The 8 Health Benefits of Kettlebell Swings - GoodRx (2023)

The central theses:

  • A kettlebell swing is a full-body strength-training exercise that uses a ball and weighted grip.

  • It's a great way to increase muscle strength and functional fitness.

  • You can do kettlebell swings at different fitness levels. But it's important to use proper form to protect yourself from injury.

The 8 Health Benefits of Kettlebell Swings - GoodRx (1)

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced strength trainer, there are many reasons to add kettlebell swings to your routine. Dynamic movement uses a free weight to help you build muscle and improve your endurance. Additionally, kettlebell swings can be a fun and effective change from traditional dumbbell or barbell exercises. Read on to learn more about the benefits of kettlebell swings and how to do them correctly.

What are kettlebell swings?

Kettlebell SwingsAreabodybuildingExercise that unsurprisingly requires a kettlebell. A kettlebell is a type of cast iron or steel weight with a flat base and a handle. It looks like a cannonball with a handle or teapot. Hence the name.

The full-body move consists of grabbing the handle of the dumbbell with both hands and using the explosive power of your hips and thighs to swing the dumbbell up to chest height. A standard or Russian kettlebell swing works several muscles, including:

  • Shoulders (deltoids)

  • forearms

  • Abdomen

  • Back (trapezius, rhomboids and erector spinae)

  • hips (buttocks)

  • Legs (hamstrings, quadriceps and calves)

8 benefits of kettlebell swings

ANDCenters for Disease Control and Preventionrecommends adults at least two strength training sessions per week. This is especially important as you get older. Preservation of muscle mass has been associatedgreater longevity, more mobility and better well-being. Kettlebell swings are a great way to achieve strength training and other health goals.

1. Increase muscle strength

Kettlebell swings are incredibly effective for building muscle mass. on aStudy 2013The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has researched the benefits of kettlebell swings. The young adults completed a one-hour kettlebell workout twice a week. After eight weeks, they noticed an increase in leg and core strength. They also saw improvements in their dynamic balance.

Otherslearnfound that kettlebell training benefits older women with age-related muscle wasting. They had better back and hand strength and better lung function.

2. Improve heart health

The full-body movement of a kettlebell swing makes your heart beat faster, which can improve your aerobic fitness. In the 2013 ACE study, kettlebell training also helped participants increase their aerobic capacity by about 14%. This is good news for your heart. A higher level of aerobic fitness is associated with alower risk of cardiovascular disease.

3. Reduce your training time

Kettlebell swings can tone multiple muscle groups and burn calories quickly. This can reduce exercise time and allow you to reach certain fitness goals more quickly. For example,another ACE studyfollowed the volunteers as they performed kettlebell swings. The researchers found that the average calorie burn was a staggering 270 calories in just 20 minutes.

4. Support healthy weight loss

Strength training activities burn calories andincrease muscle mass. These benefits can support a healthy metabolism and weight loss. And research shows that kettlebell swings are particularly effective for burning calories and building metabolism-boosting muscle.

5. Build functional strength

Kettlebell swings involve multidirectional movements that mirror everyday movements, such as B. bending over. Over time, this can help you develop even more.functional strengthand mobility. These improvements make everyday activities like sitting down or carrying shopping bags easier.

6. Promote better balance and coordination

When you swing a kettlebell, you need to control your movement. This will ensure that you don't lose weight. Controlled movements activate stabilizing muscles throughout the body. Those little muscles keep you stable. And when you use them with exercises like kettlebell swings, you can improve your balance and coordination skills.

EmA studythe ballerinas practiced regular training with kettlebells. The training improved his jumping and balance performance. Another study shows that kettlebell training can help adultsImproved postural coordination.

7. Stop back and shoulder pain

By strengthening your core muscles, kettlebell swings can improve your posture. And better posture reduces pressure on your lower back. The movement can also improve mobility in your shoulder joints. And this, in turn, can relieve pain and stiffness.

Proof?danish researchersexamined the effects of kettlebell training in people with musculoskeletal pain. Participants completed three kettlebell exercises per week for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back was less severe.

8. Improve your mood

regular trainingthis has been shown again and againimprove your mood. And that includes kettlebell swings. on asmall studyHealthy people practiced kettlebell training three times a week for 12 weeks. The sessions reduced depressive symptoms by an average of 22%.

How do you swing with a kettlebell?

Remember to talk to your doctor before trying kettlebell swings. If you have back or joint problems or other health conditions such as osteoporosis, your doctor will be able to advise you on whether it is safe to do this exercise.

With your provider's approval, you can start with a standardKettlebell-Swing:

  1. Start with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.

  2. Hold the kettlebell handle with both hands. The palms of the hands must be facing downwards.

  3. Inhale as you push your hips back to bring the kettlebell between your legs. Keep your back straight and your torso tight.

  4. Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you push your hips forward to stand, swinging the kettlebell to chest height with momentum.

  5. Inhale and lower the kettlebell between your legs.

  6. Perform two to three sets of five repetitions, resting 30 to 60 seconds between each repetition.

Once you've mastered the exercise, you can move on to more challenging variations like this arm swing.

Tips for correct kettlebell swing form

As with any exercise, proper form is key in the kettlebell swing. Focusing on your form can help you avoid injury, maximize muscle use, and increase benefits.

Keep these tips in mind when doing kettlebell swings:

  • Choose the right weight. Kettlebells come in weights ranging from 5 pounds to 100 pounds. If you choose one that is too heavy, you are more likely to lose control and compromise your form. Most experts recommend starting with a kettlebell in the 10- to 15-pound range. As you get stronger and master the technique, you can gradually increase your weight.

  • give yourself lots of space. Make sure you have 4-5 feet of clearance in front of you and nothing breakable around. This ensures that you can swing the kettlebell without worrying about hitting anything.

  • Keep the spine straight.It is important not to arch your back when lifting and lowering the kettlebell to avoid putting too much strain on your lower back. Engaging your core can help keep your spine straight and stabilize your form throughout the movement.

  • Lift your legs.Kettlebell swings are designed to use lower body strength and momentum. Your arms shouldn't do the heavy lifting. Focus on rotating your hips to create the force that propels the weight upward. Your arms will work to maintain control as the kettlebell moves through the swing arc.

  • Walk slowly and steadily.Flying into a kettlebell swing too quickly puts more strain on your back and shoulders. Instead, use intention to control the momentum of the kettlebell swing and move at a steady pace.

the end result

Kettlebell swings are a challenging but effective way to improve your fitness. When done correctly, exercise can increase muscle strength, improve heart health, and improve coordination. Just ask your doctor before starting kettlebell training.


American Council on Exercise. (2015).How do I get started with kettlebells?.

American Council on Exercise. (2010).Kettlebells: Double results in half the time?

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Brumitt, J., et al. (2010).Integrating kettlebells into a lower limb sports rehabilitation program.American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022).How much exercise do adults need?

Chen, H-T., et al. (2018).Effects of 8-week kettlebell training on body composition, muscle strength, lung function and mild chronic inflammation in elderly women with sarcopenia.Experimental Gerontology.

Fernstrom, M., et al. (2017).Aerobic exercise is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease: the effect of lifestyle on early risk factors for atherosclerosis in healthy young Swedes: the lifestyle, biomarkers and study of atherosclerosis. Vascular health risk management.

Grigoletto, D., et al. (2020).Kettlebell Training for Dancers: Implications for Lower Limb Strength and Body Balance.journal of human kinetics.

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GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, complete and unbiased by reading oureditorial guidelines.

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