Full Body Exercises: Kettlebell Swing

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I have a lot of favorite moves when it comes to full body exercises. But the kettlebell swing is definitely high on the list. This is a powerhouse move that works a lot of muscles all at once including your cardiovascular system. A couple of these and your heart is sure to get pumping!

full body exercises kettlebell swing

How to do the move

Begin in a squat position making sure that your knees don’t go over your toes. Grasp the kettlebell and let it swing back between your legs, then thrust your hips forward as you stand up straight making sure to keep your core tight. Let your hip thrust propel your arms and thus the kettlebell out in front of you.

Make sure that all the work is being done by your hips and that you’re not using your arms to propel the kettlebell. When the kettlebell starts to swing back towards you, let it swing back between your legs as you lower into a sem-squat position before thrusting your hips forward again.

Muscles that benefit

The main muscles that this move works are the quadraceps, calves, adductors (those muscles at the top of your inner thighs), erector spinae (lower back), glutes, and hamstrings. Secondary muscles used for stabilization include the trapezius (neck and upper back), core muscles, and latissimus dorsi (mid back). As you can see, this move hits a lot of muscles. Because of the high number of muscles used along with the main muscles used being in your legs, your heart rate is sure to get going after just a couple kettlebell swings.

How to use this move

Kettlebell swings are a great all over move that gets your heart going and so it can be used as cardio. It’s an especially great cardio alternative for someone who needs a low impact cardio option.

A great way to use this move is to put it in between moves that do not get your heart going in order to increase the intensity of your workout and burn more calories by keeping your heart rate up. For example, do some kettlebell swings in between sets of biceps curls and push ups in a HIIT style workout. This move can also be done as a warm up to a standard strength training workout.

Get the equipment

Try my favorite kettlebell for this move. You can also use the Ultimate Sandbag, but I find the move easier with a kettlebell.


Photo by @N3T1O  is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Pamela Bruesehoff

Hi! I'm Pamela and I run Gym Free Fitness. Your one stop for real information. No bro science and no faux science. Just real healthy information.

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