30 Apr The Kettlebell Swing for Rapid Fat Loss

The kettlebell swing may be the most effective exercise for shedding body fat fast.

When combined with good nutrition for fat loss, the swing may be the king – seriously.

While it’s hard to crown any exercise the absolute “best” because there’s so many variables, I’d say it’s definitely one of the best we have available for the goal of fat loss and many other strength and performance benefits.

Now, that’s not saying there aren’t other great exercises for fat loss. There certainly are, but the swing is unique.

As I’ve stated many times before, the key is to learn how to perform this powerful exercise – correctly.

The Russian style swing is brutally effective.

For your understanding, the Russian swing projects the kettlebell horizontally to approximately shoulder level.

This is all that’s needed for a high level of cardiovascular conditioning and elevated metabolism for fat burning benefits.

Here’s proof, a powerful case study.

Take Tracy Reifkind, for example.

Tracy experienced a dramatic body transformation. She lost 120 pounds by focusing on – and mastering – this exercise.

Her secret was NOT monster “aerobic” sessions. Instead, she focused on the kettlebell swing twice per week for an average of 15-2o minutes.

The two handed (or one handed) kettlebell swing is called “a fat burning athlete builder” by Dan John, which may very well be the best description of the exercise I’ve ever heard.

My experience has demonstrated over and over again how powerful the kettlebell swing is for fat loss.

I’ve experienced it and when I want to accelerate fat loss, I simply increase the kettlebell swing volume and intensity for brief periods.

The swing is extremely effective.

It’s so effective, an entire book has been written about it.

There is no other exercise that combines the cardiovascular benefit and resistance training advantage like the kettlebell swing, in my opinion.

Possibly the kettlebell snatch, but the challenge is that the snatch is not as widely available for everyone to perform – it’s the next level of the swing.

The swing is the foundation of kettlebell training and virtually anyone can learn how to perform it with proper coaching.

Here’s a simple 3 step plan to get started with the swing the right way:

STEP #1 – Learn.

Learn how to properly perform a double arm swing or two handed kettlebell swing.

The best way to learn how to swing safely and effectively is from a certified instructor. “Live” training is best, but certainly remote coaching is reasonable.

Please use caution with YouTube videos, as many DO NOT teach the swing with a proper hip hinge.

The best way is to find a qualified instructor. There are also many solid books and training resources available.

If you’re new, I’d suggest starting with Simple and Sinister by Pavel

STEP #2 – Get the right kettlebell.

Use an appropriate size kettlebell (average strength males use a 16kg to 24 kg, average strength ladies use an 8 kg – 12 kg).

My preferred brand is by Rogue Fitness and can be found here.

STEP #3 – Start swinging.

A good “workout” could be 10-12 reps every minute for 10-12 minutes.

Of course, this will totally depend on current conditioning levels, so this is just a general beginner’s guideline and can be adjusted as necessary.

Again, the real key is to learn how to swing properly.

I can’t say this enough. If you learn how to perform a proper swing, you will get results.

For performance and full body strength, the Russian style kettlebell swing is a “complete” exercise and a “2 for 1” strength and conditioning exercise that’s very unique and effective.

Learn to swing – and experience the benefits.

To get 12 powerful and effective kettlebell workouts, grab the Kettlebell Impact Report, you can get it for FREE right here.


Tim Ferriss noted in his book, The 4 Hour Body, that he performed 75 reps of kettlebell swings just twice per week (Mondays and Fridays) and in 6 weeks he dropped to his lowest body fat percentage in years.

It should be noted that he did this after a light, protein rich breakfast. Nutrition obviously has a tremendous amount to do with fat loss, let’s be real here.

Beginners should start with sets of 10 and build up volume progressively.

I’ve found that anywhere from 50-100 reps total is typically effective, but this will “depend”on many other things.

If you’re more experienced, the opposite end of the spectrum is Dan John’s now legendary 10,000 Swing Challenge.

Not only in this a 4 week crash course in body recomposition, but it’s a test of mental toughness and grit.

Somewhere between 50 reps and 10,000 seems to be about right – of course, I’m joking.

50 to 100 is probably the “sweet spot.”

50 to 100 reps of the kettlebell swing is probably the “sweet spot” for most people in a training session – but this “depends” on experience, level of conditioning, and other training factors.

It’s a wonderful exercise that has a role in almost any program.

And for fat loss, it’s hard to beat!

Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS writes about training methods to optimize health and performance. If you enjoyed this article, join a strong and growing community of passionate fitness enthusiasts and subscribe below to get a ton of cool, free stuff! Subscribe below or go to RdellaTraining.com/join to get your FREE Report, Kettlebell Impact with 12 of my best Kettlebell Workouts.
  • Chris
    Posted at 21:20h, 27 May Reply

    Scott – I had been doing the kettlebell swing for a while but found the motion similar to the deadlift with a barbell. While the k-bell swing is better for cardio, I think the deadlift has other advantages such as ability to do with more weight and greater stability to help reduce risk of injury. Do you think the 2 are comparable? If so, would you recommend that I switch back to the k-bell swing?

    Thanks for your work on the great web site and podcasts!

    • Scott
      Posted at 17:19h, 29 May Reply

      Hey Chris,
      Great questions. I think the kettlebell swing and the barbell deadlift compliment each other. It really depends on your goals, but the big advantage to a barbell DL is the ability to use more weight, as you mention. I would say that the KB swing is exceptional to reduce the risk of injury, providing you have correct form. If you want to DL more, I think the swing would actually help to do that. They are both outstanding exercises, without a doubt. I would say to use both exercises and try make sure you are always improving your technique with each. The difference with the swing is that it is very fast and explosive. Hope that helps, but I would say to do them both, but depends on your goals.
      I use both exercises in my own training. Thanks for the compliments!

    • Nik
      Posted at 08:52h, 26 May Reply

      The whole point is to get your heart pumping and work out your whole body (what KB does). I don’t think its a good idea to do interval sessions of deadlift crossfit style. Where your technique starts suffering.
      Besides the great advantage is that you can actually own one or two kettlebels in the house and do it any time (especially in a fasted state in the morning!).

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