Can Kettlebell Swings Give You Abs? (Here’s 4 Reasons Why)
Have you ever wondered if kettlebells swings will give you abs?
How much work would you have to put in?
Which variation of swing are you doing?
How many reps will you have to do and how heavy should you have the kettlebell?
A few questions to answer, let’s take a look below.
Can Kettlebell Swings Give You Abs?
Kettlebell swings are a compound exercise, which means they work many different muscle groups at a time – around 600 muscles to be exact! When you perform a kettlebell swing you are working your Latissimus Dorsi (back), Abdominals and Obliques (core), Gluteus Maximus (glutes), Quadriceps (front of thighs) and Hamstrings (back of thighs), as well as improving grip strength. This being said the nature of this ballistic exercise means you will work your abs when performing the exercise. However, it won’t necessarily give you abs, but it will help your overall core get stronger and build stabilisation. You also have to factor in the weight of the kettlebell, the number of swings and the time spent doing the kettlebell swing. Doing more specific abdominal exercises will serve a better purpose to give you abs.
1. Kettlebell Swing Variations
There are a few variations of the kettlebell swing. Let’s take a look at them below.
Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings: This enables you to tense your stomach as the kettlebell swings up while keeping a stable movement to contract on the way down.
One-Handed Kettlebell Swings: These work the body and initiate the obliques. This type of swing is more challenging because you’ll use only one side of the body at a time, which means tension in the core is critical to stay balanced.
Kettlebell Lateral Swings: This advanced kettlebell exercise requires you to swing the kettlebell sideways, this requires you to rotate your midsection. Take care not to strike your legs when swinging sideways with this exercise.
Whichever variation you choose, always make sure you have the correct form and posture when swinging a kettlebell to make sure you get the most out of the movement and prevent any type of injury.
2. How Many Swings Should You Do?
It is advised to build up gradually to around 300 swings a day, not necessarily all in one go. These can be done in sets of 10 doing 30 swings at a time.
This is based on doing the two handed variation.
This may be too much for some to start right away, as if you aren’t used to training with kettlebells, you may find doing too many swings too soon could injure or put stress on your lower back, as well as other muscles.
Doing kettlebell swings daily will help build your abs and overall core, however incorporating kettlebell routines into your fitness schedule to vary the exercises would be more beneficial.
Doing this for around a month, you should see and feel a difference in in your entire body. Always remember to have rest days to recover and don’t over do it, remember nothing is going to be achieved over night and will take time.
You also need to think about the size/weight of the kettlebell you are using and whether or not its too light or heavy for you.
As a beginner I would advise you to use between 4kg – 8kg kettlebell, as having something twice as heavy may potentially cause injury if you aren’t ready or used to training with kettlebells. A common problem newbies have is swinging a weight that’s not maintainable.
3. Form And Posture
With any type of training, it’s crucial to take time and get used to maintaining the correct posture and form to get the most out of your workouts.
A natural thing to do when first using kettlebells is to be too tense when swinging, by having your shoulders raised up to your ears and gripping the bell too hard. Try to relax a little and get used to the swing of the kettlebell.
Make sure your body is all in line when swinging. Don’t have you’re knees too wide apart and feet pointing out. Have a good centre of balance and make sure your lower body has a good line from which is natural to you and won’t put too much stress on certain parts with you having a bad posture.
Showing good composure will help you enjoy the workout. Keeping the kettlebell under control isn’t easy, but keeping it tight to your body and not letting it swing loosely will enhance your experience.
Foot positioning is very important, having them pointing out can put extra stress on the inside of your foot, while having them pointing in can do the same for the outer part of your foot…not to mention your knees too!
Have your feet pointing forward, with your knees in line above the feet, between the second and fifth toe.
4. Body Fat And Calories
Getting abs based on kettlebell swings alone depends on a few important factors. Purely swinging a kettlebell is not going to cut it.
Kettlebell swings will burn a lot of calories due to the nature of the exercise that is being performed.
To gain abdominal hypertrophy, you will need a heavier kettlebell and other ab specific exercises to do the job. However, as mentioned above, you can’t just swing a heavy kettlebell as it may cause injury, you have to build up to it.
Make sure you have a steady progression towards something around the 20kg – 30kg mark long term.
If you don’t have that heavy a kettlebell, you will have to increase the number of reps you are doing in order to build that core and abdominal area, just be cautious of overdoing the amount you do and causing an injury. It’s important to find the correct balance.
Having a balanced diet and steady training schedule will help keep your body in the best condition. You may not be able to get your abs popping from kettlebell sings alone anyway.
This will take a strict diet that many people will never achieve, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Although kettlebell swings can speed up your metabolism because of all the muscles being worked at once. Let’s not also forget a major factor are your genetics. We know some people can gain muscle mass easier than others, while some may not get anywhere near without the help of certain illegal chemicals shall we say.
Kettlebell swings are a fantastic exercise that work lots of muscle groups at once and is a great all round exercise. Don’t bank on getting abs of a greek god/goddess though unless your genetics enable this to happen purely from swings.
There are kettlebell swing variations as mentioned above to try, but doing them alone won’t give you bulging abs, although they will get strengthened and your core will benefit no end from the exercise.
Try varying your workouts and do more specific abdominal exercises if you want to target the abdominal region more.
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Till next time, all the best…
Lee – Sport CBDs