Kettlebell Swings, How I Love Thee

How’s that summer body coming along??

If it’s not quite where you wanted it to be (or you’re looking to expand your workout repertoire), pick up a kettlebell. Just do it. The perks?

Fat loss. Firmed-up backside. Strength. Power.

Added bonus: because kettlebell swings engage your entire posterior chain (runs from basically between your shoulder blades all the way down to your ankles, and includes your butt, hamstrings and calves – areas many people are trying to “tone”), they are an extremely efficient use of your time at the gym. They combine cardio and strength into one powerful move.

They look small, but they are mighty!

Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Body, has a great demo of how to do a kettlebell swing. Check it out here. And follow his instructions to avoid injury.

Kettlebell swings can be your entire workout but also make a great supplement to a strength workout. A good approach is to choose a goal number of reps i.e. 50 or 100 total kettlebell swings, and then break that into as many sets as necessary. Make sure to challenge yourself by using a heavier kettlebell, upping the number of reps and/or decreasing the number of sets. If it becomes too easy, you’re no longer getting all the benefits.

Also, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure to keep your core tight and your spine straight. I don’t want anyone to hurt their backs here. Because no matter how great your summer body looks, it’s never worth being injured or in pain.

Oh, and be sure to have some protein after that workout. Aim for at least 15 grams (~ 1/2 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 2 oz chicken/meat/fish, protein shake), either as a snack or just eat a protein-rich meal afterword. If you don’t include protein, you’ll deprive your muscles of the nutrients needed to repair and build strength. In other words, protein helps to repair your muscles, making you less sore and helping to make you stronger.

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