CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Sports Med Int Open 2019; 03(01): E12-E18
DOI: 10.1055/a-0869-7228
Training & Testing
Eigentümer und Copyright ©Georg Thieme Verlag KG 2019

Trunk Muscle Activity in One- and Two-Armed American Kettlebell Swing in Resistance-Trained Men

Vidar Andersen
1  Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway.
Marius Steiro Fimland
2  Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
3  Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
Atle Saeterbakken
1  Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway.
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 17 October 2018
revised 22 February 2019

accepted 25 February 2019

Publication Date:
21 March 2019 (online)



The aim of the study was to compare the one-armed vs. two-armed American kettlebell swing on trunk muscle activation. Fifteen resistance-trained men performed ten repetitions of both exercises using a 14-kg kettlebell. Surface EMG from the erector spinae, rectus abdominis and external oblique muscles were collected on both sides of the trunk. The erector spinae activation during the one-armed swing was 14–25% higher on the contralateral compared to the ipsilateral side in both exercises (Cohen’s d effect size [ES]=0.41–0.71, p ˂ 0.001–0.034). Further, the contralateral side was 14% more activated during the two-armed swing compared to the ipsilateral side during the one-armed swing (ES=0.43, p=0.009). For the rectus abdominis muscle, the two-armed swing induced higher activation of the rectus abdominis compared to the one-armed swing on both the contralateral (40%, ES=0.48, p=0.040) and ipsilateral side (59%, ES=0.83, p=0.002). There were no differences for the external oblique muscle (p=0.495–0.662). In conclusion, the trunk activation patterns of the two exercises were different, which could be explained by different biomechanics in the two exercises, and could thus have complimentary effects. We recommend that both unilateral and bilateral execution of the American kettlebell swing is included over time.