Kettlebell Swings are an amazing total body exercise to build power and develop the posterior chain: glutes, hamstrings, and back. They are also proven in studies to create a similar cardio and metabolic response as running without as much stress on the joints.
Here are my 13 favorite swing variations and a brief description on why to do each one:
1. 2-Arm Swings: This is the classic variation that everyone should master first before progressing to the more challenging variations.
2. Skier Swings: A closer stance and holding the bells on the outside of your legs auto-corrects the form of those who squat too much while swinging.
3. 1-Arm Swings: Creates a greater core, hip and shoulder challenge with the same load and helps strengthen strength and mobility imbalances between sides.
4. Hand-To-Hand Swings: Great for improving hand-eye coordination and grip/hand strength on the exchanges.
5. Walking Swings: Increases heart rate for a better fat loss and metabolic response.
6. Shuffle Swings: Similar benefits as walking swings but the lateral movement pattern increases lateral glute/hip activation which is key for injury prevention and performance enhancement.
7. American/Overhead Swings: Increases range of motion and the deceleration demands on the descent making the same weight feel heavier.
8. Swing to Sit: A great warmup or mobility drill to improve form and technique that also has a killer metabolic effect for higher reps or longer work periods.
9. Band-Resisted Swings: The band creates greater tension at the top of the move where it's typically easiest. It also slingshots the bell back down towards your hips make your glutes and hams work harder to absorb the weight.
10. Uphill Walking Swings: Similar benefits as Walking Swings with the increased gravitational load through the glutes and and hamstrings makes a lighter load go a longer way.
11. Uphill Shuffle Swings: Similar benefits as Shuffle Swings with the increased gravitational load through the glutes and and hamstrings makes a lighter load go a longer way.
12. Band-Resisted Swings (Hips-Attached): Auto-corrects form and technique by pulling you back into a proper hip-hinge. It also gives your hips tension to extend against at the top of the movement for more glutes activation.
13. Lateral Band-Resisted Swings (Hips-Attached): Provides a standing side plank stimulus that makes your obliques and hips work harder to stabilize your spine.
I love mixing between any combination of these exercises for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest for anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
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