How Kettlebell Swings Work To Build Strength & Power

kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings are a great full body workout to maximize strength gains while boosting power.

You’re sick of the same old workouts, right? You love the bench press, squats, deadlifts, maybe even pull-ups. And those biceps curls and goblet squats are just getting to be a bit old for your full body workout routine. You need a change, but change can be hard. Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to find that one golden exercise you can use for all your needs but it can seem daunting to find. Kettlebell swings are that exercise to shake up your routine by offering a total body exercise that not only works to enhance strength, but also boost power so you get the best out of your performance.

While some may say the kettlebell swing exercise is that golden exercise you need in your routine, we won’t go that far. But we do believe this exercise is amazing and can offer diversity to your workouts that you hadn’t thought possible. And while dumbbells and barbells tend to get all the love in the gym, kettlebells are one piece of equipment you can’t ignore.

Let’s take a look at kettlebell swings and jump into this complete guide for this exercise. From what this exercise is, to muscles worked, and the great benefits attached to it, you are well on your way to seeing those gains you want most.

kettlebell swings

What Are Kettlebell Swings?

The kettlebell swings exercise is a compound movement that works many muscle groups in your body and is great for getting that total body workout. This exercise is used to not only increase strength and size, but also power and explosivity as you really work to get that weight moving and your heart rate going (1). With tons of benefits and a real ability to aid in both sport specific and functional movements, kettlebell swings are perfect for putting into your routine.

Muscles Worked

When it comes to this total body workout in the kettlebell swings exercise, many muscles get work done which can prove great for your sport specific needs and more functional ones. For your lower body, you really get great work done in the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves to aid in strength and power and this happens during the first half of the exercise. Your upper body will see your chest, shoulders, back muscles, forearms, and core all feeling a bit of a burn during the second half of the workout. All in all, this rounds out a great full body exercise.

kettlebell swings

Benefits Of Kettlebell Swings

The benefits of kettlebell swings are hard to ignore and can greatly affect all areas your training and performance, as well as your overall physical health.

Benefits of kettlebell swings include:

  • Strong posterior chain: A stronger back, including muscles like your glutes and hamstrings, will provide for better posture and balance during exercises.
  • Increased conditioning and power: This exercise will get your heart rate going and really work your endurance for a bit of a cardiovascular lift while also boosting power and explosivity (2).
  • Works your core: This exercise forces you to say engaged, relying on your core for that powerful stance.
  • Full body workout: Kettlebell swings allow you to work many muscles, both in the upper body and lower body, for a great full body workout (3).
  • Add variety to workouts: This exercise can be fun and engaging to add that necessary variety in your workouts to keep you in it.

How To Perform This Exercise

Here are the steps for performing kettlebell swings:

  1. Stand around shoulder width apart and have your shoulders over your hips. You will also tuck your chin for this movement.
  2. Holding the kettlebell with both hands, let it hang straight down with your arms extended. Your inner elbows will face forward and you should be in an upright position.
  3. The first half of this exercise will see you in a semi squat position with the kettlebell between your legs. Maintain good posture and a tight core.
  4. The second half will see you drive up, moving the kettlebell back through your legs and up to about chest level.
  5. Lower back down or make this a continuous movement as you repeat for your desired amount of reps.

kettlebell swings

Featured Kettlebell For Gains

Finding the right kettlebell can seem like a daunting task. But there are great products out there made of high-quality to last a while and provide comfort and versatility for all your workouts. So, while dumbbells and barbells tend to get all the attention, it would be a disservice to neglect kettlebells. And since home gym equipment tends to be expensive, looking to affordable and worthwhile options like kettlebells can be great. Oh, and don’t forget to use quality supplementation like a pre-workout and protein powder with a great exercise in kettlebell swings.

Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebells

Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebells are made from a single piece of cast iron with a well welded handle. Powder coating allows for a great gripping surface for whatever your workout may be.

These kettlebells from Kettlebell Kings are amazing for promoting better grip for safer and more effective workouts, overall protection of the iron for durability and longevity, and a promise from an amazing company in Kettlebell Kings. Each kettlebell is made from a single piece of cast iron so the handle remains intact and each is color-coded so you know exactly what amount you’re using. The powder coat ensures a solid grip for no slippage or poor form. The structural integrity of these kettlebells will ensure the integrity of your lifts and lifestyle.

Price: Ranges from $69.99 to $424.99

Check out our individual review for Kettlebell Kings Powder Coat Kettlebells here!

Check out our list of the Best Kettlebells for more great products!

Wrap Up

When it comes down it, kettlebell swings are a great exercise that you can perform to aid in strength and size, as well as power and explosivity. The ability for you to stay grounded and stable can greatly affect your gains and give you the best chance at performing at a high level. Don’t let a poor workout ruin your chances at seeing gains and add kettlebell swings into your routine to see that real change happen.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Beardsley, C.; Contreras, B. (2014). “The Role of Kettlebells in Strength and Conditioning”. (source)
  2. Lake, J.; Lauder, M. (2012). “Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength”. (source)
  3. Meigh, N.; Keogh, J.; Schram, B.; Hing, W. (2019). “Kettlebell training in clinical practice: a scoping review”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.