Hamstring Myoelectrical Activity During Three Different Kettlebell Swing Exercises

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Jul;34(7):1953-1958. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002254.


Del Monte, MJ, Opar, DA, Timmins, RG, Ross, JA, Keogh, JWL, and Lorenzen, C. Hamstring myoelectrical activity during three different kettlebell swing exercises. J Strength Cond Res 34(7): 1953-1958, 2020-Kettlebell exercises have become an increasingly popular form of resistance training and component of lower-body rehabilitative training programs, despite a lack of scientific literature illustrating internal mechanisms and effectiveness of these approaches. Participants (n = 14) performed 3 different styles of kettlebell swings (hip hinge, squat, and double knee extension) and were assessed for medial hamstrings (MHs) and biceps femoris (BF) myoelectrical activity through surface electromyography (sEMG). Bipolar pregelled Ag/AgCl sEMG electrodes (10 mm diameter, 20 mm interelectrode distance) were placed on the participant's dominant limb after correct skin preparation. There was a main effect for swing type (p = 0.004), where the hip hinge swing elicited a greater overall MH and BF sEMG in comparison with the squat swing (mean difference = 3.92; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.53-6.32; p = 0.002) and the double knee extension swing (mean difference = 5.32; 95% CI = 0.80-9.83; p = 0.020). Across all swing types, normalized percentage of MH sEMG was significantly higher compared with the BF (mean difference = 9.93; 95% CI = 1.67-18.19; p = 0.022). The hip hinge kettlebell swing produced the greatest amount of hamstring sEMG for the 3 styles of kettlebell swings assessed. These findings have implications for the application of kettlebell swing exercises in strength and conditioning, injury prevention, and rehabilitation programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Hamstring Muscles / physiology*
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Male
  • Resistance Training / methods*