If you’re short on time like most of our personal training clients, the key to maximizing your workouts is choosing exercises that optimize the production of fat-burning hormones.
According to recent research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, the kettlebell swing exercise is among the most effective fat-burning movements. In fact, kettlebell swings burn as many calories as all-out sprints and increase your metabolism for hours after your workout is finished.
Instead of long, boring runs on the treadmill or elliptical, kettlebell swings are a fun way to do high-intensity interval training that gets better results in less time than traditional “cardio.”
My Boston personal trainer team and I have discovered that when combined with proper nutrition, training with a kettlebell and incorporating swings into your workouts on a regular basis can transform your body and help you reach your weight loss goals.
The key is learning how to perform this AUMazing exercise properly.
Here’s how to get swinging to build a stronger and leaner body:
Step 1: Picture an imaginary line from the arch of one foot to the other. The kettlebell should sit directly on that line! Bend at the waist and grasp the kettlebell handle with both hands. Your palms should be facing your body, and your torso should be nearly parallel to the ground.
Step 2: Pull your shoulders down and back (imagine putting your shoulder blades into your pant pockets) and tighten your abdominal muscles before starting the exercise. Maintain these form cues throughout the entire set.
Step 3: Lift the kettlebell off the ground and allow the kettlebell to swing down and back through your legs, hinging your hips back as far as possible (reach your hips to the wall behind you). Keep the handle of the kettlebell above your knees to prevent undue stress on your spine. Control the descent by engaging your abdominal muscles. Your knees should bend slightly during this movement. Keep your back flat and neck straight.
Step 4: Drive your feet into the floor and squeeze your glutes as hard as possible, sending your hips forward to propel the kettlebell into the air. Control the kettlebell with your arms, but don't pull it up. Keep your elbows glued into your rib-cage.
The kettlebell should travel between your belly button and chest, no higher than your shoulders. Think of this end position (with kettlebell floating in front of your body) as a standing plank where you tighten every muscle in your body from your shoulders down.
Imagine that your feet are screwed into the floor with roots and contract your abdominal muscles like you’re about to take a punch. Pull your shoulders as far from your ears as possible by contracting your lats (squeeze the muscles under your armpits).
It’s important to note that the smaller the arc of the kettlebell, the more efficient your swing will be. A big arc can lead to arching your back and potential injury.
Follow these steps, and the kettlebell swing will become one of the most powerful tools in your weight loss arsenal.