlebell Swing Workout

Kettlebells are powerful chunks of iron that finally are getting the respect they deserve.

But if you haven’t used them before, you might wonder what makes them different than dumbbells or any other type of free weight.

It’s all about their maneuverability.

You can do so many things with kettlebells: they can be pressed, swung, snatched, cradled, and rowed. This makes them excellent for any type of interval work or HIIT workouts that require minimal rest between exercises, since you don’t have to waste time changing equipment.

That’s why they are an awesome tool for intense fat-burning and muscle-building workouts.

Just how excellent? Research shows that kettlebell workouts can burn up to 300 calories in just 20 minutes, while also increasing aerobic capacity in as little as four weeks (1, 2).

Combine this with the powerful metabolic effects of lifting a heavy kettlebell, and you can see why so many people do kettlebell swings for weight loss.

Kettlebell Swing Afterburn Effect

In fact, performing kettlebell exercises with a heavy kettlebell is almost a guarantee that you will burn even more fat, thanks to something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or “afterburn.”

Here’s how the afterburn effect works: during a workout you’re short of breath and feel an intense burn in your muscles, which is the result of depleted oxygen levels in your cells and the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles.

When you’re finished with your workout, your body has to work harder to restore these oxygen levels and clear out excess lactic acid – all of which increase post-exercise calorie burn, or the afterburn.

Nothing boosts afterburn like the intense interval-style training you can achieve with kettlebells.

In fact, studies have found a 4.2 percent boost in metabolism following high-intensity resistance workouts that resulted in “significantly elevated” fat oxidation over a 16-hour period (3).

If you’re ready to cash in on these fat-burning effects, check out the five new powerful kettlebell workouts below.

The Rack Position

kettlebell-rack-position

 

It’s essential to know how to properly rack your kettlebell against your palm and arm in order to safely perform many of these exercises.

This position is used to properly guide the movement of the kettlebell without straining the forearm and shoulders, especially during exercises like snatches and presses.

One mistake many beginners make with the racked position is “gripping” the handle from the top, creating unnecessary pressure on the forearm.

Instead, what you want to do is place the handle at the base of your palm, with your fingers behind the handle.

The kettlebell will be rotated roughly 45 degrees, and will “sit” on your forearm. However, you shouldn’t feel any uncomfortable pressure if your form is correct.

Russian Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell-swing

There are a lot of swings featured in these workouts, and you’ll notice they’re all Russian instead of American.

The main difference between a Russian kettlebell swing and American kettlebell swing is how far the arms swing. American swings go all the way over the top of your head, while Russian swings stop at shoulder height.

The reason I always perform Russian swings is, first and foremost, to protect the shoulder joints. Frankly, you should never do American swings if you care at all about your shoulders.

However, the Russian swing also has many other benefits you can read about here.

5 New Kettlebell Swing Workouts

Below are five variations of kettlebell swing workouts that will have you melting away fat and building lean muscle in record time. And don’t worry if you’re a beginner – I’ve also included beginner, intermediate, and advanced versions of each.

Warm Up

Don’t forget to perform a five-minute dynamic warm up (like this one) before jumping into any of these routines.

Proper Form

Focus on proper rack (as I discussed above) and body positioning during each of these exercises. Remember:

  • For swings, power comes from the hinge of the hips pushing forward as you come to standing – not from your shoulder joint.
  • Don’t lean back during swings or any other movement; this can put the spine in a vulnerable position.
  • Keep your core engaged at all times. This will increase your balance and build strength in your stability muscles.
  • Don’t hunch forward during any of these movements. Focus of keeping your head, neck, and spine in line at all times.

Now, let’s get to those workouts.

1. Fat-Burning HIIT Kettlebell Workout

This workout is a quick, fat-blasting workout that combines some of the most powerful kettlebell exercises for maximum burn.

Beginner: Begin with a 10- to 12-lb. kettlebell. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete 3 rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds.

Intermediate: Up your kettlebell weight to around 15 to 20 lbs. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete 3 rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds.

Advanced: Increase your weight even more, moving to a very challenging weight for you. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete 3 rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds.

The Workout:

  • Russian Kettlebell Swings (20-30 seconds)
  • Rest (10, 15, or 20 seconds)
  • Kettlebell Goblet Squats (20-30 seconds)
  • Rest (10, 15, or 20 seconds)
  • Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings (20-30 seconds)
  • Rest (10, 15, or 20 seconds)
  • Renegade Row (20-30 seconds)
  • Rest (10, 15, or 20 seconds)
  • Kettlebell Deadlifts (20-30 seconds)
  • One-minute rest

 

Exercises:

kettlebell-goblet-squat

KB Goblet Squat

kettlebell-1-arm-swing

KB Single-Arm Swing

db-renegade-row

Dumbbell Renegade Row

kettlebell-deadlift

Kettlebell Deadlift

2. Core-Strengthening Kettlebell Workout

This workout focuses on kettlebell exercises that build a strong core and stability muscles, which zip up your midsection into a tight corset of muscle.

Beginner: Begin with a lighter kettlebell weight of 10 to 12 lbs. Perform 2 sets of each exercise with 15 seconds of rest between each, then move on to the next exercise.

Intermediate: Up your kettlebell weight to around 15 to 20 lbs. Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 15 seconds of rest between each, then move on to the next exercise.

Advanced: Use a challenging kettlebell weight and lower your reps to 6 to 8. Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 15 seconds of rest between each, then move on to the next exercise.

The Workout:

kettlebell-single-leg-rear-deadlift

Kettlebell Rear Deadlifts

3. Full-Body Kettlebell Interval Workout

This workout is excellent for giving you a quick full-body and cardio workout using intervals.

Beginner: Begin with a 10- to 12-lb. kettlebell. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete 3-4 rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds.

Intermediate: Increase your kettlebell weight to around 15 to 20 lbs. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete 4 rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds.

Advanced: Choose a personally challenging kettlebell weight. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Complete 4 rounds, with a one-minute rest between rounds.

The Workout:

  • Russian Kettlebell Swings (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10-15 seconds)
  • Kettlebell Squat-to-Shoulder Press (20 seconds)
  • Rest (10-15 seconds)
  • Single-Arm Russian Kettlebell Swing (20 seconds)
  • One-minute rest.

4. Leg and Glute Sculpting Kettlebell Workout

Ready for tight glutes and strong, toned legs? Who isn’t, right? This glute and leg sculpting kettlebell workout will have your legs and butt burning during the workout, and you’ll love the post-workout results.

Beginner: Begin with a lighter kettlebell weight of 10 to 12 lbs. Perform 2 sets of each exercise with 15 seconds of rest between each, then move on to the next exercise.

Intermediate: Up your kettlebell weight to around 15 to 20 lbs. Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 15 seconds of rest between each, then move on to the next exercise.

Advanced: Increase your kettlebell weight to a challenging weight that allows you to be struggling to perform 6 to 8 reps. Perform 3 sets of each exercise with 15 seconds of rest between each, then move on to the next exercise.

  • Kettlebell Sumo Squat
  • Russian Kettlebell Swings
  • Kettlebell Deadlifts
  • Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings
  • Single-Leg Kettlebell Rear Deadlifts
  • Overhead Kettlebell Walking Lunge

5. Upper Body Kettlebell Circuit

While most kettlebell workouts give you a good upper body workout regardless of the movement, this one focuses intently on moves to sculpt your biceps, shoulders, back, and triceps.

Beginner: Begin with a lighter kettlebell weight of 10 to 12 lbs. Perform 3 rounds of all exercises, with a with a 10 second rest between exercises and one-minute rest between rounds. Perform 10-12 reps of each exercise.

Intermediate: Up your kettlebell weight to around 15 to 20 lbs. Perform 3 rounds of all exercises, with a with a 10 second rest between exercises and one-minute rest between rounds. Perform 10-12 reps of each exercise.

Advanced: Use a challenging kettlebell weight. Perform 3 to 4 rounds of all exercises, with a 10 second rest between exercises and one-minute rest between rounds. Perform 6-8 reps of each exercise.

The Workout:

Intensity is the Key

The first thing you’ll notice after completing these workouts? They’re pretty dang difficult!

However, it’s this type of intensity that’s going to change your body for good. Instead of wasting time doing a lot of half-there effort, you’ll be getting results in a shorter amount of time by going all out.

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Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim

Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.