Comparison of two-hand kettlebell exercise and graded treadmill walking: effectiveness as a stimulus for cardiorespiratory fitness

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):998-1006. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000345.


Prevailing interest in the use of kettlebell (KB) exercises for rehabilitation and improvement of muscular strength has led to several recent studies, some suggesting that KB exercise may be useful for improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness. The purpose of this study was to determine whether KB exercise would produce similar cardiovascular stress to that of walking and thus provide an additional exercise mode for the improvement of cardiorespiratory fitness. It was hypothesized that a moderate-intensity, continuous KB protocol, would produce similar metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses as a brisk bout of graded treadmill (TM) walking, but greater rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Ten novice volunteers (5 men, 5 women) completed a preliminary session to determine body composition and VO2max and to familiarize participants with standardized KB exercise technique. Subsequently, they completed a 30-minute KB session that included 3 continuous 10-minute sets of 10 KB swings followed by 10 sumo deadlifts, with 3-minute rests between 10-minute exercise periods. The third session was a 30-minute TM regimen that began at the walking speed and 4% grade that matched the VO2 from the KB session and included 3-minute rest intervals after 10-minute TM exercise periods. VO2, respiratory exchange ratio, kcal·min, and blood pressure were similar for KB and moderate-intensity TM exercise, but RPE and heart rate were greater during KB exercise. Data indicate that a KB routine consisting of 2-hand swings and sumo deadlifts with 3-minute rest periods produces similar metabolic responses to those of a moderate-intensity TM walking protocol designed for the improvement of aerobic fitness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / instrumentation*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Walking / physiology
  • Young Adult