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9 Kettlebell Swing Variations for Ripped Abs

The Kettlebell swing is an amazing movement to help you get ripped abs because it effectively combines cardiovascular training with resistance training exercises The movement trains almost every single muscle in your body, and can be performed anywhere, as long as you have a Kettlebell.

Most people use Kettlebell swings in place of their cardio. This is a great strategy, except when the weight begins to get too light. Which is why we need variations to the routine to keep our body guessing.  The following are 9 great Kettlebell Swing variations to help you burn fat and get ripped abs:

2-Arm Swings

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Then place the Kettlebell between your legs.
  • Use the overhand grip to grab the Kettlebell with both hands. Position your shoulders over the kettlebell; making sure your back is straight, and abs are tight.
  • Think deadlift position. Pull the Kettlebell quickly, sharply snapping the hips forward, and standing up to full extension.
  • Allow the Kettlebell to swing forward using momentum generated by the hip snap, without using shoulder or arms strength.
  • Think of the Kettlebell as a wrecking ball, and your arms and shoulders are only there to guide the movement of the ball.
  • Immediately reverse movement and swing the kettlebell back under hips and between legs. Continue movement in this manner until prescribed repetitions are complete.
  • You should be able to perform 20 good 2-arm Swings before moving on to the next variation.

Here’s a video for further instruction:

1-Arm Swings

  • This is the same movement as the previous but with one arm at a time.
  • Make sure that you contract your abdominals tightly as you perform the exercise.
  • Keep your free arm to the side, or behind your back. Do not rest your free arm on your knees.
  • Make sure to keep your back straight. You will need to use a lighter weight for this movement than you did with the 2-arm version.
  • You should be able to perform 20 good repetitions with each arm before moving on to the next variation.

Here is a video for further instruction:

Alternating Kettlebell Swing

  • For the 1-arm swings, you performed all the repetitions using one arm before moving onto the other arm.
  • In this variation, you switch hands in the middle. So swing the Kettlebell in front of the chest with one hand, then grab the Kettlebell with the other hand, and bring it down.
  • Think of it as a hand off, except the Kettlebell should be directly in front of you as opposed to above you.
  • This movement requires you to practice on your timing, so make sure to practice with a lighter weight before moving on to a heavier weight.
  • You should be able to perform 10 good repetitions with each arm, without stopping in between, before moving on to the next variation (20 total reps).

Alternating Kettlebell Swing Toss

  • In this variation you swing the Kettlebell in front of your body, then let it go in mid-air while grabbing it with the opposite hand. Think of it as juggling.
  • Once again, you will have to practice with a lighter weight before implementing it into your workout routine.
  • However, you should have developed enough of a hip snap to properly execute this movement.
  • You may want to raise the Kettlebell a little higher than chest level to get the proper timing.
  • You should be able to perform 10 good repetitions with each arm, without stopping in between, before moving on to the next variation (20 total reps).

Walking Swings

  • This exercise combines two movements: walking and swinging. If you do not get your coordination right, then the movement will not be effective.
  • Swing the Kettlebell above your chest until it is “weightless.” At this point, take two steps forward, refocus on the swing, and guide it back down to starting position.
  • Remember, swing up, step forward, swing down.
  • You should be able to perform 20 good repetitions without stopping before moving on to the next variation.

Here is a video for further instruction:

Single Arm Walking Swings

  • The single arm walking version is the same as the two-arm variation.
  • The only difference is that you would be walking and using one arm to do this exercise.
  • This movement will place greater emphasis on your abdominals, and really force you to think about each movement as you do it.
  • You should be able to perform 20 good repetitions with each arm without stopping before moving on to the next variation.

Shoulder Swings

  • Shoulder Swings take a break from the traditional swing to focus on isolating your shoulders.
  • Use very light weights. Hold the Kettlebell on your side, with both feet close together.
  • Perform the usual hip-snap motion, and allow the Kettlebell to swing forward. Do not expect the Kettlebell to move too high, but do expect to feel tremendous strain on your shoulders.
  • You should be able to perform 10 good repetitions with each arm without stopping before moving on to the next variation.

Full Extension Kettlebell Swings

  • Getting used to the extra shoulder tension will help you get ready for the Full Extension Kettlebell Swings, made popular by the Crossfit crew.
  • It is when you take the Kettlebell all the way above your head.
  • This movement combines the hip snap, but also activates your shoulders, upper back and arms once the momentum from the hip snap runs out to drive the Kettlebell higher.
  • You should be able to perform 20 good repetitions without stopping before moving on to the next variation.

Swing Squat

  • This is a tough movement to perform, but an amazing butt fat burner. You must know how to perform a Goblet Squat to do this movement.
  • Perform the swing, bring it back down, and row it up close to your body, as if you were doing an upright row.
  • When the bell gets to chest level, let go of it, and catch it with hands on the sides of the “horns.”
  • From this position, contract your abs, and perform a Goblet Squat.
  • You should be able to perform 10 good repetitions without stopping before moving on to something harder.

Here is a video for further instruction:

The variations are endless, and we’ll be adding even more great workouts, exercises, and training tips! To get updates, make sure you follow me on twitter @ShahTraining.