200 Kettlebell Swings

A Time and Space Efficient Workout

Kettlebell swings are a great way to learn the basic hinge movement, which is the movement you perform when deadlifting. Done right, you're repeating that hinge pattern a lot in a short space of time.

Not only do you learn that pattern, but you develop a good level of cardiovascular conditioning and strength endurance.

Kettlebell swings are not the best cardiovascular conditioning you can do. That honour belongs to running, closely followed by rowing. But kettlebell swings are as close as you can get to cyclical cardio as you're going to get with weight training.

[Just getting out of breath doesn't make something good cardio, you're getting out of breath for other reasons than the cyclical cardio that makes your heart powerfully elastic but that's separate post.]

Kettlebell swings are also good for developing power. In order to do this most effectively, you should get to the point that you swing a kettlebell that is one-third of your bodyweight. Then you develop that swing to be as crisp, powerful and explosive. Don't just add weight for weight's sake.

So, to the workout.

200 Kettlebell swings done this way takes 10 minutes (20 with a warm-up) and will make a difference to your cardiovascular fitness and strength endurance that few other things will do as effectively.

In my notation, the "200 Kettlebell Swings" session is written like this...

20 x (10 Swings every 30s on 30s - Alternate left and right hand swings)

OR

20x (10 Swings every 30s on 30s - Two handed)

How to do it...

Do a thorough dynamic mobility warm up for at least 10 minutes.

Select an appropriate size kettlebell with which you'll be able to finish the workout. As a guide, the heaviest kettlebell you should use is one-third of your bodyweight. 

Start a timer that beeps every 30 seconds and do...

  • 10 Right hand swings
  • Recover until the timer beeps
  • 10 Left hand swings
  • Recover until the timer beeps
  • Repeat for 20 total sets (10 per hand)

If you're doing the two-handed version, you just don't change hands.

Take a bit of time to cool down with any flexibility work you've identified that you need.

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Will Newton


In over twenty years of coaching, I have coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. My interest in getting the best results for people who train for health and fitness or the love of sport, rather than as professionals, drives me to find the most effective ways to get results. My mission is simple: Be in better shape at 70 than most people are at 20, and to help you do the same.

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