How to Lose Weight With the Kettlebell Swing

by Nick Ng, Demand Media

    Cardio training on the treadmill or elliptical will help you burn off the extra helping you had for dinner last night, but it doesn't give you stronger and powerful muscles that help you burn fat in the long term. If you are looking for an alternative to the monotonous gym machines, kettlebell swings will give you firmer and stronger abs hip and legs while maintaining muscle tone. Start with mastering the form and breathing pattern first before focusing on how much weight you use and the number of sets and reps.

    Items you will need

    • 35-pound kettlebell

    Kettlebell Swing

    Step 1

    Stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart. Put a 35-pound kettlebell on the floor about a little more than 1 foot in front of you.

    Step 2

    Bend your torso forward at your hip without rounding your spine. Reach forward with both hands and grab firmly on the handle. Bend your knees slightly and shift your weight toward your heels with your buttocks pushed back behind you. Keep your eyes looking straight ahead.

    Step 3

    Inhale as you swing the kettlebell between your legs to initiate the swinging motion.

    Step 4

    Exhale as you push your hip forward and straighten your legs, swinging the kettlebell upward in a arc until the weight is about as high as your eyebrows. If you feel the kettlebell "float" toward the end of the swing, you are doing it correctly. Keep your shoulders relaxed.

    Step 5

    Develop a steady rhythm as you swing. Perform three to four sets of 10 to 20 swings.

    Kettlebell Deadlift

    Step 1

    Stand with your feet in the same position as the swing. Place a 35-pound kettlebell in front of you on the ground, closer than the swing.

    Step 2

    Bend your torso forward at your waist and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Do not round your shoulders or spine. Bend your knees slightly and shift your weight toward your heels with your buttocks pushed back behind you.

    Step 3

    Exhale as you push your hip forward and straighten you legs at the time, bringing your torso upright and the kettlebell off the floor. Keep your shoulders relaxed.

    Step 4

    Inhale as you lower the kettlebell down by bending your torso forward at your waist, shifting your weight back to your heels and bending your knees slightly. Perform three to four sets of eight to 10 reps.

    Tips

    • Use a weight that you cannot easily curl with your arms or shrug with your shoulders. A light kettlebell can make you compensate by using your arms and shoulders to swing rather than using your hip. If you find 35 pounds to be to heavy for you, use a 20- or 25-pound kettlebell instead and work your way up. There is no limit to how much weight you can swing.
    • Perform a set of light-intensity exercise between sets of kettlebell swings to keep the fat-burning process elevated. You can do jump-rope drills, body-weight squats or lunges, or wood chops with a light medicine ball.
    • Before you do the swing, master the kettlebell deadlift first. This exercise teaches you use the hip-hinging motion and develop a breathing pattern that you will use in the swing.

    Warning

    • Never train when you're in pain. Check with your health-care provider before you start any workout program. Always use proper form and breathing rhythm when you perform swings. Because kettlebell swings involve momentum and a circular pattern to perform the work, which are not common in typical gym exercises, work with a qualified kettlebell instructor or exercise professional before attempting this on your own if kettlebell training is new to you.

    About the Author

    Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.