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

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

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Department of Public and Allied Health Sciences, Delaware State University, Dover, DE USA; Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE USA.
Department of Public and Allied Health Sciences, Delaware State University, Dover, DE USA.
Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA USA.


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).


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.


High-intensity interval training; heart rate


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