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5 Smart Ways to Supercharge your Kettlebell Swing Workouts

By Greg Brookes

5 smart ways to supercharge your kettlebell swing workouts

Kettlebell Swings are one of the most important kettlebell exercises and achieve so much in just one movement.

In fact, no other resistance based exercise offers such a perfect blend of both cardio and strength training.

But, even the best exercises can get a little boring after a while and boredom is not what you want when workout consistency is the key to success.

Related: 4 Steps to master the kettlebell swing

Kettlebell two handed swing
Kettlebell two handed swing

So, here’s 5 ways to make your Kettlebell Swing workouts more fun…


1 Reps & Work Time

60 seconds is a great goal for the Kettlebell Swing. You can probably manage around 40 kettlebell swings in this time.

If you can’t manage 60 seconds then you can break down your work time into more manageable chunks with a short rest in between e.g..

  • 10 reps x 4
  • 15 reps x 2 then 10 reps x 1
  • 20 reps x 1 then 10 reps x 2
  • 25 reps x 1 then 15 reps x 1
  • 30 reps x 1 then 10 reps x 1
  • 40 reps (approx. 60 seconds)

2 Rest

The longer you rest the easier and more aerobic (training with oxygen) your workouts. Very short rest periods become anaerobic (training without oxygen).

Again a nice goal here is an equal rest to work ratio e.g.

  1. Kettlebell Swing x 15 seconds
  2. Rest x 15 seconds
  3. Repeat

or

  1. Kettlebell Swing x 30 seconds
  2. Rest x 30 seconds
  3. Repeat

As you become more proficient at the Swing you can start reducing your rest periods even further e.g..

  1. Kettlebell Swing x 30 seconds
  2. Rest x 15 seconds
  3. Repeat

Finally you can work on increasing or decreasing rest periods every set e.g..

  1. Kettlebell Swing x 20 seconds
  2. Rest x 20 seconds
  3. Kettlebell Swing x 20 seconds
  4. Rest x 15 seconds
  5. Kettlebell Swing x 20 seconds
  6. Rest x 10 seconds

You can then reverse this rest ladder or take a longer rest and repeat.


3 Speed

Changing the speed of your swing can have a big impact both on your cardio and muscle activation.

Try speeding up your swings by actively popping your hips through harder, stopping the kettlebell dead at chest height and then actively pulling it back down again.

Try:

  1. Kettlebell Swing Regular Speed x 15 reps
  2. Rest
  3. Kettlebell Swing Fast x 15 reps
  4. Rest and Repeat

You can apply these speed changing elements to all these other workout variables. Have fun and play with your swing speed.


4 Movements

There are 3 Basic Swing movements for you to master: two handed, one handed, alternating hands.

Related: Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Swing

One arm kettlebell swing
One arm kettlebell swing exercise

Single handed swings put more rotation through the body and into the core as well as overloading the shoulder stabilisers.

200 total reps is a nice target for swings, so you could break it down like this:

  1. Two Handed Swing x 20 reps
  2. One Handed Swing x 40 reps changing hands every 10
  3. Two Handed Swing x 10 reps
  4. One Handed Swing x 40 reps changing hands every 5
  5. Two Handed Swing x 10 reps
  6. Alternating Swing x 30 reps changing hands every 3
  7. Two Handed Swing x 10 reps
  8. Alternating Swing x 20 reps changing hands every 3
  9. Two Handed Swing x 20 reps

This is a challenging swing workout so you may need to rest after every few sets.


5 Load

Increasing the weight of the kettlebell will certainly make the exercise more difficult.

Just changing from two hands to one hand effectively doubles the load on the shoulder so be careful.

You can slowly integrate a heavier kettlebell into the one handed swing like this:

  1. Two Handed Swings x 10
  2. One Handed Swings x 2 each side
  3. Repeat

With time just add an extra rep to the one handed swing so:

  1. Two Handed Swings x 10
  2. One Handed Swings x 3 each side
  3. Repeat

Finally if you have a collection of kettlebells you can perform loading ladders e.g..

  1. Two Handed Swing x 12 (16kg)
  2. Rest 15 seconds
  3. Two Handed Swing x 12 (20kg)
  4. Rest 15 seconds
  5. Two Handed Swing x 12 (24kg)
  6. Rest 15 seconds
  7. Two Handed Swing x 12 (28kg)
  8. Rest 15 seconds
  9. Two Handed Swing x 12 (32kg)

Ladies can do exactly the same thing but starting with less weight.

After this ladder you can either rest and repeat or come back down the ladder starting at the 32 kg.


Conclusions

The Kettlebell Swing is a highly effective exercise for both strength and cardio as well as fat loss and improving your posture.

Your kettlebell swing workouts don’t always need to be the same, you can use a different workout each time just by adjusting all the variables listed above: Reps, Rest, Speed, Movements, and Load.

Take care and happy swinging,

Greg

What next? Start using these 5 intermediate based kettlebell exercises

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    1. Jo Anna Kloster Avatar
      Jo Anna Kloster

      Hello Greg,

      I am blown away by your site! I was surfing for info about kettlebells. I hit the JACKPOT with your site!

      But I am surprised by not seeing anything about bone building for osteoporosis. There is a program called Bone Fit that specifically uses kettlebells to improve bone mass. And that is why I’m surfing for kettlebell info. It would be grand to see some workouts devoted to those that have this medical/physical consideration.
      Regardless, I am using your advice to purchase the three weights you suggest for women. I am incredibly excited to start your program. I will start with your basics beginner positions then move into getting some of the videos. I appreciate your efforts to create this amazing site. Thank you, Greg!

      Warmly,
      JoAnna
      New Bern North Carolina