The Unsung Hero of Fitness: The Kettlebell Swing

Whether it be Russian, American, Jamaican, or Australian (just kidding, there is no Jamaican or Australian), kettlebell swings are often overlooked as one of the most effective movements in fitness. Oftentimes, when individuals are looking for a single movement that will give them a quick, full-body workout, they will usually choose the burpee; nothing wrong with that. But the kettlebell swing can also prove to work a wide range of muscle groups and leave you gasping for air. Next time you’re looking to change up your fitness routine, think about doing multiple reps of kettlebell swings. Here’s why:

Increases Power

The kettlebell swing is an excellent way to increase your power through the hips. In order to perform a kettlebell swing correctly, you will need to do a powerful hip thrust using your glutes and hamstrings. Added bonus: perfecting this powerful hip thrust will translate over to Olympic weightlifting movements. The snatch and clean and jerk generate their power from this powerful hip thrust, so the more you train it, the more effective you will be at performing the Olympic lifts.

Increases Muscular Endurance

A lot of workouts in CrossFit require athletes to have a high level of muscular endurance. Whether it be repping out sets of 15 ring muscle-ups at a time, or performing ‘Grace’ (30 clean and jerks) unbroken, having the capacity to perform a high volume of work is essential to being successful in the sport of CrossFit. Cue the kettlebell swing: have you ever tried to hang on for 50+ reps of kettlebell swings? It’s not easy. So, to increase your muscular endurance, try performing max sets of kettlebell swings with minimal rest in between. Beware: your forearms may turn into rocks.

Increases Aerobic Capacity

Performing a high volume of kettlebell swings can also do wonders for improving one’s aerobic capacity. Most commonly, aerobic capacity workouts often involve movements like burpees or any kind of machinery (rower, bike, skierg), so kettlebell swings do not immediately come to mind. However, kettlebell swings can easily result in an athlete gasping for air and their heart feeling like it’s going to burst out of their chest. Don’t believe me? Try this workout on for size: the 200 Rep Reckless Challenge – 10 rounds for time: 10 burpees and 10 kettlebell swings. This may leave you with a similar sensation as the notorious “Fran lung”.