Back in 2020, I needed a solution to do my training at home because all of the gyms were under lockdown. (All I had is a kettlebell.)
In this article, I’m gonna clarify if it’s okay to do 200 kettlebell swings a day, and (most importantly) walk you through a couple of the routines that I’ve done over the last few months.
In general, you can do 200 kettlebell swings a day, as long as you do it in the correct form. This workout builds up your strength, power, conditioning, and stamina. Apart from developing a powerful physique, this routine helps you become stronger at every other compound exercise.
Here is my overall answer but to know more about what are the pros and cons, and how to get started with doing 200 swings a day, keep reading.
Benefits of 200 kettlebell swings a day
Doing 200 kettlebell swings a day helps to build your explosiveness, conditioning, and grip strength.
It also helps to develop strong back and glute muscles. Getting better at swings means getting better at anything.
I was doing around 200 kettlebell swings almost every day. It started when I was in quarantine in San Diego for 3 months.
The gyms were closed, so instead of doing nothing, I decided to buy a kettlebell and start workouts at home.
Swings give you better explosiveness
One of the obvious results was my explosiveness (which is a fancy name for being able to swing the kettlebell with less power).
- In the beginning, I had to put a lot of effort to swing the kettlebell to reach my shoulder level. And after doing so for fifteen reps, I was tired.
My heart rate was racing like crazy and my forearms got pumped. But just a few weeks later, I was able to perform swings much easier.
- In the end, doing swings became just much easier. Normally after 2-3 sets, I already felt every muscle in my back getting tight. By the end, I had to do much more reps to chase this effect.
You get stronger on other exercises
I’ve noticed that by doing regular kettlebell swings almost every day, I could do more pushups.
- Before doing 200 swings per day, I was able to do maybe north of 25 pushups in the first set.
- After a couple of months, I was doing close to 40 pushups.
The same with pull-ups.
- Before doing swings, I was able to do 7-9 pull-ups in the first set, depending on the day.
- After a couple of months, I double this number (14-15 in the first set).
Swings are great for strength and conditioning
The best conditioning results came from doing swings for almost the maximum number of reps until my forearms started to scream.
- In the beginning, I was doing somewhere around 15-20 reps. That made me out of breath immediately. Then I would wait for even up to 3-4 minutes and do it again. Also, my forearms got cooked easily.
- In the end, I was able to do even up to 40-50 reps.
- My personal best was 55 reps without break. I think I had a few days I went over 350 reps. But the weekly average stayed around 200.
The workout plan that I used was simple. I was doing a high volume of reps per set (as many as you can) followed by a ridiculously long break (up to 5-6 minutes).
Of course, I wasn’t doing it every day. It started literally from a self-experiment. And after noticing I can do more reps until I feel my forearms burn, I was carrying on.
200 swings burns tons of calories
One of the reasons I love doing swings with high reps is becasue it elevates my heart rate like no other strength and conditioning exercise. Higher reps mean higher intensity, which means you burn more calories.
In general, you can burn between 300 to 400 calories from doing 200 kettlebell swings, depending on the weight of the kettlebell, as well as what else you do.
For instance, if you add pushups and squats into your 200 swings routine, you can burn more calories, compared to doing swings alone.
Plus, you can do swings in many different forms.
- High volume + longer rest
- Steady pace.
In other words, you can combine kettlebell swings with other cardio exercises for better results.
Kettlebell swings build a stronger back
Another benefit of doing 200 swings a day is you will build a stronger lower back (this is a partial reason why I started the kettlebell journey).
I wanted to work on my back muscles, traps, and shoulders.
Of course, I could do other things.
- I could do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, or squats.
- I could put on a P90X or T25 and perform a “whole-body” workout, which is what I used to do in the past.
As much as those workouts are great, they won’t develop strong, and powerful back muscles.
The thing about swings is this is a dynamic hip hinge movement. This means it is working the same way as deadlifts or rowing on the Hydrow or ergometer (but is less taxing on the body).
Yes, there are many differences between kettlebell swings and rowing, but the movement remains similar (hip hinge).
Kettlebell swings give you powerful grip strength
One of the best benefits of doing 200 swings a day is the powerful grip and strong forearms. The more often you swing the kettlebell, the more your forearms need to work.
Also, keep in mind that swinging the weight for high reps means you train each set until you reach muscle failure (that’s when your forearms start to burn).
The same thing you can notice in all grapplers, mountain climbers, judokas, and acrobats. One thing they have in common is the strong grip and massive forearms (I know the person standing in front of me is a real savage by looking at the size of his forearms).
It’s just so obvious.
And that’s what I’ve noticed after doing 200 swings.
An unexpected benefit from doing 200 swings every day for 2-3 months was that my forearms got insanely stronger and bigger. As you can imagine, when my grip got better, I was able to do even more swings.
200 swings a day builds stronger glutes
Another benefit of doing swings every day is the glute and hamstrings development.
- Hip hinge movement is all about engaging your glutes.
- This means each time when you swing the kettlebell to shoulder level, and your torso moves into a straight “vertical” position, you must squeeze your butt.
This alone will help to fire up much more of the muscle fibers, which will lead to better muscle “glute” activation.
In the beginning, you won’t feel much difference. You may even feel like “this is stupid, why I must squeeze the butt?”
But as you continue, your muscle memory will start to do its job, adapt, and engage with each swing.
This means that the swing has all of a sudden become a great glute exercise.
This can get very confusing, especially for the female audience simply because they may be worried that kettlebell swings will make them look big.
(Hint: they won’t.)
Another aspect of squeeze-the-butt is that it’s a safety necessity.
The moment you squeeze your butt, you immediately default to the mechanically safe position that will protect your lower back.
If you don’t do it, just imagine how your lower back will behave after 200 heavy swings every day.
The kettlebell offers convenience
Plus, having a kettlebell at home also comes with other benefits.
It’s not just the 53-pound weight that you can exercise with. You buy a convenience.
- Normally before the pandemic hit, first I’d get to the gym.
- Then I would get on with my workout. And finally, after I’m done I’d get home.
- I would expect to spend at least 2 hours of my day. Just to get my workout done.
- However, when I was short on time I would simply skip the day. Cause I felt like it was “not worth” going there for only 20 minutes. And then I would feel guilty about it.
With kettlebells is different.
- Now, not only I can do my workouts anytime, even if they are shorter. Also, I can do more things at the same time while I exercise.
- I can do cooking and meal prep.
- I can do some house jobs.
- I can do my paperwork or my blogging, and even I can do my emails.
The list goes on and on. And here’s my point.
That’s a lot of stuff and it is all done while I train at home.
Which is a huge deal for me. Because once I get everything done. Not only I can focus more on the most important projects.
But also I have extra time on my hands that I can use on. Spending time with my family. Catching up with friends. Reading. Or even taking my dog Rolo out for a walk.
And it’s all thanks to one kettlebell.
Obviously, I can’t do all the same stuff that I’d be doing at the regular gym. But at least I’m in control of my day more than before.
That’s why I highly recommend you try that too. Cause if you like to go to the gym regularly.
But you feel fed up with all the BS that is happening lately with the pandemic.
Which is exactly how I feel. Maybe you can relate. But if you can look at your workout time as the opportunity to embed other daily tasks. You can end up doing more in a shorter time.
Without missing out on your fitness. Especially if you value your time.
One of the biggest disadvantages of doing kettlebell swings is the price. The kettlebells are usually expensive because they are made of iron or cast steel.
- The average price of the kettlebell is around $2 per pound.
- Depending on the weight of the kettlebell, the majority of the price is for the source, the work, and the transportation cost.
On the surface it may seem like kettlebells are expensive. But if you will look at it as an investment in the long-term benefit, you may change your mind.
- If you are buying a 53-pound kettlebell you are looking for a $100 investment.
Keep in mind that this kettlebell can serve you for years.
200 kettlebell swings a day for weight loss
Kettlebell swings are becoming one of the most popular weight loss exercises among the strength and conditioning community because of the benefits that they provide.
Over the last 15 years, thanks to the increased popularity of functional fitness and cross-fit gyms, there has been a spike in interest in kettlebell workouts.
And for good reason.
- It’s a good alternative to cardio, because it burns plenty of calories while increasing lean muscle mass and resting metabolic rate.
- They can be done at home with minimum equipment, without having to buy expensive machines or gym memberships. Plus, they don’t take up space.
- Also, apart from swings, with kettlebells, you can do over 60 different types of exercises.
How to get started with 200 kettlebell swings per day?
One thing you need to keep in mind is that you don’t have to start by doing 200 swings per day right from the start. If you feel like doing 50 or 100 swings per day is difficult already, relax and give yourself more time.
- Start by doing 15 to 20 repetitions of kettlebell swings in one set.
- From there, you can decide on how many sets that you will feel comfortable with.
- Doing 5 sets will put you in the range of 75-100 swings.
- From there, you can increase the number of sets/reps as you get stronger.
In the beginning, I managed to do only 15 reps per set, with the total number of sets between 8 and 10.
To be honest, this was good enough to feel the workout.
- I was tired after each session.
- I kept the rest longer (the timing of my rest varied, depending on how I felt each day).
- On the days when I felt weak, I could recover a bit more and focus on my form.
After a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed I can easily ramp up the number of swings to 20 or even 25 per set.
It’s really straightforward. You don’t wanna jump straight in the 200 swings number. Remember that the purpose of the workout is to get you to feel better at the end than you’ve been before.
Remember that technique is important, as well as your flexibility. This article covers how to do kettlebell swings without knee pain, based on my experience (and work).
Facts about kettlebell swings
- Kettlebells have been there for hundreds of years (they came from Russia, according to the internet).
- The Russian word for kettlebell is “girya”, which means the cast of iron that’s been used to balance the weight on the scale.
- Together with the popularity of exercises, there has been a huge increase in the scholarly studies that have been investigating the effects of this exercise tool.
- In the studies, the most common exercise was kettlebell swing.
- Its been proven that kettlebell swings can improve our stamina in many ways. This, however, doesn’t mean that kettlebells are better for cardio than, for example, running on the treadmill.
- Doing 200 kettlebell swings can build your strength, cardio, and stamina at the same time.
- Always remember to warm up before the workout, and make sure you can get moving for at least 5-10 minutes prior to exercise.
- That can be in the form of bodyweight exercises like squats, pushups, lunges, or sit-ups. Also, don’t forget to stretch and do some mobility exercises.
- I would recommend first having a visit to the local gym or a shop where you can assess the weight of the kettlebell in person.
- You can also consult with a trainer.
- For men, I recommend weight anywhere from 16 kg to 20 kg (35 pounds to 45 pounds).
- For women, I recommend anywhere from 6kg to 12 kg (15 pounds to 25 pounds.
To be transparent, I will highlight that I was using a 24 kg (53 pounds) kettlebell from the company called Kettlebell Kings available on Amazon.