Cardiovascular and Metabolic Demads of the Kettlebell Swing using Tabata Interval versus a Traditional Resistance Protocol

Int J Exerc Sci. 2014 Jul 1;7(3):179-185. eCollection 2014.


Tabata (TAB) training, consisting of eight cycles of 20 seconds of maximal exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, is time-efficient, with aerobic and anaerobic benefit. This study investigated the cardiovascular and metabolic demands of a TAB versus traditional (TRAD) resistance protocol with the kettlebell swing. Fourteen young (18-25y), non-obese (BMI 25.7±0.8 kg/m2) participants reported on three occasions. All testing incorporated measurements of HR, oxygen consumption, and blood lactate accumulation. Each participant completed Tabata kettlebell swings (male- 8kg, female- 4.5kg; 8 intervals; 20s maximal repetitions, 10s rest). On a subsequent visit (TRAD), the total swings from the TAB protocol were evenly divided into 4 sets, with 90s rest between sets. Outcome measures were compared using paired t-tests. The TAB was completed more quickly than the TRAD protocol (240.0±0.0 v. 521.5±3.3 sec, P<0.01), at a higher perceived exertion (Borg RPE; 15.1±0.7 v. 11.7±0.9, P<0.01). The TAB elicited a higher average VO2 value (33.1±1.5 v. 27.2±1.6 ml/kg/min, P<0.01), percent of VO2peak achieved (71.0±0.3 v. 58.4±0.3%, P<0.01), maximal HR (162.4±4.6 v. 145.6±4.8 bpm, P<0.01), and post-exercise blood lactate concentration (6.4±1.1 v. 3.7±0.5 mmol/L, P<0.01).

Conclusion: The kettlebell swing demonstrated significantly greater cardiovascular and metabolic responses within a TAB vs. TRAD framework. Appropriate screening and risk stratification are advised before implementing kettlebell swings.

Keywords: High-intensity interval training; heart rate.