American vs Russian Kettlebell Swing: Which Is Best for You?

Various countries often have different takes on the same exercises. This is true for the Kettlebell Swing. You might have questions regarding the American vs Russian Kettlebell Swing. It's alright to not have the answers. This article will help you to analyze which of the nations did the look best.

You might be wondering about this because you are looking for your next innovation to your work out. Or you only might have an avid interest in how exercises are performed around the globe. Let's dive into an in-depth analysis of the Best Kettlebell Swing from both America and Russia.

How to Perform the Russian Kettlebell Swing

  • In the Russian version of the Kettlebell Swing, the Kettlebell is lifted in a 90-degree motion.
  • You take the bell at your groin area with your arms facing the ground.
  • Then you swing it up to your chest.
  • This motion is performed with a slight bend to your knees.
  • You also must keep your core solid.
  • It is also essential that you have a straight spine.
  • This means at no time during the exercise should you be bending down and up.
  • The only thing that moves is the bell.

How to Perform the American Kettlebell Swing

Now let's delve into how the Americans work the bell.

  • The American motion is more rigorous than the Russian move. You will be going an entire 180 degrees with this move.
  • You will start the action out in the same position as the Russian motion.
  • Make sure your knees are only slightly bent.
  • You want to be lifting with the arms and not the legs.
  • Then bring the bell to a straightened arm position.
  • The bell should be over your head.
  • Your arms will be in line with the rest of your body making this move.
  • This entire motion should be working the hips and only the hips.
  • If you are relying on your shoulders, then you are making the movement wrong.

Which One is More Ergonomic

Moves 

You have to think about when doing either of these moves. The Russian moves is obviously easier on the shoulders. If you have any sort of injuries, then you should be doing the Russian move. It will be a lot more controlled. The American move is great for people who want maximum use of the bell.

As an enthusiast who does not have any pre-existing injuries, then you really should consider the American version. You will be getting maximum use of your equipment this way. Also, it will translate into better definition when it comes to measuring the results.

Survey Your Equipment

You will also want to consider what type of equipment you are using when performing this motion. Of course you will find that if you have lighter bells, you might want to try out the American version. However, if your bells are heavier, it might be dangerous to revert to the American exercise. The Russian version will really give a concentrated effort, so try to use it if you have heavier bells.

Assess Your Participants

Also, another consideration when choosing which exercise to use is who will be doing the exercise. If it is a beginner class, you might now want them doing the American motion. It requires a lot more control. Otherwise, people might give up and end up dropping the bell. Or worse, they can swing and lose their grip. A flying bell has to be the worst safety hazard at the gym.

You might want to just do the Russian exercise if you have a group in general. You will find it easier to keep an eye on the participants even though the movement is shorter. And you will have less safety hazards in the air, literally and figuratively. You need to consider the skill level and the size of the group when you are choosing this exercise.

What are Your Intended Results?

You might want to look at the results that you are looking to achieve. If you use a heavier bell, then you will get some nice definition to the muscles. That might be something that you can look at whether you use the American or Russian move.

You will want to look at how heavy you can go. If you want to have larger muscles, then go as heavy as you can. You will want short motions also that are rapid on the uptake. This will work better with the Russian move. You will be able to do less reps but have them produce maximum results in the target area.

If you are just looking to improve a person's fitness, or your own fitness, then go with the Russian move. You will also want to make sure that you use lighter bells. Then you can use this as more of a cardio exercise. You will be getting some muscle definition as well. However, you will be looking to shed weight and some fat as well. This is not so much of a concern when you are solely looking to build muscle.

American vs Russian Kettlebell Swing: Choosing Your Exercise

The Russian and American bell exercises both have their advantages. You can always alternate with them if you want variety. Make sure though that you leave a day off for resting the muscles. This will help them to build up.

The 24 hour rest model is very important when it comes to the use of any weights will exercising. So even if you use less weights, make sure that you are resting for both of the American and Russian exercises with your days off. Have fun and happy choosing.

American vs Russian Kettlebell Swing: Which Is Best for You?
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  • Updated March 16, 2019
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