The use of kettlebells has grown in popularity in the last few years because it gives a great—and quick full body workout. However, kettlebells as a recreational exercise tool have been used for the past 200 years.
So, what is a kettlebell? A kettlebell is a round weight with a flat bottom and handle at the top. Due to the nature of kettlebell swings and the dynamic movement it has on the body and muscles, kettlebell swing workouts can burn a ton of calories in a relatively short period of time.
So, just how many calories are burned by kettlebell swings? If doing the kettlebell swings correctly, you can expect to burn about 100 calories per 100 kettlebell swings.
How Much Should My Kettlebell Weigh?
Kettlebell swings can burn a lot of calories quickly. But determining the correct weight of the kettlebell you will use can be vital to your body and your exercise plan. Though there are some kettlebell weight recommendations, remember that everyone is different, and you may need to try a few different weights to see what is right for your body and needs.
If you really want to ensure that your kettlebell is the correct weight for you and your exercise routine, you may want to consider meeting with a personal trainer to verify you are using the correct weight.
Kettlebell weights also depend on what exercises you are doing. Different exercises and movements may require a different amount of weight.
Recommended Kettlebell Weights for Men:
- For balance: between 26 and 44 pounds
- For agility: between 18 and 44 pounds
- For strength one handed: 35 pounds
- For strength two handed: 53 pounds
Recommended Kettlebell Weights for Women:
- For balance: between 18 and 26 pounds
- For agility: between 9 and 26 pounds
- For strength one handed: 26 pounds
- For strength two handed: 31 pounds
Keep in mind that if you are new to using kettlebells, you may want to start with weights even lighter than the recommended weight to gain muscle and comfortability with the new equipment.
The Right Way to Do a Kettlebell Swing
Like any exercises, there are correct forms and movements to make to reduce injury and get the most out of your workout. The correct form and way to do a kettlebell swing is:
- Start in a deadlift position
- Kettlebell is between your ankle bones
- Hands pull outward
- Squeeze armpits together
- Shoulders in
- Lift up
- Start with slow momentum
- Push hips back
- Back stays straight
- Core tight and engaged
- Eyes forward
- Chin tucked in
You should feel it in your glutes, hamstrings, and core. Your heart rate should increase if you’re doing this correctly.
To ensure that you are doing kettlebell swings correctly, pay close attention to be sure you do not:
- Round your back
- Unengaged core
- Have stationary hips
- Bent knees
Best Kettlebell Swing Exercises
As mentioned, kettlebell swings are a quick way to get a full body workout. Now that we know the safe form to have to complete kettlebell swings,there are many types of movements and exercises that you can incorporate to your exercise routine. To complete the six exercises below it is best to do them in a circuit, meaning that each exercise should be completed within a set amount of time followed by a rest. For example, one minute of exercise followed by a 30 second rest.
Pick up the kettlebell and pass it in between your legs. While passing it behind your legs creating a figure eight, you’ll feel it in your quads and glutes.
Figure Eight Tips/Information
- Keep your back flat
- Squeeze your glutes
- Hinge at your hips
Have the kettlebell in one hand and your other hand will be by your temples. Bend the kettlebell down and pull it back up. Do this for about one minute and then switch sides.
Side Bend Tips/Information
- Engage your core
- Squeeze your midsection
- You should feel it in your oblique muscles
Forward and Reverse Lunge
Hold the kettlebell up by your shoulder. Your other arm will be out straight. On the same side you’re holding the kettlebell, lunge forward and then backward. Do this for about one minute and then switch sides.
Forward and Reverse Lunge Tips/Information
- Holding your arm out straight will help you keep your balance
- Rest the kettlebell behind your shoulder
- When lunging, try to keep your legs at a 90 degree angle
- Engage your core
Tricep Extension-Kettlebell Arm Workout
Hold the kettlebell behind your head and pull it up to the top extending your arms above your head. Hinge and your elbows as you are extending the kettlebell above your head.
Tricep Extension Tips/Information
- Keep your elbows tucked in
- Keep your triceps still while extending
- Keep your core tight
- Do not arch your back
To begin, you will need to be in a wide stance with your toes pointed out. Hold the kettlebell close to your chest. You will squat down and push up.
Goblet Squat Tips/Information
- As your coming up from the squat, squeeze your glutes
- Try to squat as deep as possible
Bicep Curl-Kettlebell Bicep Workout
Begin with your feet hip distance apart. Stand up tall and straight. Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your body. Curl your arms up to your chest, hold for one minute, then slowly lower.
Bicep Curl Tips/Information
- Squeeze the bicep muscle
Move to the floor for this one. Sit with your legs bent and feet flat, touching the floor. Move from side to side with the kettlebell
Russian Twists Tips/Information
- To make it harder, try lifting your feet off the floor
- Works the core and oblique muscles
- Before moving into the next set stretch out your abdominal muscles by laying flat on your back
Are Kettlebells Right for You?
Are you ready to incorporate kettlebell swings into your exercise routine? To see just how many calories you can burn using a kettlebell, try out our calorie calculator.
Emily is a freelance writer and teacher. Originally from New York, Emily now lives and works in Europe.