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January 14, 2010

Kettlebell Training Burns 1200 Calories Per Hour?

Josh 70lb Kettlebell Swing 1200 Calorie Burn CardioOk, so people have been making wild claims about how many calories per hour you can burn with kettlebell  training.

I know kettlebell training works, and even I was skeptical.

But recently ACE (The American Council on Exercise) was so concerned about these claims, they decided to do a study on the calorie burn of kettlebell training.

ACE is one of the oldest and most respected fitness research and certifying bodies in the United Sates.  And they're ultra conservative, they don't do fads, they don't do gimmicks...  they - they don't even do new or cutting edge!  They're oldschool.  They want proof.

They're kind of like a fitness Consumer Reports.

And their studies are so well documented, that the FTC uses their studies to know who to prosecute for fraud.

In other words, if they say it, it's real deal.

They're study on the calorie burn of kettlebell training blew me away.

Dr. John Porcari, leader of the study, said this. “So they were burning at least 20.2 calories per minute, which is off the charts. That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace. The only other thing I could find that burns that many calories is crosscountry skiing up hill at a fast pace.”

That's 1200 calories per hour y'all.

And that doesn't even include the afterburn.

I knew kettlebell training was awesome, I didn't know it was that awesome.

But it totally explains the results people get.

ACE Kettlebell Study 1200 Calories Per Hour
Read about the study in the January/February 2010 ACE FitnessMatters

Researchers credit the brisk calorie burning to the fact that the kettlebell snatch workout is a total-body movement that is also done very quickly due to the interval-training format. “We knew it would be extremely intense,” says Schnettler. “It’s a quick workout, and you do get a big bang for your buck in a very short amount of time.”

See the whole study here:

Even I was blown away.

Check out this table:


I've always said that the kettlebell swing is the most powerful fat loss movement there is.  Now we've got proof.

My client Kendra demonstrates swings with a kettlebell, gripper plate, and a dumbbell.

The test was done with the kettlebell snatch, which is really just an advanced swing.  In my Level One Class at Denver Kettlebell Boot Camp, we do swings.  In my Level Two Kettlebell Class, we do snatches.

Delain Ross, RKC2 doing kettlebell snatches

Both kettlebell snatches and swings have the exact same hip drive.  Mastering the swing is a precursor to beginning to learn the kettlebell snatch.

I cannot stress that enough - you have to truly master the one arm kettlebell swing first.  Then you can begin learning the kettlebell snatch.

Kettlebell snatches are more intense simply because they have a longer range of motion.

Longer range of motion = more work for the same movement. 

Enter The KettlebellSo you take the my absolute favorite fat loss movement (the kettlebell swing) and you increase the range of motion and make it even more work, and what you get is literally the proven most intense calorie burning workout there is.

If you've been doing swings and you've mastered them, and you want to take on the kettlebell snatch, far and away the best resource for learning the snatch is to get Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel Tsatsouline.

Josh Hillis RKC Kettlebell Instructor Josh Hillis is a level 2 kettlebell instructor (RKC2)
Certified Personal Trainer
Performance Enhancement Specialist
Movement Reeducation Specialist
Movement Integration Specialist
Author of The Stubborn Seven Pounds



Hey Josh,
This info is amazing! I recently started working out with kettlebells and love them! Now,if I could only get the snatch down. I keep slamming my wrists.

Do you have Enter the Kettlebell? It's got solid training progressions for the snatch.

Usually if people are smacking their forearms on the snatch it's one of two things:

1.) The kettlebell is going up and over your hand.

2.) The kettlebell is coming way too far forward - like in a swing.

For the "up and over" problem, it's all about timing. You really need to PUNCH your hand UNDER the kettlebell, instead of having it flip over and hit you. You punch under it while it is weightless and almost not moving.

You want just enough hip snap for it to "stall" right BEFORE the top, so you can punch under.

For the two far forward thing, you have to intentionally flatten out the arc. After your hip snap launching it forward, you have to re-direct that force straight up.

The line of the kettlebell should be a "J" - It goes behind you, then you snap it forward and re-direct the force up.

Yeah, I think it is the second part I'm doing wrong. I find I think of it as a swing thus bringing it to far forward. I'd love you to show a good demo of the snatch like you did for the swing. I got the swing down now,even impressed my fellow Crossfitters :)

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