A Dumbbell Swing Substitute

The kettlebell swing provides an aerobic and strength-building workout.
i Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

A dumbbell swing requires you to squat with the weight held in both hands and swing the dumbbell up as you stand. It works the same muscles as a standard squat -- your thighs, stomach and buttocks -- but it also engages your back and arms. You can perform the same movement with a kettlebell, although the exercise is slightly different from a dumbbell swing. The centers of gravity in the two weights are different, making your muscles work differently; the kettlebell tends to want to keep going, so it takes more muscle power to control it.

    Step 1

    Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in front of you with both hands.

    Step 2

    Squat with your knees slightly bent and your hips back behind your body. Keep your back and arms straight.

    Step 3

    Swing the kettlebell between your thighs. As it reaches the apex of the backward swing, stand up, pushing your hips forward powerfully. This motion helps you raise the kettlebell, using the momentum created by your hips.

    Step 4

    Allow the kettlebell to rise to shoulder height, controlling the movement; the ball of the kettlebell will continue trying to lift because of the uneven weight balance. Lower the kettlebell, keeping your arms straight, and swing it back between your legs as you assume the squat position.

    Step 5

    Repeat the swinging motion for 30 seconds for beginners, then increase to one minute, then work up to three one-minute sets.


    • Swing a few different sizes of kettlebell before starting your workout. The weight should be enough to get you breathing hard and get your heart rate up, but it shouldn't strain your shoulders or back. Start with about 18 pounds for a swing, but increase to 22 or 26 pounds when your strength allows.


    • Don't arch your back during this exercise. Your arms control the motion of the swing, but your back does much of the lifting. Keep it straight to help prevent injury.

    Things You'll Need

    • Kettlebell

    • Stopwatch or clock

the nest