Do you want to eliminate back pains?
Do you want to move freely and with ease?
Do you want to explore ranges that you’ve not gone to before?
The ability for your spine to rotate with ease and through a good range of motion is an absolute must to stay injury free and live a healthy and as pain-free as possible life.
Any person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina should have the ability to rotate and move their spine in all directions that it’s capable of. By default, the spine is capable of a lot of things and slowly as those ranges are no longer tested, the ability and strength fade. This is not due to old age but due to non-use.
The spine is the core of our skeletal system. Having strong core muscles is essential for protecting the spine through proper load transfer between the upper and lower body.
Are kettlebells safe for your back? Are kettlebells bad for your back? Can kettlebells hurt your back?
Yes, when done correctly, kettlebells are safe for your back. Yes, when done incorrectly, just like any other tool, kettlebells can be bad for the back, or rather the program and not the kettlebell is bad. No, a kettlebell does not hurt your back but the incorrect progression, form and technique, or not leaving the ego at the door can hurt your back.
There are plenty of myths in the fitness industry and one of them is that we should not load our spine with lateral flexion, rotation, or other movements. The other is that we should not lift with our back/spine. These myths fall in the same category as no knees over the toes and are unfortunately to this day spread even by coaches held in high regard and with plenty of years of experience behind them.
The spine should rotate, flex, and extend under load. At first, just under a load of your body weight. Always within the safe range, which is between more than you have been doing and within a safe range. Progression will add more load and range gradually. Yes, there is a higher potential for injury when moving under load, but so is the risk of doing nothing which is on the flip side.
The problem lies not with the tool or program but with the time not invested into the progression that is required and/or the knowledge and form and technique.
Kettlebell Exercises For a Strong Spine
Some great kettlebell exercises that can help strengthen the back muscles are:
- Kettlebell Windmill
- Kettlebell Bent Press
- Kettlebell Turkish Get-up
- Kettlebell Jefferson Curl (lifting with your back)
- Kettlebell Side Bends
- Kettlebell Standing Curl
I’ll explain right away why I program the kettlebell curl for back strength as it might not be immediately clear for what the kettlebell curl can do in that regard. The biceps brachii long head is connected to the scapula and will do a tremendous amount of work during standing biceps curls. The muscles around the scapula (rhomboids, etc.) will work as fixators. The fact that one is standing and controlling the weight while it moves far away from the body in the middle of the curl requires a lot of core engagement. Try a few slow standing kettlebell curls for yourself and take note of how the upper back and the rest of the core are being worked. It requires complete tension throughout the core to stabilize during the movement.
Perform 8 of these on each side, 5 sets with rest in between, and post here to let me know how much you felt the core/upper back work.
I won’t go too deep into the other exercises for the sake of not turning this into a book, but the Windmill, TGU, and Bent Press act upon the spine with thoracic spine rotation, and of course a lot of other core benefits that one gets from those exercises. The Jefferson curl acts upon the spine through flexion and extension and is the exercise in which one lifts with the back. The Side Bends act upon the spine through lateral flexion. I will post a few videos for these exercises.
Our CAVEMANROM program is designed to take the joints through all possible ranges, I’ve covered the spine, but it just as much focuses on the hips, ankles, and other joints. A great example for the hips and ankles is the Kettlebell Racked Curtsy Lunge. This amazing exercise, when done correctly, really strengthens the hips and ankles and also works on ROM.
More videos are at the bottom of this article.
Do you want to do things differently? Are you ready to take a more unconventional approach?
Skip the vicious do-it-yourself and get-injured cycle that the majority of kettlebell newbies go through. The kettlebell is an awesome and powerful exercise tool but it comes with a higher learning curve than most other exercise equipment.
Pick your starting point and begin to unlock your potential.
When you’re ready to move into the next chapter of your kettlebell journey and want to understand how to safely progress and execute the CAVEMANROM suite of kettlebell exercises. If you want to perform kettlebell workouts and routines with these exercises to reach new ranges of motion and at the same time build strength and stability. Then…
Start by becoming a member of our private group and work together on your progression with me and others in the group. You’ll get access to CAVEMANROM follow-along workouts, technique, common mistakes, and so much more.
Start by taking the online certification and follow the step-by-step path that is designed which comes with videos, books, exams, and physical assessments.
CAVEMANROM is not some new fad, it’s been around for a while. CAVEMANROM is unique as it’s one of the very first kettlebell programs that promote flexibility under load.