The Kettlebell Swing

by Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. on April 15, 2012

In early 2000, I injured my lower back, repetitive use injury from bending over people day after day.  I did everything I could think of to rehab it.  Yoga, TaiChi, weight lifting, Pilates…. but my back just kept getting more painful and weaker.  I spent almost a year living in a lumbar support so that I could just function and do my job.  Walking, sneezing and lying on my back  would cause spasms and pain. 

In late 2004, Pavel Tsatouline, M.S. recommended I try working out with the kettlebell.  I remember doing 10 swings with a 8 kg (16 pound) bell and being very out of breath.  3-4 years of no regular exercise due to the spasms had rendered me extremely unfit.  But I persevered.  Within a month of doing the swing I could sneeze without spasms.  It was the miracle piece of equipment for me. Eventually I became painfree and extremely strong.  In April 2005 I became an R.K.C. (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) instructor and began teaching kettlebells to my clients.

All these years later, I still do the kettlebell swing to keep my back strong.  The kettlebell doesn’t just give me strength it gives my muscles endurance so that I can bend over people day after day without any pain or weakness. I do swings in front of the tv, at lunch or when I have a break between patients.  Simple but very effective.

Besides back strength, the swing keeps my arms, legs, buttocks and core strong.  When I use a heavier bell I get my cardio in there too.  What else do you need?  I am one that doesn’t need much variety.  I just need to get the job done. 

Here is my demonstration of the kettlebell swing.  Enjoy.

Yours In Health!

Dr. Wendy

Bryan April 15, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Great video, I am going to recommed this to my friend who has always had back issues.

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Shane April 15, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Great vid. I always need new back exercises. Keep it strong! Thanks for the new idea! I will try it!

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Margarita April 15, 2012 at 8:02 PM

You are awesome. I have back problems all the time. Has something to do with my lower vertebra. I also have scoliosis. I am going to include it in my daily workout. Why it is called Russian Kettlebell Challenge?

Cherie Miranda April 15, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Thanks, Wendy! I love working out with kettlebells, and I think it’s great that they helped you so much with your lower back!

Cherie Miranda
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G.E. Moon II April 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Dr. Wendy, what size kettlebell are you swinging in your video?

Yours In Health!

G.E. Moon II

Clare Delaney April 15, 2012 at 8:57 PM

I’ve seen kettlebells but not known how to use them – until now. Thanks!

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Dan April 15, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Great advice – although I’m not sure you can trust the Russians – consider that my last name was originally Dubrov – ;>)

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Wendy, Thanks for the video. I am going to go and get a kettle bell tomorrow for my back issues.
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Jc MacKenzie April 16, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Thank you so much. I still have my original tape from Pavel but never thought of it. My wife has growing pain in her back [ herniated disc, osteoarthritis] evidently aggravated by two rounds with cancer in less than 4 years. I never thought about that kettle bell.

Thanks again.

Be Well.

Kevin Hogan April 16, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Never heard of a kettlebell before. Would they be useful for helping to prevent back pain in the first place?

Mark Hogan

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Suzanne Laramoe April 16, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Back, butt and core? Sounds like the perfect workout!

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rachel April 16, 2012 at 1:38 PM

My sister in law has always had back issues so when her doctor recommended this as a form of exercise she was skeptical. But she has had great success with this!
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Peter Tamosaitis April 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Great Video, I will be getting kettle bells to do your exercises for prevention.

Peter Tamosaitis

Sonya Lenzo April 16, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Sounds like an excellent program for back issues!
Sonya Lenzo

Jennifer Battaglino April 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

I love that I got to see someone working with kettlebells in motion. Didn’t realize it could address cardio as well.
Great info.

Jennifer Battaglino
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Lyle R. Johnson April 16, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Great Video.

A picture (video) explains it well.


Annie Born April 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Dr Wendy!
You make it seem so easy!
Looking forward to tomorrow!
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Suzanne Laramoe April 17, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Could I do the same thing with handheld weights?

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Michael D Walker April 17, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Great to hear how Pavel got you started on kettlebell workouts. Thanks for making the video so we could see how to properly do the kettlebell swing! Also glad your back is doing much better.

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Neil Dhawan April 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Hi Dr. Wendy,

The video of the Kettleball swing was very helpful. I like learning about any exercise that helps to strengthen the core, too.

Stay Amazing, Neil

Kevin Hogan April 27, 2012 at 4:44 AM

If you just start using these, what are the chances of pulling a muscle(s) in your lower back?

Mark Hogan
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