Acute Hormonal Response to Kettlebell Swing Exercise Differs Depending on Load, Even When Total Work Is Normalized

Leanne Raymond, Derek Renshaw, Michael Duncan

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ABSTRACT: Raymond, LM, Renshaw, D, and Duncan, MJ. Acute hormonal response to kettlebell swing exercise differs depending on load, even when total work is normalized. J Strength Cond Res 35(4): 997-1005, 2021-This study examined the acute hormonal response to kettlebell (KB) swing exercise using 2 loads, but when total work was equalized. Ten strength-trained males (25 ± 6 years) completed 2 KB swing trials, with an 8- and 16-kg KB, respectively, in a counterbalanced order. Each protocol lasted 12 minutes comprising 30-second KB swings followed by 30-second rest. Swing cadence was manipulated in each trial to ensure that total weight lifted was the same across conditions. Heart rate (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), using the Borg RPE scale 6-20, were taken at the end of each 30-second exercise period. Saliva samples (min 0.5 ml) were taken 15 minutes before, immediately after, and 15 and 30 minutes after each condition from which cortisol (C) and testosterone (T) were determined. Results indicated a significant main effect for load for C (p = 0.007) and T (p = 0.05) where higher values for both C and T were evident for the 16-kg load. There was also a significant main effect for time for T (p = 0.001), where T values were all significantly higher post-exercise compared with pre-exercise. For HR, there were significant main effects for load (p = 0.004) and time (p = 0.001) with higher HR seen in 16-kg load and significant increases in HR evident with increasing repetition, irrespective of condition (all p < 0.05). Rating of perceived exertion values increased with repetition for the 8-kg and 16-kg loads, but the increase was more marked for the 16-kg load compared with the 8-kg load (p = 0.002). The present findings suggest that KB swing exercise produces an acute increase in hormones involved in muscle adaptation, but that KB load influences this response, even when total work completed is the same.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1005
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number4
Early online date28 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

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  • Testosterone
  • cortisol
  • nterval exercise
  • endocrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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