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What Muscles Do Russian Kettlebell Swing Work?

Russian kettlebell swing targets your abs, shoulders, hips, hamstrings, glutes, pecs, shoulders, and lats with easy and simple motions.

Such swinging also movements helps an individual to improve his/her grip strength.

When using the kettlebell, the body becomes the hinge that bears the weight of the equipment using the hands, the legs form a triangle shape to support all kinds of movements, and your core muscles are engaged in this process.

While bracing the movements, the trainee starts experiencing the burn in his/her abs.

The motion starts by involving the glutes, quads, and hips slowly gaining hold of the core and then the shoulders and pecs.

Versatility might not be the big advantage of this equipment. The users might even find the exercises being boring as they are repetitive.

But at the end of the workout, you feel a sense of accomplishment as you stand in your workout room, gasping for breath.

Man doing Russian kettlebell swings in gym

Benefits of the Russian Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell is one of the most efficient weight training equipment that works wonders on the human body.

Optimal for developing strength and endurance, the Russian kettlebell swing is a full-body exercise that’s great for building muscles and burning fat.

The equipment might seem manly and too strong at first sight, and it is indeed used for weight training.

But surprisingly, it is a non-impact exercise that helps in effective weight loss—anyone including those with joint pain too can use it as it causes no stress to the joints.

The discovery of the kettlebell is a gift to mankind as its usefulness in performing body-building exercises is limitless and undeniable.

The Russian kettlebell swing provides a pivotal full-body workout with the following advantages:

  • This is one of the powerful equipment to perform any forward motion that starts from the posterior chain (muscles that are present on the backside of your body)
  • Helps in reaching target heart rate rapidly due to the fiery swing movement
  • Apt for building muscle mass and endurance
  • One of the best ways to burn more fat and calories. A study by the ACE found that individuals doing kettlebell workouts burned 20.2 calories per minute making it a valuable choice for HIIT training
  • Simple to increase resistance levels
  • Suitable for any age group and any bodyweight as it causes no impact on the joints
  • Can perform exercises in a limited space
  • Ability to work out several muscle groups simultaneously

How Much Weight Should I Use for the Russian Kettlebell Swing?

Whatever might be your fitness level and stamina, it is always recommended to start slowly and improve gradually.

Start your Russian kettlebell swing workout by using a lightweight kettlebell initially.

For men:

Inactive menTry an 8kg (18lb) kettlebell first
Active men8 kg (18 lb) to 12 kg (26 lb)
Athletic men12kg (26 lb) to 20kg (44 lb)

For women:

Inactive women4 kg (9 lb) to 6 kg (13 lb)
Active women6 kg (13 lb) to 8 kg (18 lb)
Athletic women8 kg (18 lb) to 12 kg (26 lb)

Source: What Size Kettlebell Should I Buy?

Practice on your form and master it. When you are sure that your techniques have improved compared to where you started, it’s time to increase the weights.

The main advantage of using a Russian kettlebell swing is that you can use two equipment in either hand (this can be done only after training for some time and getting a hold of the technique) or perform exercises using one kettlebell in one hand.

Traditionally, most individuals use one kettlebell holding it with both their hands, and this is the right way to start training on kettlebell exercises too.

How Many Reps of Kettlebell Swings Should I Do?

Ensure that you do at least ten reps during every set. Do as many sets as possible by taking small breaks in between sets.

Any workout benefits more when more reps and sets are performed with higher resistance levels.

With kettlebell too, strive hard to lose more fat and weight by starting off with lower weights and higher reps.

Start using a lightweight kettlebell and try performing reps within a certain timeframe instead of counting it.

Rest and repeat once again until you are sure of burning enough calories.

Aim for reaching the target heart rate too.

Greater reps always don’t mean ultimate muscle strength.

You can build more muscles by using greater weights and decreasing the reps.

This is an anaerobic workout as it involves short bouts of explosive exercise sets with longer breaks in between.

By doing this, you are strengthening the muscles by breaking them down; you are also building stamina and endurance as these muscles are deprived of oxygen.

But for this, it is recommended to use medium/heavyweight kettlebells, perform short sets of reps and benefit from increased muscle mass, endurance, and stamina.

How to Do Kettlebell Swings Without a Kettlebell?

Every gym mostly has a great range of different-weighted kettlebells, but if yours doesn’t have one or you cannot afford one for your home gym, don’t feel bad.

You obviously have other choices that do help you swing like a kettlebell.

Option #1: Kettlebell Swing with a Plate

Though this might sound crazy, just do the exercise to recognize that it’s beneficial.

Stand with your feet wide apart, and your hands are holding the plate tightly.

Bend your hips slightly when you thrust the plate in between your legs and thrust your hips forward as you bring the plate back to its original position (in front of hips) or take it above your head.

Repeat this movement of swinging the plate down in between your legs and taking it right up your head for as many times as you can.

Keep one thing in mind before you replace the kettlebell with plates: always use the power from your hips to swing the plate forward instead of putting pressure on your arms.

Option #2: Kettlebell Swing with a Dumbbell

Doing swings with dumbbells offer several benefits, including better coordination, improved glutes, and hamstrings strength, great exercising techniques in a small space, and improved hip movement.

The main difference with dumbbells is that the handle is at the center rather than at the top like a kettlebell.

This means that instead of holding in the middle, it is better to hold the dumbbell by the endplate.

Try doing 100 swings at least, which takes not more than 5 minutes once you practice regularly.

Thrust the dumbbells in between your legs taking it back to the hips (just like doing your plates).

Option #3: Use a Dumbbell Kettlebell Converter

If you have an extensive range of dumbbells and don’t feel like investing in buying a new kettlebell, don’t worry.

Kettle Gryp help in converting your dumbbells into kettlebells.

This saves ample money that could be used to buy other fitness equipment.

The Kettle Gryp weighs less than a pound and is highly durable made of impact-resistant ABS plastic.

Final Thoughts

Reap maximum benefits by working out using the Russian kettlebell swing as it helps you achieve a full-body workout.

The equipment consumes as little space as possible, can target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and is one of the best pieces for weight training.

But the way in which you hold the equipment and how you sway your hips are critical to refrain from causing any injury to yourself.

Also, make sure that you start with lighter weights and then move onto heavyweight equipment for optimal resistance levels.