Kettlebells: are you swinging them right?

Kettlebells: are you swinging them right?

If you use them, you may be doing it all wrong. Get clued up

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the risks with injury?

The most common injury that occurs using a kettlebell is in the lower back. Typically, it’s with the kettlebell swing, because of its dynamic nature – moving back and forth quickly at the hip joint. This exaggerated flexion and extension at the hip puts a lot of force through the lower back.” When it comes to getting injuries from poor form, the “arching of the back and not engaging the glutes in an overhead press or folding in a goblet position” can put you at risk of busting your lower back. It’s important that you know what you are doing.

Swing to it

Here’s how you can nail your routine without a risk of injury in sight. Time to get your kettle on.

  1. Kettlebell swings

What people get wrong: More often than not, people fail to maintain a neutral spine during kettlebell swings. This is vital when establishing proper alignment of your body.

The dangers: Incorrect use could damage your spine and the surrounding muscles.

How to do it properly:

– Stand tall, with your chest up and shoulders back.

– Rock your hips back and forth to build momentum.

– Bend your knee to stay constant. Avoid any signs of turning it into a squat, “…so the posterior chain is engaged and not the quads,” says Wardingley.

– Gradually build momentum through the hip and drive until your arm reaches a horizontal position and is parallel to the floor.


  1. Turkish Get-Up

What people get wrong: Putting too much extension through the lower-back and failing to engage the anterior core.

The dangers: Muscle damage through unnecessary strain on the lower-back.

How to do it properly:

 Lie down on your back and hold a kettlebell just above your right shoulder.

– Extend the arm and push the kettlebell above you, then straighten your left arm out to the side.

– Raise your right knee and move it across your body, planting your foot on the floor on the left side of your body.

– Move slowly into a standing position, keeping your weighted arm fully extended above you; keep your eyes on it the entire time. Keep the ribs down and the core braced throughout the exercise.

– Reverse the movement with complete control until you are back in the starting position. If it helps, think about sitting back into a chair.


  1. Goblet Squat

What people get wrong: Bending forward, resulting in an unnatural back position.

The dangers: Poor form could lead to spinal and lower-back injuries.

How to do it properly:

– Begin in a standard squat stance, with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your torso upright.

– Hold a kettlebell in each hand with palms facing each other, grasping them to your chest.

– Squat down until your legs are parallel with the floor, keeping the kettlebells in the same position throughout.

– Rise slowly back to the start position.


  1. Two-arm kettlebell row

What people get wrong: Not keeping torso parallel to the floor

The dangers: Be wary of the bending waist, the added spine flexion can cause a disc to displace or hit a nerve, so if it feels wrong, it probably is.

How to do it properly:

– Begin in a bent-over position, with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, and your torso leaning forward at the hips.

– Keep your head up to ensure your back is straight.

– Holding a kettlebell in each hand, pull your hands up to the side of your chest, rowing with your back muscles.

– Squeeze them for a second at the top then slowly lower back to the starting position.




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