Just as with any tool, the kettlebell can do some damage if they aren’t treated properly. Too many trainees see a picture or watch a couple of videos and give the kettlebell a whirl. The devil’s in the details with kettlebell training, but with many explosive kettlebell movements a few bad moves can be exponentially dangerous.
Some mistakes are obvious and require a complete form overhaul while others are a bit more nuanced. Here are five of the biggest mistakes I see with kettlebell training and the easiest fixes to get you back on track.
1 - Back Pain with Swings
Swings are a dynamic movement that require a hinge that already puts your back in potential danger and speed. Combining those two things with a client who doesn’t understand moving through tension. Get free kettlebell workouts here!
The Fix: Increase intra-abdominal tension through diaphragmatic breathing
2 - Slamming Forearms with Cleans
Cleans are one of the first movements trainees attempt with the kettlebell and it’s one of the first movements to hurt them. The problem is the bell is taking an “up and over” path which leads to a crash landing. It’s important to have the rack position down first, and then from there practice the path the kettlebell takes.
The Fix: Keep the bell closer to the body throughout the path and allow it rotate around the forearm.
3 - Too Much Knee Bend on Swings
Squatty swings not only negate the main benefit of what the swing is for (building a strong backside) it puts your back at potential risk. When you look at the bottom position of the swing when you’re in a high hinge and your arms tucked against your body you create an even weight distribution down your torso. This helps keep your spine nice and safe assuming the requisite tension is there. When a client gets a little too squatty typically the weight pulls down vertically instead of down and behind you. The sudden redirection puts more stress on your lower back.
The Fix: Practice the initial hike to reinforce the downswing. Your arms should stay close to your body during the downswing.
4 - Neck Pain While Pressing
Many trainees make the mistake of shrugging their shoulders while pressing the kettlebell. This creates excessive tension throughout the stabilizer muscles of the shoulder which will spread up into the neck. Combine that with extra movement through the next to create even more potential points of impingement
The Fix: Drop the scapula, engage your lats and AVOID shrugging while pressing or at the top of snatching.
5 - Ripped up hands with snatches
If you’re like most you put a kung fu grip on the kettlebell and for good reason. You don’t want a heavy, cannonball letting loose in your gym or house. Before you can attempt the snatch you want to make sure you have the one arm swing, clean and press down. From there it’s all about loosening up the grip! Get free kettlebell workouts here!
The Fix: Use a soft, but firm grip while snatching. Soft enough to allow the bell to travel through your hand without excessive friction and firm enough to keep the bell attached to you!