If there was only one exercise you could perform for the rest of your life, that would give the best all round results on your body in terms of fat loss and muscle gain, it would in most cases be the kettlebell swing. The simplicity of the kettlebell swing makes it useful for the large majority of people, and it’s often considered to be the single greatest tool of lifting that has been invented so far. So in this video I will break down the benefits of the kettlebell swing.
We see new workout trends come and go every month, claiming that their method is the best ever. However many professional athletes, trainers and scientists all have a similar conclusion – one tool that will bring results like no other is the kettlebell. A centuries old piece of iron with a handle is still the main piece of training equipment if you’re looking to get results effectively and simply. The cannonball-shaped metal piece were first developed by russian strongmen in the early 1700s as a way to build strength, balance, flexibility and endurance quickly. If you want proof that it works incredibly well, watch Gerard Butlers physique in the movie 300, or Ryan Reynolds in the green lantern. They both used kettlebells to prepare for their roles.
There are many highly respected people in the fitness industry that advocates the kettlebell swing such as Elliott Hulse from Strength camp, Jeff Cavaliere from athlean X and many more. Tim Ferriss also talks about the great benefits of the kettlebell swing in his book the four hour body, where 41 year old Tracy Reifkind who weighed 245 pounds manage to lose a whooping 100 pounds only doing exercises with the kettlebell. She lost 45 of those 100 pounds in the first 12 weeks. She did the russian kettlebell swing, twice a week for an average of 15-20 minutes, with her longest session lasting for 35 minutes. She says “If you could only do one movement for the rest of your life, do the kettlebell swing.” Tim states in the book that he agrees with this statement 100 %, and he actually have had great results with it himself.
He used a 53 pound kettlebell and did nothing more than one set of 75 swings one hour after a light protein-rich breakfast, two times per week. At the start he couldn’t complete the 75 swings consecutively, so he finished them in multiple sets with 60 seconds of rest in between sets. The total swing time for the week was 10-20 minutes, and he managed to reach his lowest body fat percentage in six years, in only six weeks time. However he did combine the kettlebell swings with light weightlifting and with ice baths three times a week, which also rapidly burns fat. He continues to say that the king of exercises – the two arm kettlebell swing is all you need for dramatic results.
The American council on exercise published a study on the effects kettlebell workouts has on the body, and they can provide one hell of a workout. Based on comparisons with data from previous research on standard weight training, the heart rate and oxygen consumption responses during the kettlebell snatch routine suggest it provides a much higher-intensity workout than standard weight-training routines. Furthermore, the kettlebell snatch workout easily meets industry recommendations for improving aerobic capacity. Chad Schnettler states that “it is good news for people who are looking for a very good resistance-training workout that will also help them lose weight.” “For people who might not have a lot of time, and need to get in a good workout as quickly as possible, kettlebells definitely provide that.”
In their study, they had the subjects use a 25, 35, or 50-pound kettlebell (depending on their gender, body weight, fitness level, and experience level) swinging it one-handed between their legs and up and over the head in a snatch motion. They continuously performed snatches to a specific cadence during each minute, switching to the opposite hand every other minute.
During the 20-minute workout, the average calorie burn was 272 calories, not counting additional calorie burn due to the substantial anaerobic effort. Porcari explains that they estimated oxygen consumption and how many calories they were burning aerobically, and it was 13.6 calories per minute. They also measured the blood lactate, so anaerobically they were burning another 6.6 calories per minute, meaning they were burning at least 20 calories per minute, which is absolutely ridiculous.
Porcari continues to say that the only other thing he could find that burns that many calories is crosscountry skiing uphill at a fast pace. The researchers credit the brisk calorie burning to the fact that the kettlebell snatch workout is a total-body movement that is also done very quickly due to the interval-training format. They end the study by stating “It’s a quick workout, and you do get a big bang for your buck in a very short amount of time.”
There has also been studies on the risk of injuries and loads on the spine while using kettlebells. In this study, seven male subjects participated in the investigation with a 35 pound kettlebell swing. The risk of injuries doing a kettlebell swing were minimal, and it actually proved to strengthen the posterior chain while contracting the abs. However it might irritate tissues. They end this study by stating “Quantitative analysis provides an insight into why many individuals credit kettlebell swings with restoring and enhancing back health and function, although a few find that they irritate tissues.”
If you’re sick of switching up workout routines and combining weird cardio exercise with weightlifting, give the good’ol kettlebell swing a go. You will achieve great results with minimum time spent if you do it correctly. Below you will find inks to the studies along with the four hour body.