30 Apr The Kettlebell Swing for Rapid Fat Loss

The kettlebell swing may be the most effective exercise for shedding body fat fast.

When combined with good nutrition, the swing may be the king for fat loss for most people.

While it’s hard to crown any exercise the absolute “best” because there’s so many variables, I’d say it’s definitely one of the most essential exercises we have available for the goal of fat loss – and for many other strength and performance benefits, of course.

Now, that’s not saying there aren’t other great exercises for fat loss. There certainly are, but the swing is unique.

As I’ve stated many times before, the key is to learn how to perform this powerful exercise – correctly.

Proper technique is key for training effectiveness.

I want to repeat that because it’s so important, proper technique is key for training effectiveness. 

The Russian style swing is brutally effective when it’s done right.

For your understanding, the Russian swing projects the kettlebell horizontally to approximately shoulder level.

This “can be” all that’s needed for a high level of cardiovascular conditioning and elevated metabolism for fat burning benefits.

Here’s proof and a powerful case study.

Meet Tracy Reifkind.

Tracy experienced a dramatic body transformation by incorporating the kettlebell swing into her weight loss program.

She lost 120 pounds by focusing on – and mastering – this exercise.

Her secret was NOT monster “cardio” sessions.

Instead, she focused on the kettlebell swing twice per week for an average of 15-2o minutes.

The two-handed (or one-handed) kettlebell swing has been called “a fat-burning athlete builder” by Dan John, which may very well be the best description of the exercise I’ve ever heard.

The kettlebell swing is a fat-burning athlete builder. – Coach & Author, Dan John

My experience has demonstrated over and over again how powerful and effective the kettlebell swing is for fat loss.

And, for improved overall strength and conditioning performance.

When I want to accelerate fat loss, I simply increase the kettlebell swing volume and intensity for brief periods.

There are many variables, of course. It also comes down to great programming.

If you’re interested in learning about a proven and highly effective program that uses the kettlebell swing and 5 other kettlebell fundamental exercises, check out Kettlebell Domination to see if it’s a fit for you.

There is no other exercise that combines the cardiovascular benefit and resistance training advantage like the kettlebell swing, in my opinion.

Possibly the kettlebell snatch, but the challenge is that the snatch is not as widely available for everyone to perform – it’s the next level of the swing.

The swing is the foundation of kettlebell training and virtually anyone can learn how to perform it with proper coaching.

Here’s a simple 3-step plan to get started with the swing the right way:


This is the critical first step.

Learn about the swing and how to properly perform a two-handed kettlebell swing.

What’s the BEST way to do that?

The best way to learn how to swing safely and effectively is from a certified instructor. This is ideal.

Live-in-person training is always best, but certainly remote coaching is reasonable and available these days.

Please use caution with YouTube videos, as many DO NOT teach the swing with a proper hip hinge.

The best way is to find a qualified, certified instructor.

There are also many solid books and training resources available.

If you’re new, I’d highly suggest starting with Simple and Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline.

This will give you the fundamental understanding of the Russian style (or hardstyle) kettlebell swing.

Even if you’re experienced, if you haven’t read this book, I strongly encourage adding this to your reading list as soon as possible.

I guarantee that you will gain valuable insights.


Use an appropriate size kettlebell.

Average strength males typically use a 16kg to 24 kg and average strength ladies use an 8 kg – 12 kg kettlebell. This may vary depending on current strength levels, general conditioning, and more (sedentary vs. active, lean vs. overweight, young vs. old).

My preferred kettlebell brand is produced by Rogue Fitness and can be found here.


A good sessions could be 10-12 reps every minute for 10-12 minutes.

Of course, this entirely depends on current conditioning levels, so this is just a general beginner’s guideline and can be adjusted as necessary.

Again, the key to this is to learn how to swing properly.

I can’t say this enough.

If you learn how to perform a proper swing with good technique, you will get results.

It’s a complete exercise and a *’two-for-one’ strength and conditioning exercise that’s very unique and effective (*’two-for-one’ meaning that you get the strength AND conditioning benefits with one exercise).

Learn to swing – and experience the benefits.

To get 12 powerful and effective kettlebell workouts, grab the Kettlebell Impact Report, you can get it for FREE right here.


Tim Ferriss noted in his book, The 4 Hour Body, that he performed 75 reps of kettlebell swings just twice per week (Mondays and Fridays) and in 6 weeks he dropped to his lowest body fat percentage in years.

It should be noted that he did this after a light, protein rich breakfast.

Nutrition, obviously, has a tremendous amount to do with fat loss so let’s not discard that fact.

Beginners should start with sets of 10 and build up volume progressively.

I’ve found that anywhere from 50-100 reps total is typically effective, but this will “depend”on many other things.

If you’re more experienced, the opposite end of the spectrum is Dan John’s legendary 10,000 Swing Challenge.

Not only in this a 4 week crash course in body recomposition, but it’s a test of mental toughness and grit.

So, how many reps per session?

50 to 100 seems to be the “sweet spot” for most people.

Performing 50 to 100 reps of the kettlebell swing exercise seems to be the “sweet spot” for most people in a training session – but this depends on experience, level of conditioning, and other training factors.

It’s a wonderful exercise that has a role in any program, from novice to advanced and from recreational exerciser to competitive athlete.

One thing is certain.

For fat loss, it’s very hard to beat.

Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS writes about strength training methods to optimize health and performance. Join the community of other passionate fitness enthusiasts or subscribe below to get a ton of cool, free stuff! Go to RdellaTraining.com/join
  • Chris
    Posted at 21:20h, 27 May Reply

    Scott – I had been doing the kettlebell swing for a while but found the motion similar to the deadlift with a barbell. While the k-bell swing is better for cardio, I think the deadlift has other advantages such as ability to do with more weight and greater stability to help reduce risk of injury. Do you think the 2 are comparable? If so, would you recommend that I switch back to the k-bell swing?

    Thanks for your work on the great web site and podcasts!

    • Scott
      Posted at 17:19h, 29 May Reply

      Hey Chris,
      Great questions. I think the kettlebell swing and the barbell deadlift compliment each other. It really depends on your goals, but the big advantage to a barbell DL is the ability to use more weight, as you mention. I would say that the KB swing is exceptional to reduce the risk of injury, providing you have correct form. If you want to DL more, I think the swing would actually help to do that. They are both outstanding exercises, without a doubt. I would say to use both exercises and try make sure you are always improving your technique with each. The difference with the swing is that it is very fast and explosive. Hope that helps, but I would say to do them both, but depends on your goals.
      I use both exercises in my own training. Thanks for the compliments!

    • Nik
      Posted at 08:52h, 26 May Reply

      The whole point is to get your heart pumping and work out your whole body (what KB does). I don’t think its a good idea to do interval sessions of deadlift crossfit style. Where your technique starts suffering.
      Besides the great advantage is that you can actually own one or two kettlebels in the house and do it any time (especially in a fasted state in the morning!).

  • Ste perry
    Posted at 13:49h, 19 April Reply

    Started 18kg kettlebell 4 weeks ago. At the moment I’m doing 30 2 arm swings, 15 each arm, 30 figure 8s with uppercut, 10 squat snatches each arm and 10 global squats. 3 sets in 22mins. 3x a week, Am I doing too much or do I need to move up to a higher weight!!! Lost 20lbs in the 4 weeks

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