How do the metabolic demands of kettlebell swings compare to treadmill running? A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared these popular exercises using men and women in their early 20s. Subjects performed a 10 minute kettlebell routine comprising sets of 35 swings followed by 25 seconds of rest. Men used 16 kg (35.3 lbs) while the women worked an 8 kg (17.6 lbs) kettlebell.
After taking two days off to recuperate, these subjects ran on a treadmill for 10 minutes at an equivalent rate of perceived effort, which turned out to be between 89% and 90% of maximum capacity. Oxygen consumption and calorie expenditure were significantly higher during treadmill running.
True Strength Moment: You might burn more calories on the treadmill, but running for hours on end every day isn’t the best path to weight loss or all-around fitness. Working upper and lower body muscles with kettlebell swings is a great way to build strength and aerobic capacity at the same times. Get some instruction on how to swing them if you aren’t familiar with the routine, and try switching between these two types of exercise on cardio days.