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Anyone tried kettlebell swings yet?

I'm looking forward to trying out the kettlebell swings after reading about them in the book. I'm definitely more biased toward the idea of the kettlebell compared to weight lifting at the gym. So far I've lost 2 pounds this week from just slow-carbing and want to kick start it more with the exercises. Anyway, I'm curious to hear about other people's experiences with the kettlebell swings and any advice they might have before I take the plunge.

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The Best Answer

Venezuela flag

This is the best video I could find demonstrating the proper kettlebell technique outlined in the book. Hope that helps!

  • turnerknb commented Mar 14th 2011:
    great video, I was just looking for info on the swing! Thanks!
  • Ruby commented Jun 20th 2011:

    I used this video, very helpful for those with little to no co-ordination. My first few tries were the stuff of comedy legend!

  • kimpossible commented Jun 23rd 2011:

    Thank you!

  • matti422 commented Aug 22nd 2011:

    Extra tip: put the dog in the crate first....he almost got a black eye from "helping". :-P

  • sjsj commented Oct 16th 2011:

    Awesome, thanks! Getting back into the swing of things (pardon the pun) and this was just what I needed.

  • mochagrl commented Oct 31st 2011:

    this is absolutely the best video for correct technique. Thanks for sharing!

  • Wendy Maldonado commented Oct 28th 2012:

    awesome..I really feel it in my abs..it has improved my posture and my whole body with only done a few times a week..I still cant believe it

  • Zahra Langford commented Jan 11th 2013:

    This is an excellent video. I'm guilty of both of the common mistakes in form that she sees people make. Watching this brought them to my awareness and I just finished a much improved run of 25 swings with 35 lbs. I'll be working up to 75 swings over the next few weeks.

  • David Caceres Del Castillo commented Jan 15th 2013:

    This is very hard but fun!

All Answers

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United-States flag

Girl, whatever you do, don't go and buy a 35 pounder right off the bat just because the book said so! You'll be there all day trying to complete 75 reps. I tried it and couldn't lift the darn thing up in the air properly even once! I ended up going to my gym and starting out with a pathetic little 10lb (don't laugh) kettlebell because I wanted to cram in the 75 reps all at once without stopping. And that was the most sore I'd been in ages (my arms were completely jelly afterwards), so don't think that just because you're doing kettlebells instead of regular weight lifting that you're getting off 'easy' somehow. It's intense, but it's also really really fun. I worked my way up to the 35lb weight eventually, but it took some conditioning first. So keep that in mind before attempting the 35 lb kettlebell. Other than that, I really enjoyed the exercise itself and found it easy to perform without straining other parts of my body. Combined with the myotatic ab exercises, it really is a killer workout.

P.S. For the guys, I think you'll look/feel a bit goofy doing the kettlebell swings in a public gym, but it's a great quick way to work out at home when you can't hit the gym...

  • Ruby commented Jun 20th 2011:

    I made my own using a pair of £5 asda dumb bells - I couldn't figure out what size I wanted and didn't want to keep buying new ones (I'm cheap). Works well for the kettlebell exercises in the book. If someone could help me with posting pics I'd be happy to post some.

  • PansyLu commented Jun 27th 2011:

    I started with no weight, then holding a lb in each hand, then 10 lb and I just bought a 35 lb one. Now I'm thinking I should have went with 20 lb. I guess I'll see next week...

  • Wendy Maldonado commented Oct 28th 2012:

    I used a 15lb weight, and my heart is pounding when Im done..

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Found a great updated kettlebell swing video by the same woman who produced the earlier one posted here. Lots of tips in here for better form, more muscle activation and higher efficiency.

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I started off with the 45lb swings thinking this will be no problem at all. I'm 6'1 331 and boy ol boy did I get a rude awakening. I split it up in 5 sets of 15 and paired them with trx supersets. Good luck and keep at it!

  • KenMoorhead commented Aug 12th 2012:

    My first week with the kettlebell was humbling as well. I think I was able to complete maybe 10 reps and then failed out after a few sets, well shy of 50 reps let alone 75.

  • Galia Knight commented May 14th 2013:

    I think Tim advises in the book to pick a weight with which you can just about do 20reps at first, that way you can gradually increase reps using the same weight. i.e. "grow into it"

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I began my first attempt at kettlebell swings yesterday. 30lb kettlebell, I was surprised at how difficult it was! I split it up into 20, 20, 20, & 15 reps with a minute in between. By the time I finished my hamstrings were already sore, and today my legs are really sore! I'm looking forward to increasing my reps and taking fewer rests, then increasing the weight!

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The most important thing with KB's is proper form. You can really hurt yourself without it (especially your back). Invest in a class, a few sessions with a trainer, a book or video. When in doubt start with lower weights and work your way up.

  • 4hpam commented Feb 15th 2011:
    So true about good form! The video posted is excellent. There are a lot of vids online that show people using terrible form. Correct form will make the difference between a strong back or a destroyed back!
  • Wendy Maldonado commented Oct 28th 2012:

    Exactly, I hurt my back the first time..next day I was sore the following could barely walk..I thought my form was good but I guess not. Now I do them just fine in front of a mirror..lol

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Philippines flag

I started doing the swings after I read the book and loved them. I was a gym member not so long ago, but now I just do kettlebells from home, that's it. It's so much easier and the short workouts are great. Lost a lot of weight doing this.

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Yes, I started a kettlebell class last week. If you can find one, I recommend it. I like having someone around to adjust my form.

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I started with a 20# bell and have outgrown it for kettlebells in just over 3 weeks! Picked up a 40# bell which is just a bit out of my league but can do 3 sets of 25, and it felt amazing to work with the bell and feel the intense gains in strength in such a short time.

Have any of you tried the adjustable kettlebells that can range from 5-45 or so? Think that would be idea for starting off, as it gets expensive as you keep getting stronger!

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Thanks for sharing that video. It helped with my form a lot more than reading from the book, or watching Tim's youtube demo. I just wonder why I'm not getting soreness from this exercise? I'm a female using a 35lb bell for 75 reps, which is difficult. I'm not in that great of shape, so I was expecting serious soreness from what everyone else describes.

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I have be doing KB Swings for 3 weeks. Started at 75 reps of 12kg (26.4lbs) and now I am at 24kg. I have to take a break at 40 reps for 1 minute. If I am able to do 75 with no breaks, then I go to the next weight level.

What's odd, is that I feel muscles (sore and great) deeper in my body, around the mid-section, upper legs, back-side, lower back, abs, pelvic-area, etc. So, I am not seeing huge gains/losses, but I feel so much stronger and balanced.

I'm addicted.

-Paul

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@himay: I'm in the same(kinda) boat as you. I'm a 28 yr old male @ 220 lbs. I started with the 24 lb kettlebell, but quickly moved beyond it after I felt my form was correct. I'm not using a 55 lb kettlebell and although it takes a minute or two break at around 40 swings, I'm not getting much of the soreness others are describing(just mild back muscle soreness. Not from straining my back, but from actually working the muscles back there) From what I've read, your arms aren't supposed to be doing much of the work as it's more of a hip thrust movement. As such, in my mind, your arms shouldn't be doing much lifting, and mine don't.

  • DMW commented Apr 14th 2011:
    you shouldn't be using much of your back either if you're keeping your spine neutral and not arching your back. Be careful as you could hurt yourself.

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I've had lower back issues for years.. so knew I wouldn't be starting w/ a 40+lb kettle-bell.

I started with a 25lb kettle-bell. One set of 40reps and one of 35reps. Have worked up to two 40s and two 35s.

I had a hell of a time getting the form correct, and leaned forward too much and did wrench my back twice before figuring out the proper form/movement. I also had issues with my feet getting further and further apart until I got the form/movement worked out. (still have that issue when trying to go 75 reps straight) Lots of trial and error.

Will be buying a 40+lb soon.

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Canada flag

I just started with the Kettlebell this week and I started with a 24kg(52.8lb) and it kicked my ass but not in a bad way. It was a great workout. I'm planning on trying a few other kettlebell exercises to work the other parts of my upper body(I played football in high school and my legs got an extreme workout).

I actually had to delay going back the second time so I wasn't sore for a bachelor party this weekend but I love doing the kettlebells. quicker workouts with more body covered.

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I have noticed an increase in core strength at the gym since doing the kettlebell swings at home. I totally rate the kettlebell! I just need to be more consistent with it.

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I've been doing them 2-3 times a week, with the plank and side plank exercises in the book. Right now I'm doing 20-25 swings with a 21lb weight. I can tell you it seriously gets my heart rate up, and I can often feel it in my butt the next day. Its nice to have a quick workout before work.

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Oh I tried it, and man did it kick my butt. My arms were pretty much useless the day after and I wasn't able get through the entire set without a break. But once you get into the 'swing' of things, you can't get enough! It's so much less painful than using free weights, the movement feels very easy and natural. You body stays together in a nice compact shape, using the weight as an extension, rather than a source of resistance. And I feel like I'm building strength and toning my arms all at once without too much effort. My posture also feels straighter and I feel more confident. I love it!

  • DMW commented Apr 14th 2011:
    your legs should be doing most of the work. Your arms should just be ropes connected to the KB but the thrust of your hips should be doing the bulk of the getting the KB up. your forearms obviously will be doing a lot of work keeping a grip on the KB too

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I am going to attempt these tomorrow. I think I might have to go the gym right when they open, because I fear that if there are too many people there I will feel like I look silly and not dare to try.

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United-Arab-Emirates flag

Bought a 20 kg (44 ibs) and love it. As I understand from the book the weight should be heavy enough so that you can do 20 swings perfect and not more than 30. First time I did it I did 32 reps.

I dont do 2 or 3 sets though. I just do 1 set until I cant do it more (as per the book). Do you recommend me to break it down into less reps and do more sets so I reach 75? From what I understand you slowly work it up to 75 reps in 1 set?

Oskar

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I built the T bar from the book ($10) and bought 5 10lb plates to put on it. This is a great way to have an adjustable weight kettlebell. First try I started with 40lbs and got to 45 reps before I had to rest. Now I've been at it for 3 weeks, twice a week and currently I'm doing 75 reps @ 50lbs without stopping, taking a 1 minute break 25 reps, another 1 minute break and 25 more. You can really feel how much this works your posterior chain, but fortunately it doesn't leave me in as much pain as standard free weight training

  • turnerknb commented Mar 14th 2011:
    I'm doing the same thing, built my T bar this weekend and, since I already have the weights, this was a cheap alternative for me - and easy to add weights.

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Just started Kettelbell last night...20 lbs. I am sooo sore today but in a good way. I could only do about 15 all at once, so i stopped for about 30 seconds and then continued til 75; stopping about 4 times. It really got my heart rate up. I am looking forward to getting stronger at my advanced age...55. haha

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I think you can start out heavy with the swing because it's all about squeezing your butt making sure you're not using so much of your back....my kettlebell instructor always says "crack your walnuts!", lol....the bell is more so for guidance, so my advice would be, don't be shy try something heavy right off the bat.

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Slovenia flag

I started my kettlebell swing with 10 kg and I was putting more 2 kg each time I felt that I was starting to feel comfortable with the weight. Now I am using 26 kg and I think I will remain around this weight for some time:P

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I bought my kettlebell today!

I got a 16kg one and my wife got the 8kg one.

I did a rep of 20 and then 10. I didnt want to do too many as I really want to get my form right before I start to test myself.

Even doing this small amount I was amazed at how my heart rate increased! It doesnt LOOK that hard but it certainly gets your going!

I cant wait to get more into, I'm losing weight and I love this way of life!! :)

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I've done the kettlebells and I have to say, I'm 38, had my second child 2 years ago and could not lose the weight until I started the SCD and the kettlebells have given me a whole new body and my figure is better than it was before having my kids...love love love the kettlebells!

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Kettlebells are fantastic tools for conditioning/fat loss. Lots of great posts here and some good videos. If you are looking to go a little further with your kettlebell training, you could pick up "Enter the Kettlebell" by Pavel Tsatsouline. I don't work for Pavel or have anything to gain by promoting his books, but ETK is probably the best resource for someone who wants to master the kettlebell lifts. And lighter kettlebells are useful even after you're swinging a heavier one. Try the "Turkish Get-Up" and you'll see why. Power to you.

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Can't recommend the kettlebell enough. I bought a 55lb and while I can't manage 70-75 reps in one big giant set, I can do 80 reps broken out into 4 sets with minimal rest. This way I avoid technique breakdown and the risk of injury.

The rest is short (I mean like 30 seconds short). I'm amazed at the acceleration of my heart rate. Tomorrow happens to be another kettlebell session, and I plan on wearing my heartrate monitor just to see what precisely happens cardiovascularly...

  • DMW commented Apr 14th 2011:
    Try tabata intervals. 20 seconds of all out effort and 10 seconds of rest for 6-8 cycles.... http://www.squidoo.com/tabata-protocol
  • briz_in_japan commented Feb 3rd 2013:

    I hadn't used my kettlebells for a while, but just restarted 4HB again this week. Dragged out the 20kg KB and did 6 cycles of Tabatas. Planned on 8 but 6 was tough enough!

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Hey, I just started kettle bell w/ a 10 lb (Don't laugh) w a Ultimate Beginners Kettle Bell w/ Paula Katami. I don't make any money from endorsing his product. I just thought it was pretty good. I liked that there were warmups and we build from the basics and really work on the techniques and still get a good workout.

There are 30 second drills, warmups, and different variations of the exercise for 25 minutes. I am only doing the introductory videos and they really kick my ass. It's mostly because the intervals really get your heart rate going and there's little rest in between.

http://familyfitness.about.com/od/gearformomsanddads/fr/Review-Ulti...

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