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Comparison of Two-Hand Kettlebell Exercise and Graded Treadmill Walking: Effectiveness as a Stimulus for Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Thomas, James F.; Larson, Kurtis L.; Hollander, Daniel B.; Kraemer, Robert R.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 998–1006
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000345
Original Research

Thomas, JF, Larson, KL, Hollander, DB, and Kraemer, RR. Comparison of two-hand kettlebell exercise and graded treadmill walking: Effectiveness as a stimulus for cardiorespiratory fitness. J Strength Cond Res 28(4): 998–1006, 2014—Prevailing interest in the use of kettlebell (KB) exercises for rehabilitation and improvement of muscular strength has led to several recent studies, some suggesting that KB exercise may be useful for improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness. The purpose of this study was to determine whether KB exercise would produce similar cardiovascular stress to that of walking and thus provide an additional exercise mode for the improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness. It was hypothesized that a moderate-intensity, continuous KB protocol, would produce similar metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses as a brisk bout of graded treadmill (TM) walking, but greater rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Ten novice volunteers (5 men, 5 women) completed a preliminary session to determine body composition and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max and to familiarize participants with standardized KB exercise technique. Subsequently, they completed a 30-minute KB session that included 3 continuous 10-minute sets of 10 KB swings followed by 10 sumo deadlifts, with 3-minute rests between 10-minute exercise periods. The third session was a 30-minute TM regimen that began at the walking speed and 4% grade that matched the V[Combining Dot Above]O2 from the KB session and included 3-minute rest intervals after 10-minute TM exercise periods. V[Combining Dot Above]O2, respiratory exchange ratio, kcal·min−1, and blood pressure were similar for KB and moderate-intensity TM exercise, but RPE and heart rate were greater during KB exercise. Data indicate that a KB routine consisting of 2-hand swings and sumo deadlifts with 3-minute rest periods produces similar metabolic responses to those of a moderate-intensity TM walking protocol designed for the improvement of aerobic fitness.

Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana

Address correspondence to Dr. Robert R. Kraemer,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.