Full-Body Exercises

The Kettlebell Swing Circuit to Kick Your Metabolism Into Overdrive

Put your next metabolic circuit into overdrive by going overhead with the American kettlebell swing.

Man Kettlebell Swing
Ian Spanier / M+F Magazine

Anyone who has ever handled a kettlebell under the supervision of a good coach knows that these primitive-looking weights can be invaluable training tools for building explosiveness, burning fat, and improving posterior chain strength and stability. But there’s more than one way to swing a bell. CrossFitters like to rock the American version, which differs from the popular Russian version in that the bell travels closer to the body and to a fully extended, overhead finish. You drive it up with the hips, but it can be more demanding on your shoulders than the Russian swing. Constant practice is the only way to negate that uptick in difficulty. Master it and you can count on hobbling away with smoked glutes, shoulders, and forearms.

Quick Tip: Keep the bell cocked slightly forward as pictured. This makes it easier to keep the weight in front of you and under control.

The Move: 

Hinge at the hips, bending with your knees while keeping your back flat. Squeeze your butt when your hips extend and lock your arms out overhead while pushing your head forward. Keep the kettlebell close to your body. It should be halfway between an upright row and the full extension of a Russian swing, with all the power coming from your hips.

The Workout: 

Building the American swing into MetCons is the best way to reap the benefits. Try one of these:

Exercise / Reps 

4 rounds for time

  • Run / 200 meters
  • American KB swing / 15
  • Toes to bar / 15

5 rounds for time 

  • Double under / 200 meters 
  • American KB swing / 15
  • Power clean / 5X135 pounds 
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