What Muscles Do Russian Kettlebell Swings Work?

The Russian style kettlebell swing is one of the popular workouts that you shouldn’t miss doing it if you want to hit many muscles at once. The article discusses the many muscles that you work by doing this exercise. It works the upper body as well as the lower body muscles. The article discusses in detail the exact muscles that you work when dong the Russian kettlebell swing.

In addition to that, the article differentiates between the American kettlebell swing and the Russian kettlebell swing. If you don’t want to do the kettlebell swing, there are also various alternatives listed in this article that you can do. Some alternatives include the cable pull through and more.

Russian Kettlebell Swing Vs American

The two exercises differ in terms of the way you swing the kettlebell. You can use the same kettlebell, but the way you swing the kettlebell makes the two exercises different. When doing the Russian swing, you swing the kettlebell to the chest level. Then you swing the kettlebell up above your head when you are doing the American swing.

In terms of safety, all the exercises may lead to body injury if you execute them in the wrong form. But the American swing is riskier than Russian Kettlebell Swing - Russian twistthe Russian twist. Swinging the kettlebell up above the head put the shoulder joint under pressure. Therefore, using a heavier kettlebell can make the shoulder joint unstable.

It is advisable to use a light kettlebell when doing the American Swing exercise. But you can use a heavier kettlebell when doing the Russian swing, because it is much safer for your shoulder.

Therefore, with the information on American kettlebell swing vs Russian, you can make an informed decision as you choose between the two.

Russian Kettlebell Swing Benefits

This exercise comes with its various benefits. The exercise is much safe when compared to other swing exercises. Below are some benefits of the exercise.

#1. Lower back pain

The workout is good for improving the strength of your back muscles. It also stabilizes them. As such, it lowers back pain and injury risks that might affect your entire body posture.

#2. Engages Different Muscles

This exercise works many muscles. As you swing the weight, you use your arms, shoulders, hips, legs, and other body parts. Therefore, this exercise strengthens various muscles that you engage when swinging the kettlebell.

#3. Burns Fat

This exercise is also ideal for burning fat. In addition to that, by the end of the exercise, your heart will be pumping fast. Therefore, it is a good exercise for aerobics.

#4. Improves Endurance

The exercise challenges your arm muscles and other muscles that it engages. Therefore, it strengthens your muscles and also increases endurance.

#5. Increases Balance

The kettlebell swing makes you balance your body in moving the kettlebell up and down using different body parts. In addition, this exercise does not only train your muscles, it also trains your mind on how to balance the movement of your entire body.

#6. Improves grip strength

Swinging the kettlebell up and down is good at improving your grip strength. It makes your arm muscles stronger.

Russian Kettlebell Swing Alternative

There are different exercises that you can do in place of the kettlebell swing exercise. The alternative exercises must work the same muscles as the Russian swing workout.

Cable Pull Through Exercise

The pull through exercise primarily targets the glutes. In addition to that, it also works the quads, hamstring, and the calves. To do the exercise follow the instructions below;

  1. Start by attaching the rope handle to a low pulley position.
  2. Then grasp the rope handles with your hands and keep your body facing away from the machine. The rope should be in between your legs.
  3. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees to lower your upper body to form a 45-degree angle.
  4. Raise your body to stand upright. Squeeze your hips as you rise up.
  5. Repeat the movement as much as you can.

American Kettlebell Swing

Russian Kettlebell Swing - American Kettlebell SwingThis is another alternative exercise that you can do in place of a kettlebell swing. The exercise works the lats, glutes, shoulders, and forearms. This exercise is a bit risky therefore, you should do it properly. Follow the instructions below to do the American kettlebell swing workout;

  1. Stand with your feet at hip width distance apart.
  2. Bend your body and keep your knees bent as you grasp the kettlebell. Hold a kettlebell with your hands and swing it up above your head or until it is in line with your spine.
  3. Return the kettlebell down swinging it in between your legs.
  4. Repeat the move as much you can.

Dual Russian Kettlebell Swing

This exercise is also known as the double Russian kettlebell swing and it is done like the proper Russian kettlebell swing. The form is similar but the intensity of exercises is different. You use two kettlebells when doing the Dual Russian kettlebell swing workout. Therefore, that makes the exercise more difficult due to more weight. To do the exercise follow the instructions below;

  1. Stand with your feet at shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and hinge the hips to grasp the kettlebells.
  3. Grasp kettlebells and make sure that each hand is holding the kettlebell.
  4. Bring them in between your legs and swing them up to your chest level simultaneously.
  5. Lower them in swing motion and swing them in between your legs.
  6. Repeat the move as much as you can.

Single Arm Russian Kettlebell Swing

Single Arm Russian Kettlebell SwingThis is a variation of a standard Russian swing exercise. Therefore, the exercise works the same muscles as the standard Russian swing. The difference between the two exercises is that you will be using one hand when doing the single arm kettlebell swing. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Stand with your feet at shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your knees a bit and hinge your hips to bring your torso forward.
  3. Grasp a kettlebell with your one hand and put the other free hand on your back.
  4. Bring the kettlebell up by swinging it to your chest level.
  5. Return it down and swing it in between your legs.
  6. Repeat the movement as much as you can and then exercise the other hand.

Russian Kettlebell Swing Muscles Worked

The kettlebell swing exercise works a lot of muscles. Below is a list of muscles that you work as you swing the kettlebell;

  1. Shoulders – You use your shoulders to swing the kettlebell up and down. Therefore, you build your shoulder muscle mass. It also makes your shoulders more flexible.
  2. Forearm – carrying weight with your hands have an impact on your forearms. Hence, the kettlebell swing can strengthen your forearm muscles and improve grip strength.
  3. Pecs – pecs are shortcuts for pectoral muscles. They also get strengthened when you do the weighted swings.
  4. Lats – the lats muscles are responsible for initiating the swing movement. As you swing and bend, the lats get engaged. Therefore, this exercise is good at improving the strength of your back muscles.
  5. Abs – the abs also benefits when you swing the kettlebell up in the air. You can develop lean abs by doing the swing exercise.
  6. Hips – the kettlebell swing engages hip muscles such as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It makes them stronger and bigger.

Russian Kettlebell Swing With Dumbbell

As much as it named the Russian kettlebell swing, you can use a dumbbell in place of a kettlebell. The exercise works the same muscles and the form is similar. To do the exercise follow the instructions below;

  1. Stand with your feet a bit wider than the shoulder width distance apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell vertically with your both hands.
  3. Swing the dumbbell to your chest level and return it down in between your legs going backward.
  4. Then rise to swing it back to the chest level.
  5. Repeat as much as you can.

How To Do A Russian Kettlebell Swing

As mentioned above, this exercise works a lot of muscles. It has the ability to improve body balance and coordination. It also lowers back pain and injury risks. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Hold a kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet at shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and hinge the hips.
  3. Swing the kettlebell to your chest level and then let it go in between your legs. Keep your spine neutral and avoid bending it. Your arms must remain fully stretched as you swing the kettlebell.
  4. Swing the kettlebell back to the chest level and repeat the move as much as you can.

Final Thoughts

The Russian Kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises that works your entire body. This exercise works different muscles such as lats, shoulders, forearms, abs, glutes, quads, calves, pecs, and many others. However, it is a bit risky. Therefore, you should do it properly to avoid straining your arms and other muscles.

If you are not comfortable with this exercise, you can try other variations such as swinging with one arm. Another alternative is a cable pull through exercise; it also works the same muscles as the kettlebell swing.

Which kettlebell swing variation do you like doing and why? Share your experiences below.

6 thoughts on “What Muscles Do Russian Kettlebell Swings Work?”

  1. Hello there! Thank you very much for sharing this very interesting article on Russian kettle ball swing. I’ve gone though it and it’s very helpful as it contains valuable information one should hold on to. This is my first time hearing of the Russian kettle ball swing and it looks like it has lots of benefits. I’m going to start doing it now to get those benefits. Thanks a lot 

    Reply
    • Of course, I also think it will more effective for you too. So, if you are doing this workout at least one week, I think you can understand of the effectiveness of this article. Anyway, thanks you valuable comment.

      Reply
  2. Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. I must say i really did enjoyed going through your review as it contains valuable informations one needs to be aware of. I never knew this gym program even existed before now or we must have been calling it a different name here, this is pretty doable. I am going to give it a try

    Reply
  3. The Russian kettlebell swings is sound very new to me as this is the very first time I will get to hear of it. Well, from what I have read, I can understand that the Russian kettlebell swings is one of the most effective exercises needed for muscle growth. And I also got to know about the benefits of doing the Russian kettlebell swings.

    Reply
    • Sure, it will  more benefit for you to strength the body muscles. And this is more effective exercises that will see if you engage with it for at least 1 week, then you can see what am I say. Anyway, if you have any question, please comment me. I will help you as soon as. Thanks you for your comment

      Reply

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