Kettlebell Swing Training Improves Maximal and Explosive Strength

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Abstract

Lake, JP and Lauder, MA. Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength. J Strength Cond Res 26(8): 2228–2233, 2012—The aim of this study was to establish the effect that kettlebell swing (KB) training had on measures of maximum (half squat—HS—1 repetition maximum [1RM]) and explosive (vertical jump height—VJH) strength. To put these effects into context, they were compared with the effects of jump squat power training (JS—known to improve 1RM and VJH). Twenty-one healthy men (age = 18–27 years, body mass = 72.58 ± 12.87 kg) who could perform a proficient HS were tested for their HS 1RM and VJH pre- and post-training. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a KB or JS training group after HS 1RM testing and trained twice a week. The KB group performed 12-minute bouts of KB exercise (12 rounds of 30-second exercise, 30-second rest with 12 kg if <70 kg or 16 kg if >70 kg). The JS group performed at least 4 sets of 3 JS with the load that maximized peak power—Training volume was altered to accommodate different training loads and ranged from 4 sets of 3 with the heaviest load (60% 1RM) to 8 sets of 6 with the lightest load (0% 1RM). Maximum strength improved by 9.8% (HS 1RM: 165–181% body mass, p < 0.001) after the training intervention, and post hoc analysis revealed that there was no significant difference between the effect of KB and JS training (p = 0.56). Explosive strength improved by 19.8% (VJH: 20.6–24.3 cm) after the training intervention, and post hoc analysis revealed that the type of training did not significantly affect this either (p = 0.38). The results of this study clearly demonstrate that 6 weeks of biweekly KB training provides a stimulus that is sufficient to increase both maximum and explosive strength offering a useful alternative to strength and conditioning professionals seeking variety for their athletes.

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