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Mechanical Demands of Kettlebell Swing Exercise

Lake, Jason P.; Lauder, Mike A.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 12 - p 3209–3216
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182474280
Original Research

Lake, JP and Lauder, MA. Mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise. J Strength Cond Res 26(12): 3209–3216, 2012—The aims of this study were to establish mechanical demands of kettlebell swing exercise and provide context by comparing them to mechanical demands of back squat and jump squat exercise. Sixteen men performed 2 sets of 10 swings with 16, 24, and 32 kg, 2 back squats with 20, 40, 60, and 80% 1-repetition maximum (1RM), and 2 jump squats with 0, 20, 40, and 60% 1RM. Sagittal plane motion and ground reaction forces (GRFs) were recorded during swing performance, and GRFs were recorded during back and jump squat performances. Net impulse, and peak and mean propulsion phase force and power applied to the center of mass (CM) were obtained from GRF data and kettlebell displacement and velocity from motion data. The results of repeated measures analysis of variance showed that all swing CM measures were maximized during the 32-kg condition but that velocity of the kettlebell was maximized during the 16-kg condition; displacement was consistent across different loads. Peak and mean force tended to be greater during back and jump squat performances, but swing peak and mean power were greater than back squat power and largely comparable with jump squat power. However, the highest net impulse was recorded during swing exercise with 32 kg (276.1 ± 45.3 N·s vs. 60% 1RM back squat: 182.8 ± 43.1 N·s, and 40% jump squat: 231.3 ± 47.1 N·s). These findings indicate a large mechanical demand during swing exercise that could make swing exercise a useful addition to strength and conditioning programs that aim to develop the ability to rapidly apply force.

Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, Chichester, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Jason P. Lake,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association