New Year. New You.
When you’re done with your squat challenge you can squeeze this super simple and incredibly efficient movement into your weekly workout, The Kettlebell Swing.
Or you can simply accept the challenge at the bottom of this post.
Alright, done with the small talk.
Wanted to remind you that last week we talked about keeping shit simple. Because the new you doesn’t have to be complicated. The new you is also going to LOOK A LOT better and FEEL A LOT better when you’re keeping shit simple.
The most simple exercises are the most effective ones. As a busy ass professional, we want to make sure that we’re making the most of our fitness with the little time that we have. That’s why I’m breaking down 5 movements over the next few weeks to help you do this:
- Spend less time in the Gym
- Look Sexy as Hell
- Get you Functionally Fit
This week, I’m going to go over one of my favorite exercises like . . . ever. After the squat obviously. When you’re done reading this you’ll be able to add it into your routine to get that sexy ass bod for 2014.
Here’s what we’re going over today:
- Why the Kettlebell Swing is Effective
- How to do a Kettlebell Swing
- Kettlebell Workout Challenge
Why the Kettlebell Swing is Effective
The kettlebell swing, like the burpee, is a whole body movement and is a killer aerobic/anaerobic workout. It’s efficient because you can’t have one without the other. It also attacks my two favorite muscle groups, hips and core. If you’re swinging for 15 to 20 minutes, trust me, you’ll be exhausted.
The benefits of the kettlebell swing:
- Whole body exercise
- Anaerobic workout
- Aerobic workout
- Builds muscular power and endurance
- Builds your posterior chain
- Builds your core
If you want a killer posture, to tone up your arms, hips, butt, and legs – this is the exercise that will help you do it. Ladies, pay attention, because one of the studies that I found showed a woman who was able to take all the curves she didn’t want – and replace them with the ones that she did.
Enter Tim Ferris, author of the 4 Hour Body.
In his book, Tim describes his how he met his friend “The Kiwi”, in a small cafe where he was working on his previous book – The 4 Hour Workweek. Over conversation, Tim had found that his new friend was an elite level athlete and also applying his BSE in exercise physiology to perfecting the female posterior.
Both were at a dance club watching a professional Samba dancer in Brazil balancing tequila shots of each butt check in a dance club. Soon after, Tim’s friend made it a mission of his to isolate the best exercises for creating buttocks worthy of balancing tequila shots.
And “The Kiwi” did. He helped his then girlfriend of Chinese descent, equipped with a surfer board like profile to one of the top sexiest girls out of 39,000 students at the University of Auckland.
How did she do it?
“Add reps and weight to the swings”.
And it doesn’t stop there. Tim used kettlebell swings for a total of 10 to 20 minutes PER WEEK – and was able to achieve one of his lowest body fat percentages in his life.
Holy shit. That’s pretty fucking crazy.
You can read more about getting the curves you want from Tracy, the butt you want from “Kiwi”, and fat loss from Tim himself on his blog post here.
On side note, he did supplement his workouts with a variety of different exercises, like isolation and abdominal movements. With the routine that he had used, don’t think it’s necessary to incorporate auxiliary movements into your workout – especially after you see the challenge.
So, question now is . . . how do you do the Kettlebell Swing?
How to do a Kettlebell Swing
There is a lot of confusion around this exercise. In his study and post above, Tim uses the Russian Kettlebell swing. The one that I want to focus on is the American swing. The main difference between the Russian swing and American swing is where the kettlebell is located at the end of the movement.
The Crossfit Journal released an article, “The Kettlebell Swing”, and actually cites a pretty good reason for using the American Kettlebell swing as opposed to others. I’m inclined to agree.
The first reason is using the full range of motion. There’s no exercises where you do half reps. The second, being that the higher you have to lift something, the more work you are doing.
More work requires more muscles. This in turn makes you stronger, more powerful, more muscular, leaner, and ultimately, sexy as fuck.
So, let’s get to it, shall we?
The Kettlebell Swing
First off, if you’re a beginner – grab light weight. For women, I’d suggest anything from 10 to 20 lbs. For men, I’d suggest anything from 25 to 40 lbs.
1. Now, before you even grab the kettlebell make sure that your feet are positioned about hip width apart. When you bend over to grip the kettlebell . . .
Make sure that you are pushing your butt back.
Your lower back is straight.
You have a big chest (to prevent your back from rounding)
Your gluteus and hamstrings are engaged and tight to maximize your hip thrust
When starting the movement make sure to brush your forearms against your inner thighs, and propel your hip forward powerfully, as if you were thrusting. This will project the kettlebell up and and over your head as demonstrated in the picture below.
*Side note, a lot of people have mixed feelings on whether or not the kettlebell should be facing upward, don’t really think that it matters as long as you’re getting the kettlebell to the top position and using your hips to do it.
Absorb the kettlebell in the top position and follow the same path back down. Then repeat!
Here’s a video to better illustrate the movement in real time.
Also, please don’t mind the music, had to record while the gym was in operation
Now that you know how to do the kettlebell swing. We’re going to make sure you get your hands nice and dirty with the kettlebell workout challenge.
Kettlebell Workout Challenge
English: Arthur Saxon performing a bent press. Français : Arthur Saxon effectuant un dévissé à un bras (bent press). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We’ve been over how the kettlebell swing can make you stronger, more muscular, more powerful, and even cut out fat loss.
To further support how kettlebell swings can help create the body you want – T Nation had published an article featuring strong man James Heathers. Who also happens to be an applied physiologist and soon to be Phd.
Long story short, James was is a smart ass dude who is strong, but also fat. And he planned on simply swinging a kettlebell 10,000 times in 10 days to lose the body fat.
It worked. At least for his subjects.
If you take a look at the results you’ll see that some subjects increased in body fat percentage, but slightly. Overall, the subjects saw a drop in body fat percentage and actual body fat mass. Along with incredible body composition changes which most people see in a month, the subjects saw in TEN DAYS.
Now, the subjects in this test were very well trained athletes and mixed with a little bit of crazy. So in no way am I going to suggest that you do 1,000 kettlebell swings every day for ten days. I’m actually cringing just thinking about it.
So a workout that you can incorporate in your routine (not to be done if you are doing the squat challenge) is trying for 500 Kettlebell Swings in 10 days. Make sure that the weight that you are using is challenging weight – I’d determine this by finding a weight you struggle at for 10 reps. If you’re more advanced.
If not, a recommendation to make things easier for you:
Dudes, hit up a 40lb. kettlebel.
Chicks hit up a 25 lb. kettlebell.
It’ll be hard. But in the end, worth it.
So get on that swing, and I’ll see you later this week.
Thanks for reading!