5 Kettlebell Swing Workouts For More Functional Muscle And Endurance

The kettlebell swing is the best exercise that you can do for any fitness goal. Listen, I understand that there can never be one singular “best” anything but when assessing specific qualities to improve, you keep bumping into the same winners over and over again. Regardless of if your goal is Crossfit or martial arts or endurance running or bodybuilding or hunting or even if you are a tactical athlete, the same movements are going to be on everyones list.

I’m willing to bet that the lists look something like the following

“chin ups, dips, deadlifts, squats, lunges, push ups, shoulder press, rows”

That covers the basics right? You can have a workout made up entirely with those movements and you can train every area of your body while building both functional and “non functional” (if there even is such a thing) muscle.

The kettlebell swing isn’t on that list for the same reason why it should be on the list. Accessibility.

All you need is one kettlebell yet if your gym doesn’t have one you won’t use it. Weird right?

Why do I think the kettlebell is the single best piece of exercise equipment?

The purpose of the dumbbell, barbell and even pin selected weight machines is the same, balance. While there’s certainly more instability with dumbbell and barbell exercise than there is with machines, the weight stays constant because it’s equally balance.

The kettlebell actually has an off center of gravity which challenges a muscle differently than a barbell or dumbbell. If you purely aren’t training for heavy poundage then the kettlebell is superior in my opinion.

Due to the actual design of the kettlebell you can train them more dynamically than you can dumbbells simply because the dumbbell restricts wrist range of motion.

I understand that we are splitting hairs here and as long as you constantly training in a progressive fashion you’ll see results but that bring us to the kettlebell swing.

It’s the only exercise from our earlier list that can increase strength, power and explosiveness anywhere and to a greater degree than barbells or dumbbells.

All The Kettlebell Swings

When we talk about the kettlebell swing we have to understand the differences between the Russian kettlebell swing and the American kettlebell swing.

The Russian swing is more hip dominant and relies heavily on  posterior chain muscle activation particularly in your glutes and low back. You’ll get a good deal of upper back muscle size gains as well but not as much as the American kettlebell swing.

The American version includes everything that the Russian version includes plus it takes you completely overhead. This addition increases shoulder, triceps and trap size and strength while also activating your glutes.

Since both versions have the same hip dominant extension involved you not only increase your glute strength but you also subtly stretch out your hip flexors. Our seated culture neurologically shuts off our glutes while tightening our hip flexors and this leads to back pain and poor posture.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the kettlebell swing regardless of version is the heart rate elevating cardio vascular output that you’ll get from the movement. I can’t think of any other exercise where my heart rate stays elevated for as long as it does during a kettlebell swing. The added fat loss is certainly a bonuses.

The there’s the mental health aspects of a kettlebell swing. Just swinging something relatively heavy for 10 or 15 reps in the middle of your day or in your workout can be stress relieving.

Ultimately I think the kettlebell swing should make up your training program. I think it should be a movement you include in multiple workouts per week.

Use these 5 kettlebell swing workouts to build more functional endurance and muscle.

Kettlebell Swing Workout #1
• 5 Rounds for Time
• 20 Kettlebell Swings (55/35 lb)
• 400 meter Run

Kettlebell Swing Workout #2

For Time
100 Kettlebell Swings (32/24 kg)
2 Burpees at the top of each minute
Perform the burpees at the beginning each minute, starting at 0:00, until all kettlebell swings are completed.

Kettlebell Swing Workout #3
“Assault Bells”
For Time
10-20-30-40-50 Reps of:
Calorie Assault Bike
Russian Kettlebell Swings (30/12 kg)

Kettlebell Swing Workout # 4
Foundation Five
AMRAP in 5 minutes
10 strict presses (75/55lb)
15 Kettlebell Swings (24/20 kg)

Kettlebell Swing Workout #5
“Cactus Jack”

For Time
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 reps of:
American Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Perform 10 American Kettlebell Swings and 10 Burpees, then 9 Kettlebell Swings and 9 Burpees and so on decreasing until the round of 1 and 1; then increasing again until the final round of 10 and 10.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of 10 Swings and 10 Burpees is completed.