Clinical Sports Medicine International
 The Journal Of All Movement Related Medical Topics In Health & Disease
CSMI 2015

Force, power and physiological load during kettlebell swings

Busse M & Kwast S

Institute of Sports Medicine, University of Leipzig (Prof. M. Busse, MD)


Busse M & Kwast S. Force, power and physiological load during kettlebell swings. Clinical sports medicine international (CSMI): 2015, 8 (1): 12-17

Purpose: To determine intensities during complex exercise it is necessary to quantify physical loads and physiological values. For kettlebell exercises, especially for the popular swing, there are only a few studies for physiological and physical loads. Furthermore, it exists no research for the use of kettlebell swing in the practical setting of performing cumulative sets until exhaustion with a combined measurement of power, force and cardiopulmonary parameters. This study is the first one which combines the investigation of physical and physiological research in functional kettlebell exercises, especially during the kettlebell swing.

Materials and methods: The study included 9 subjects (4 men, 5 women) which are experienced in kettlebell exercises. The participants had to perform two test sessions in randomized order separated by 5 days: test A: a ergometrical test to determine the maximum values of oxygen consumption and heart frequency; test B: 5 sets of kettlebell swing until exhaustion. For Test B the subjects were randomized assigned to perform with either 10 or 16 kg (women) respectively 16 or 24 kg (men). Every kettlebell weight (10, 16 and 24 kg) was exercised by three individuals. Oxygen consumption (K4B2, Cosmed, Italy) and heart frequency (PhysioFlow Enduro, Manatec, France) were recorded continuous during both tests. Power and force were additionally recorded during the kettlebell exercise (Beast Sensor, Beast Technology, Italy)

Results: Power and force during the swings significantly increases with higher kettlebell weights in a proportional relationship. The kettlebell swing produces homogeneous physical loads by regarding the chosen weight. The subjects reach higher set durations with lighter kettlebell weights. The heart rates tended to be a little bit lower during swings with higher weights, but all kettlebell weights produce maximal or submaximal heart frequencies. The oxygen consumption was higher in the heavier weights, but not in a proportional manner.

Conclusion: Power and force displayed homogeneous values during the kettlebell swing. So it is possible to predict maximum and average loads during the swing from the kettlebell weight. Oxygen consumption and heart rate reactions seemed to be regulated in a different manner. Whereas the heart frequency reaches maximum values in every kettlebell weight while the oxygen consumption depends on the chosen weight and reaches only submaximal intensities. In conclusion the kettlebell swing is a safe exercise with homogeneous physical and physiological stress. Additional research is necessary to fully understand the mechanisms of cardiac and metabolic regulations.

Keywords: kettlebell, power, force, oxygen consumption, heart rate