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J Strength Cond Res. 2016 May;30(5):1196-204. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001240.

Core Muscle Activation in One-Armed and Two-Armed Kettlebell Swing.

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1Faculty of Teacher Education and Sport, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Norway; 2Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; and 3Hysnes Rehabilitation Center, St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.


The aim of the study was to compare the electromyographic activity of rectus abdominis, oblique external, and lower and upper erector spinae at both sides of the truncus in 1-armed and 2-armed kettlebell swing. Sixteen healthy men performed 10 repetitions of both exercises using a 16-kg kettlebell in randomized order. For the upper erector spinae, the activation of the contralateral side during 1-armed swing was 24% greater than that of the ipsilateral side during 1-armed swing (p < 0.001) and 11% greater during 2-armed swing (p = 0.026). Furthermore, the activation in 2-armed swing was 12-16% greater than for the ipsilateral side in 1-armed swing (p < 0.001). For rectus abdominis, however, 42% lower activation of the contralateral side was observed during 1-armed swing compared with ipsilateral sides during 2-armed swing (p = 0.038) and 48% compared with the ipsilateral side during 1-armed swing (p = 0.044). Comparing the different phases of the swing, most differences in the upper erector spinae were found in the lower parts of the movement, whereas for the rectus abdominis, the differences were found during the hip extension. In contrast, similar muscle activity in the lower erector spinae and external oblique between the different conditions was observed (p = 0.055-0.969). In conclusion, performing the kettlebell swing with 1 arm resulted in greater neuromuscular activity for the contralateral side of the upper erector spinae and ipsilateral side of the rectus abdominis, and lower activation of the opposite side of the respective muscles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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