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Kettlebell Swing What are the benefits?

In the last decade, kettlebell swings have gained popularity as a fast-paced, full-body exercise.

Originating in Russia, kettlebells (called girya in Russian) are associated with great power and strength. Originally used to measure the weight of various goods, they were eventually used in strength competitions.

Today, they are popular in training programs such as CrossFit and athletic training programs. Because they are convenient and relatively simple to use, they are also commonly included in high-intensity exercise plans for the average person.

In this article we explain the benefits of kettlebell swings, the muscles they work, how to perform them correctly and the most common mistakes to avoid.

Swings are one of the many exercises that can be performed with a kettlebell. This type of free weight resembles a cannonball with a handle and is usually made of cast iron or steel.

Kettlebells come in a variety of sizes and can be used for presses, cleans, swings, curls…really any movement you can do with dumbbells or a barbell.

The kettlebell swing is believed to have originated in 18th century Russia, where people started lifting counterweights for fun. You’ll often find kettlebells measured in Russian poods (~16 kilograms or 36 pounds), and the classic kettlebell swing is also known as the Russian kettlebell swing.

Kettlebell swings are considered a total body workout because they target the muscles of the upper and lower body, as well as the core.

In particular, kettlebell swings target the muscles of the posterior chain, including the

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Spinal erectors
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids

You may also notice some activation of the abdominals the quadriceps, anterior deltoids, pectorals and forearm muscles, which are considered part of the anterior chain (front of the body). In addition, they can help improve your grip strength.

Beneficios del Swing con kettlebell.

If you are looking for a specific exercise that offers you a lot with very little, here are the benefits that can bring you to include the Swings in your training routine:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory capacity. Kettlebells involve the whole body, which requires the heart to beat faster to pump blood throughout the body.
  • Posterior chain strengthening. Unlike many exercises that focus on the front of the body, kettlebell swings target the upper and lower back, glutes and hamstrings, collectively known as the posterior chain.
  • Increased explosiveness and power. Kettlebell swings require a great deal of strength development and activation of the posterior chain muscles, which can improve your overall fitness, performance and power.
  • Total body workout. Swings utilize the upper body, core and lower body for an excellent total body workout.
  • Powerful calorie burn. Kettlebell workouts are high intensity and can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. And it can burn more calories after the workout due to post-exercise oxygen consumption, which is a temporary increase in metabolism to support recovery.
  • Fast and comfortable exercise. Most kettlebell workouts can be completed in as little as 10-15 minutes and only require one kettlebell to get started.
  • Low-impact exercise. Kettlebells keep the feet planted on the ground, which reduces force and pressure on the knees. For some people, this may be a better option for getting the core pumping than higher-impact exercises, such as jump training.
Elegir el peso adecuado para realizar el swing ruso.

Choosing the right kettlebell weight will depend on your strength and experience.

If you are a beginner, it is best to choose a lighter kettlebell. This will allow you to practice the swinging motion with proper form.

Although there are many weights available, most beginners will want to start with a kettlebell that weighs between 10 and 18 pounds (4.5-8.0 kg). You can also purchase kettlebells of a lighter weight (e.g., 5 pounds or 2.25 kg), if you need to.

As you improve your fitness and get stronger, you may want to increase the weight of your kettlebell. Depending on your level of experience and strength, you may choose a heavier kettlebell that weighs between 18 and 70 pounds (8-32 kg).

To get the most out of your workout and reduce the risk of injury, it’s important to learn how to properly swing a kettlebell. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a kettlebell with both hands (palms facing you) and arms straight down.
  • Inhale and push your hips back (hinge your hips) and bend your knees slightly to bring the kettlebell between your legs. Be sure to keep your back straight and activate your core.
  • Exhale, contract your glutes and push your hips forward to raise your body to a standing position. Let your arms swing the kettlebell as far as it will naturally go. The goal is to reach shoulder height or a position parallel to the floor, although you should not use arm strength to lift the kettlebell. You may need several movements to find your rhythm and maximize the lift.
  • Inhale and lower the kettlebell between your legs by pushing your hips back and bending your knees slightly. This is 1 repetition.
  • Perform 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps, or continue for as long as you prefer (for example, as many as you can do in 5 minutes).
Entrenamiento de Swing con kettlebells o pesas rusas.
  • Start strength training. Add kettlebell exercises to a twice-weekly weight lifting plan. Start with 2-3 sets of 10 reps. As you become more comfortable with the movement, you can add more reps.
  • Try HIIT. Perform kettlebell swings for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat up to 8 sets and you have a HIIT routine.
  • Add it to your warm-up. You can also use lighter weights (kettlebells come in 4kg increments) as a warm-up or activation exercise before other lifting routines.
Errores comunes a la hora de hacer el swing ruso.

While kettlebell swings can be an effective and safe exercise, these common mistakes can slow down your results and potentially lead to injury:

  • Lifting with your arms. Lower body strength and momentum should propel the kettlebell upward. The arms should only guide the kettlebell, not do the heavy lifting.
  • Rounding the back. Avoid rounding the back and shoulders during the lowering phase, as this can place excessive strain on the lower back. This requires keeping the upper back and shoulder muscles strong to resist the pull of gravity.
  • Squatting. The kettlebell swing relies on a hip motion to swing the kettlebell up and in front of your body. Squatting puts more focus on your quads and produces less power.
  • Bending your knees too much. This can result in a squatting motion, which will not produce as much power and momentum.
  • Not engaging the core. To avoid lower back injury and support the movement, keep the core engaged throughout the exercise.
  • Swinging too fast. Swinging kettlebells should be done with intention and properly. If you swing too fast, you’ll focus more on your upper body because you’re not giving your lower body enough time to generate force. This can also lead to injury.
  • Using the wrong weight. The kettlebell should be heavy enough to be challenging, but not so heavy that you struggle to lift it and compromise your form. It’s best to gradually increase the weight once you’ve perfected your form.
  • Forgetting to breathe. Focus on inhaling as you do the push-up and exhaling as you push.
David A.

David A.

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