Maybe you fell in love with kettlebells during quarantine, or maybe your love affair with them has been going on for far longer. It doesn’t matter. Your eyes have been opened to the benefits kettlebell training grant you: more stability, improved grip strength, and a way to train without leaving the comfort (and safety) of your own home. But somewhere around your 100th swing, you’ve maybe asked yourself, “Can I and should I even train with my kettlebell every day?”
The short answer is, probably. But before you express order more chalk from Amazon and commit to daily kettlebell workouts, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.
It’s important to understand that not every person’s training and recovery are equal, so depending on how you implement both will influence your kettlebell training frequency. Which is why the first question you need to ask is…
1. Am I Recovering well?
I’m not just talking about if you’re warming up and cooling down before and after workouts (though, definitely do that). I also mean, what are you doing outside of the gym to help your body and mind recover from your training sessions?
Are you getting at least a solid seven and a half (minimum) hours of quality sleep a night? Are you eating enough calories, and eating quality foods? How are your overall stress levels? Because yes, if that work project is causing you anxiety, then your workouts will be impacted.(1) Simply put: Your self-care game needs to be on point if you want to train with kettlebells on a daily basis.
2. Am I Making Smart Exercise Choices?
If you’re looking to work up a sweat with your kettlebell every day, the types of moves you do definitely matter. You can perform a standard selection of barbell and dumbbell moves with a kettlebell, for example, and be fine. That said, lower your total reps per week for the first part of your training cycle so that your body can acclimate to the stimulus of using an off-balance implement.
[Related: Russian Vs. American Kettlebell Swing: Which is Best for You?]
On the other hand, if you want to do kettlebell swings every day — or kettlebell cleans, snatches, thrusters, and other explosive moves — you may need to pump the brakes a bit. That’s not to say you can’t do these exercises every day, but whether you should or shouldn’t is based on how you answer the remaining two questions.
3. How Fit and Experienced Am I?
If you’ve never swung a kettlebell before a few weeks ago, you shouldn’t up the ante to daily swings (or any equally taxing exercise). Even seasoned lifters need to give their bodies more space to adjust to dramatically increased workloads. And trying to perform explosive kettlebell workouts on the daily is definitely a hefty workload.
Even Dan John, the champion of the 10,000 kettlebell swing challenge, advises going hard “only” five days a week, for a month. Trying to sustain this level of work for seven days a week over a long period of time is usually a recipe for overtraining. That is unless your sleep, stress levels, and nutrition are all dialed in. There are a lot of variables.
[Related: How to Tempo Train with Kettlebells]
Two of those variables are how heavy your kettlebell is and how many reps you’re planning to do per day. If you want to integrate some light swings, for example, into your daily routine then you’re probably good to go.
However, lifters with solid conditioning and good form can possibly get away with a heavier and higher-rep kettlebell swing finisher every day. (Be careful on days you deadlift, though, as you may end up hinging too much and risk injury).
What if you want to make a few hundred swings a daily part of your workout (especially if a kettlebell is the only piece of equipment you have available)? Technically, you can do this. However, you shouldn’t engage in this of training for longer than four or six weeks.
4. What Are My Goals?
Before starting a new training split or trying a new training style, you need to assess your goals. Are you looking to challenge your grip strength and stabilizer muscles? Are you trying to lose fat or gain muscle mass? Or, maybe you just want to challenge yourself mentally and master a novel implement.
Whatever your goal, kettlebells can help get you there. Your task is to figure out what kind of daily kettlebell workout best matches your goal and the go with it. For example, if you want to reduce your body fat, you’re almost certainly going to want to be swinging, cleaning, and snatching fairly often. On the other hand, those seeking strength may want to move heavier kettlebells for fewer reps.
The Final Verdict
When all is said and done, your training should be sustainable. There’s a reason integrating peaking and deload weeks into competition training is effective. Yes, the body is great at adapting to the workloads you throw at it, but you need to make sure you’re not ramping up too quickly. Be strategic about the way you’re programming your kettlebell workouts, and you may be able to show it some love every day.
- Matthew A. Stults-Kolehmainen and Rajita Sinha. The Effects of Stress on Physical Activity and Exercise. (2015). Sports Medicine. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0090-5.
Feature image via Shutterstock/Srdjan Randjelovic.