You may have seen kettlebells at your local gym, or being used by your favorite fitness influencer. Why are these strange-looking, cast-iron, cannonball-like devices all the rage?! Kettlebell swings are a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a workout method consisting of short bursts of high-intensity exercises, followed by shorter periods of rest. Read more about HIIT in this previous blog post.
While HIIT exercises in general are a great way to torch calories and build strength, kettlebell swings have some additional perks. Here’s a few of our favorites:
A study performed by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) showed that using kettlebells for HIIT can over time significantly boost aerobic capacity (the ability for your body to use oxygen to fuel activity).
They are also great for improving core strength and dynamic balance.
The moneymaker: the study also showed that 20 minutes of kettlebell swings can burn 400 calories - HELLO, efficiency!
Kettlebell swings are also great for strengthening the posterior chain. The posterior chain, which has been called the “powerhouse of the human body”, is the chain of muscles that go from your foot, up through your calves, all along the back, through your glutes, lower back, both sides of your spine and end just under your skull. So why do you want to have a strong posterior chain?
It improves posture, which can help counteract alllllll of that unhealthy sitting that we do.
Having better posture also can reduce back pain and even headaches.
Surely you’re ready to run out the door and try these puppies for yourself, right?! But first - one word of caution: it’s extremely important to perform these exercises correctly to prevent injury.
In regards to the weight, many pros suggest starting low (18lbs max for women, and 30lbs max for men) and building up once you perfect your form, and as you gain strength. As always, consult your medical professional before starting this or any new exercise routine!
BRB - we’re headed to do some kettlebell swings! ;)