Don’t Overcomplicate Your Kettlebell Leg Workout. This Simple Yet Highly Effective Exercise Is All You Need
If you find yourself saying, “I want to firm up my legs and butt and lose some weight while I’m at it”, then the kettlebell swing comes highly recommended as a solution to all your body image needs.
A kettlebell is basically an ancient version of a dumbbell that originated in Russia. It looks like someone attached a handle to a round iron ball that’s flat underneath.
Now, the kettlebell swing is a relatively simple exercise where you hold the weight in your hands and keep it between your legs as you swing it back and forth.
It may seem difficult at first glance but once you master it you can literally train your whole body very effectively in a short time. In particular, it’s one of the best weight training exercises you can do that really shape your buttocks and hamstrings.
Not only that, but kettlebells take up less space than dumbbells and can be used as an all-in-one full body training tool making them the perfect piece of equipment for training at home.
Want even more good news? They don’t cost much! Score.
So instead of paying a monthly gym membership when you don’t even go that often, it’s far more economical and effective to go and buy yourself some kettlebells and train twice a week with them.
Muscles Involved In Kettlebell Swings
One study compared how effectively the hamstring muscle was utilized during weight training by performing different exercises such as kettlebell swings, leg curls and single-leg Romanian deadlifts. The results showed that the kettlebell swing exercise active the hamstring muscles the most!
And it’s not just hamstrings that benefit from a kettlebell leg workout. In fact, you can actually target all the muscles of your body.
Muscles Activated By Kettlebell Swings
- Gluteus maximus
- Quadriceps femoris
- Erector spinae muscles (lumbar)
- Deltoid muscles (shoulders)
- Pectoralis major muscles (chest)
- Obliques (muscles along the side of your abs)
If you could only do one weight training exercise you should choose the kettlebell swing!
Benefits of Kettlebell Swings
The great thing about kettlebell swings is that they provide so many more benefits in addition to training your muscles.
Prevent Back Pain
The kettlebell swing is based on the “hip hinge” movement described further down below. These hip hinges improve the movement around the buttocks and stabilize the hips. Practicing kettlebell swings can also help prevent back pain.
The kettlebell swing looks like strength training at first glance, but it’s actually an exercise that can be expected to improve endurance. Even if you don’t do aerobic exercise for long periods, you can improve your endurance efficiently in a short time just by swinging the kettlebell.
In one study, kettlebell training improved endurance by as much as 13.8%. This is equivalent to a bicycle aerobic exercise program.
Another study found that a kettlebell swing twice a week for 6 weeks could improve your endurance, burst power and absolute strength (the maximum strength that muscles can produce).
The kettlebell swing is a great exercise for training in an aerobic and anaerobic way.
Train Muscles On The Back Of The Body (Posterior Chain)
Modern day life has people sitting at work in private all day long and with this lifestyle comes the reality that only the muscles on the front of the body get used. This refers to mainly the lower legs and the front of the thighs (quadriceps). Opportunities to naturally use the back of the legs and buttocks are decreasing in modern life.
Continued neglect of the posterior chain can cause the pelvis to tilt forward which will lead to back pain.
The kettlebell swing is the perfect exercise to train the muscles behind your body. You can force your posture to improve over time and develop a tight butt.
The Kettlebell Swing Method
Did you know the correct way to swing a kettlebell? The basis of a kettlebell swing is a movement called a hip hinge. Let’s master the hip hinge first.
When the word “hinge” is used, it’s a literal hinge that you create at the hips so bend and stretch the base of the leg like a door hinge.
First, stand with your legs apart, about the width of your shoulders.
Then bend from the base of your leg as if you were bowing deeply. The point is to bend not only from the spine but also from the base of the legs. Bend your knees lightly.
Raise your upper body and repeat this motion. The kettlebell swing is the movement of this hip hinge with the kettlebell.
As a warm-up, do 2 sets of 50 hip hinge movements before doing the kettlebell swing.
Kettlebell Safety Precautions
Whether it’s a kettlebell or some other weight, one thing to keep in mind when lifting from the floor is to bend only the spine and not lift with your back. Use your legs.
Lifting with your back shifts all the weight directly onto your back which, over time, will become destroyed and chronic back pain is no laughing matter.
Be sure to bend the groin and knees to lift the weight while keeping a natural S-shaped curve of the spine. This will allow you to distribute the weights of the kettlebell correctly.
The Kettlebell Swing
Now, let’s get into the kettlebell swing.
1. First, place the kettlebell a little away from your body and put your hand on the handle. The legs are shoulder-width apart and the toes are facing forward. At this time, make sure that the spine is not curled up and that a natural S-shaped curve is formed.
2. Pass the kettlebell between your feet.
3. While exhaling, push your hips forward at once, and also push the kettlebell forward. Never let go with your hands! The point is to stick out with the power of the buttocks, not the power of the hands. The shoulders are relaxed, just connected to the weight by the hands.
4. Bend from the base of the leg while inhaling and pass the kettlebell between the legs.
Repeat steps 3 and 4.
Let’s take a look at the common mistakes with kettlebell swings.
Your spine bends and your hands hang
Be sure to bend from the base of your legs, being aware of the “hip hinge” to avoid injuries.
You basically just end up doing squats and front raises
This movement is different from the squat which has a strict bending at the knee. Also, the movement of the hands shouldn’t be like a front raise using the shoulders. Use the momentum of the kettlebell to bring the weight up.
If the kettlebell is too light, you’ll easily end up doing squats and front raises so find a weight that suits your current strength level.
You hold your breath
If you hold your breath, it will raise your blood pressure and cause your heart rate to jump unnecessarily.
Exhale when you raise the kettlebell and inhale when you lower it.
Sample Kettlebell Leg Workout Routine
If you know how to correctly perform this movement but don’t know exactly how many repetitions to do, just try the sample routine below:
I’d recommend practicing for a few days and then continuing with the routine twice a week once you’re more accustomed to the exercise.
3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions. Take a 30-45 second rest between sets
Fat Burning Routine
Swing the kettlebell for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat for a total of 8 rounds of 20-second swings. It can help to use a timer while listening to some good music.
Perform 12 sets of 30-second kettlebell swings and rest for 30 seconds between each round.
This is all there is to this highly effective kettlebell leg workout routine. Do this regularly and notice how your efforts will be rewarded week after week as your strength, endurance, health and muscle definition all improve!