Table of Contents
- For more effective fitness, try swapping out burpees for kettlebell swings, according to a trainer.
- Kettlebell swings develop power, stamina, and full-body strength, including core and leg muscles.
- Get the most out of kettlebell exercise by learning good technique and avoiding common mistakes.
If you want to build full-body fitness, do fewer burpees and pick up a kettlebell instead, according to a personal trainer.
People love to hate burpees for spiking your heart rate and making your shoulders, core, and legs sore the next day, but they’re not always the best exercise for gains, according to Noam Tamir, founder and CEO of TS Fitness in New York City.
“Burpees done for low reps are ok, but they’re usually done for a set time or a crazy amount of reps,” he told Insider. “It’s very high impact, putting a lot of pressure on the shoulders and low back.”
In contrast, the kettlebell swing focuses on the underrated hip hinge movement to develop your glutes, hamstrings, core, and back, with less strain on your joints. Kettlebells incorporate metabolic conditioning for endurance and intense calorie-burning. Learning the swing is a great way for beginners to get started with kettlebells, Tamir said.
Kettlebell swings work your lower body, core, and cardio
Kettlebell exercises are great for building full-body strength and explosive power, trainers previously told Insider, because the unique weight distribution is great for dynamic movements.
The swing is one of the easier kettlebell exercises for beginners to learn, Tamir said
To correctly do a kettlebell swing, hinge your hips back to pick up the weight, keeping your back straight and core engaged. Drive through the legs and extend the hips to power the weight up to chest height. Keep your arms long, but avoid locking out your elbows or pulling, letting your lower body do the work. Control the weight on the way back down, letting it fall between your legs as you hinge your hips back and repeat.
Done correctly, the exercise will work the muscles of your glutes, hamstrings, and abs, while tapping into the muscles of your back and shoulders to stabilize.
At the same time, it can help build your stamina — kettlebells are great for weight training that incorporates cardio by elevating your heart rate with explosive movement, high reps, and lower weight ranges, Tamir said.
“It’s very metabolic, and it focuses on the hinge, which we don’t do enough of,” he said.
Start with lighter weight and prioritize perfect form
To get the most of your kettlebell training, Tamir recommends practicing with a light weight and higher rep range until you feel comfortable with the movements.
“Start with 12-15 reps. If it’s going past your shoulders effortlessly, go heavier,” he said.
Common mistakes with kettlebell exercises include squatting instead of hinging, gripping the weight incorrectly or too tightly, and overusing the arms to pull.
Focus on not rounding your back, and breathe in time with your swings, according to Tamir.
“It’s all about technique,” he said.