A comparison of the effect of kettlebell swings and isolated lumbar extension training upon acute torque production of the lumbar extensors

Luke Edinborough, James Fisher, James Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to use a fatigue response test to measure the muscular fatigue (defined as a reduction in torque production) sustained by the lumbar extensors after a single set of kettlebell swings (KBS) in comparison with isolated lumbar extensions (ILEX) and a control condition (CON). The purpose of which is to measure the physiological response of KBS against an already established modality. Subsequent data provide insight of the efficacy of kettlebells swings in strengthening the lumbar muscles and lower back pain treatment. Eight physically active males participated in a repeated measures design where participants completed all conditions. There were statistically significant reductions in maximal torque, reported as strength index (SI), after both KBS and ILEX exercise. A statistically significant difference was found for reductions in maximal torque between CON and both KBS (p = 0.005) and ILEX (p = 0.001) and between KBS and ILEX (p = 0.039). Mean reduction and effect sizes were -1824 ± 1127.12 (SI) and -1.62 for KBS and -4775.6 ± 1593.41 (SI) and -3.00 for ILEX. In addition, a statistically significant difference was found between KBS and ILEX for rate of perceived exertion (p = 0.012). Data suggest that both KBS and ILEX were able to fatigue the lumbar extensors. Isolated lumbar extension was able to generate a greater level of fatigue. However, contrary to previous research, the KBS was able to elicit a physiological response, despite the lack of pelvic restraint supporting the potential to strengthen the lumbar extensors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189–1195
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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