How Often a Week Can You Do the Kettlebell Swing?

A kettlebell don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

A kettlebell don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

The kettlebell swing has a reputation among fitness trainers as a virtual miracle worker. If you have weight to lose, it melts off fat at a rate equivalent to the toughest, most rigorous activities, such as cross-country skiing. It can lift and shape your butt in a way that leads to admiring compliments or even better, result in your own personal satisfaction in how fine your body has shaped up. Best of all, you can match your kettlebell swing frequency -- with complete freedom -- to your time availability and fitness goals.

Alternate Days Option

In her book “The Swing!,” devoted as the title suggests to just this exercise, Tracy Reifkind describes her path to losing 120 pounds and acquiring a sleek body with this exercise. The swing entails hoisting the kettlebell from between the upper legs repeatedly to about eye level via hip propulsion rather than muscling it with the arms. She advocates performing the swing at least twice a week and as often as every other day -- three days some weeks, four on others -- allowing for rest days for the muscles to recuperate.

Every Day Option

New York City-based kettlebell trainer Lorna Kleidman allows you more latitude to satisfy your inner hardcore Nestie should you so desire. “If you only have one KB move to perform, it should be the swing, and you can perform it daily without risk of overtraining,” Kleidman notes. She advises that beginning Nesties use kettlebells weighing 15 to 20 pounds; if a guy friend joins you, he can likely up his weight selection to 20 to 30 pounds.

Theory

Kleidman’s recommendation for daily swings is in line with that of kettlebell's guru Pavel Tsatsouline, as expressed in his women-specific kettlebell's book, “From Russia With Tough Love: Pavel's Kettlebell Workout for a Femme Fatale.” Unlike American exercise scientists, who agree with Reifkind on the idea of resting muscles for 48 hours, Tsatsouline advocates single sets multiple days a week -- up to six days in fact -- versus multiple sets fewer days a week. This is in line with Russian exercise science theories, which encourage strength training to occur as often as possible while you remain as fresh as possible, Tsatsouline writes.

Creative Variations

Kleidman advises mixing up your swing workout if you perform it daily “to effect physiological change and to make it interesting.” You can change the duration of your workout -- for example, one day you can perform 10 minutes of single-arm swings, alternating sides each minute, upping your set to 14 minutes on another day. You can next change the weight used, using a lighter bell for 20 minutes of alternating single-arm swings. You can also reduce your rest periods if you perform interval sets or try the CrossFit style swing, with the kettlebell in the overhead position.

 

About the Author

An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images