Welcome to Modify This Move, a series that will provide you with all the information you need to modify a common exercise to suit your needs, your body, and your mood. Each tale explains a fundamental fitness action in detail before offering a variety of variations based on your current level of fitness or energy, any current or past ailments, or the muscles you wish to focus on the most. So leave your ego at the door and make sure every workout is appropriate for where you are right now.
Full-body workouts are usually the way to go when you’re short on time but yet in the mood for a training session that leaves you feeling strong (and shaky) all over. But to get in an efficient, comprehensive strength training, you don’t have to perform a dozen exercises, each of which concentrates on only one or two muscular groups.
Make the kettlebell swing the star of the show, a total-body exercise in which you hike the weight from behind your butt and quickly swing it up to shoulder height. You’re using your complete body from the ground up, according to Joanna Castro , a New York-based functional strength coach and personal trainer who is NASM-certified. According to the American Council on Exercise , this particular action will specifically train your glutes, hamstrings, adductors, quads, forearms, lats, triceps, biceps, deltoids, and core. According to Castro, the maneuver can essentially be compared to a vertical plank. All of your body’s components are participating in the celebration and cooperating, she asserts.
And both the traditional kettlebell swing and its modifications conform to this assertion. In turn, you should feel at ease modifying or progressing the motion in a way that feels natural to your body and best serves your fitness objectives. You can use a scaled-down kettlebell swing substitute to help you concentrate on perfecting the movement if you’re a beginner wanting to establish the groundwork for excellent form or an expert hoping to correct any bad habits you’ve developed. Alternatively, you can experiment with various kettlebell swing variations if you want to work on your cardiovascular system or a workout that challenges your core . Whatever your motivation, don’t be embarrassed to modify the exercise to suit your needs.
Are you prepared to try the strength-training exercise? To learn four different kettlebell swing variations that are suitable for people of various fitness levels and skills, follow the instructions below. Once you have mastered the basic kettlebell swing, Castro will show you how to spice it up.
A KETTLEBELL SWING INSTRUCTIONS A. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands by your sides, and a kettlebell about a foot in front of your toes on the ground. With slightly bent knees and a hip hinge, descend the arms toward the floor. With both hands, hold the kettlebell handle and turn it toward your body.
B. Hike the kettlebell back and up between the thighs while inhaling. As you exhale, plant your feet firmly into the ground, contract your glutes, and drive through your hips to quickly spring up and suddenly swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Throughout the action, keep your arms outstretched with a slight bend in your elbows.
C. Drive the kettlebell back down and in between your thighs by hingeing at the hips and slightly bending your knees.
4 OTHER KETTLEBELL SWING OPTIONS There are other exercises you can try if the traditional kettlebell swing doesn’t suit your body type, skill level, or level of fitness. Consider using a kettlebell swing substitute to make sure you receive exactly what you want and need out of the strength-building activity.
Here, you’ll find variations on the kettlebell swing that work your core and cardiovascular system in addition to variations that scale the exercise up or down. Check in with your body and mind as you complete your reps; if anything doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to try a different kettlebell swing variant.
GOBLET CLEAN IS ANOTHER KETTLEBELL SWING OPTION TO SCALE DOWN Feeling overpowered by the numerous moving pieces that go into a kettlebell swing? Reduce the weight to a goblet clean to practice propelling the weight up without using the strong swinging motion, advises Castro. Instead of being placed in front of your hips, the kettlebell will be placed immediately beneath them in this variation. If you’re still hesitant to be more dynamic and explosive as with the kettlebell swing, she says, “anything closer to your body, your center of mass, will be easier and safer for you to execute.” It’s a terrific method to make people feel at ease and improve their connection to the earth.
A. While standing, place a kettlebell on the ground in the space between your feet, keeping your hands at your sides.
B. To lower your arms toward the floor, slightly flex your knees and settle back into your hips. Take both hands off the kettlebell handle.
C. Lift the torso and lift the kettlebell off the ground by pressing through the heels and bringing the hips forward. Bend elbows as the kettlebell gets close to your hips and let it rise till it reaches your chest.
D. Hold the kettlebell in a goblet posture in front of your chest as you lower both hands to the sides of the handle just before you reach the top of the exercise.
Level-up alternative for the Kettlebell Swing: Kettlebell Swing Complex You might feel ready to advance your training once you’ve mastered the standard kettlebell swing. To accomplish it, for example: Castro suggests using the kettlebell swing complex, which combines the swing, clean, squat, and shoulder press into one exercise. She continues, “You’re receiving more for your money.” More specifically, the additional squat and press in this exercise will make it more difficult on your your glutes , hamstrings, quadriceps, and shoulders.
A. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands by your sides, and a kettlebell about a foot in front of your toes on the ground. With slightly bent knees and a hip hinge, descend the arms toward the floor. With both hands, hold the kettlebell handle and turn it toward your body.
D. Swing the kettlebell one more time, and at the peak of the motion, place both hands on the sides of the handle while holding the weight in front of your chest in a goblet position.
E. Keep your chest up and avoid rounding your back by sitting back into your hips and bending your knees to lower yourself into a squat until your thighs are equal to or nearly parallel to the ground.
F. Straighten your legs by pressing through your feet to stand up again. Once the arms are completely extended, immediately press the kettlebell up above your head and toward the ceiling.
G. Returning the hands to the top of the kettlebell handle, lower the kettlebell back to your chest. To do the next rep, hinge at the hips, slightly flex your knees, and drive the kettlebell back down between your thighs.
Alternating single-arm KETTLEBELL SWING TO BUILD CORE STRENGTH SWINGING A KETTLEBELL You can test your core stability by vigorously swinging the kettlebell with one arm, advises Castro. She says that in order to keep you stable and prevent your trunk from rotating toward the working side, which is crucial for safeguarding your spine from harm, your core has to work harder than usual during this action. Castro advises that when you practice the kettlebell swing alternative, keep in mind that your free arm should move similarly to your working arm; as you hike the kettlebell back, it should also stretch behind your body.
A. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands by your sides, and a kettlebell about a foot in front of your toes on the ground. With slightly bent knees and a hip hinge, descend the arms toward the floor. With your left hand, take the kettlebell handle and incline it toward your body.
B. Hike the kettlebell back and up between your thighs while inhaling, mirroring the movement with your right arm on the outside of your right leg. As you exhale, plant your feet firmly into the ground, contract your glutes, and drive through your hips to quickly spring up and suddenly swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Throughout the movement, keep your left arm extended with your elbow slightly bent. The movements of the left arm are repeated by the right arm.
C. Grasp the kettlebell handle with your right hand and take it away with your left at the top of the movement. Drive the kettlebell back down and in between thighs by hingeing at the hips and slightly bending the knees. The movement on the outside of the left leg should be imitated by the left arm.
ANOTHER KETTLEBELL SWING FOR MAX CARDIO BURN IS A DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING. By increasing the weights, Castro explains, you’ll also increase the cardiovascular difficulty because it will take twice as much effort to powerfully propel the kettlebells. She explains, “It’s a good way to run sprints without actually running. Anyone can still receive a cardio burst while keeping their feet safe with this exercise, even if they have a bum ankle or can’t properly stretch their toes. To make sure there is enough space for the bells to swing in between your knees without striking you, she advises setting up your stance with your feet more apart than usual.
A. While standing, place two kettlebells on the ground approximately one foot in front of your toes, hands at your sides, and feet wider than shoulder-width apart. With slightly bent knees and a hip hinge, descend the arms toward the floor. With one hand, hold the handle of each kettlebell and tilt it toward your body.
B. Hike the kettlebells back and up between the thighs while inhaling. After that, rapidly rise up and suddenly swing the kettlebells forward and up to shoulder height by pressing your feet firmly into the ground, contracting your glutes, and driving through your hips. Throughout the action, keep your arms outstretched with a slight bend in your elbows.
C. Drive the kettlebells back down and in between your thighs while bending your knees just a little.
Anthony Cunanan took the pictures. Jenna Brillhart is the director of art. Joanna Castro is a fitness coach and model. Makeup and hair: Tee Chavez Girlfriend Collective’s activewear Exercise machine: Ignite by SPRI