Working out with kettlebells is incredibly effective for fat loss and also terrific for lean body mass. What sets kettlebells apart from most gym equipment is that they are able to improve how you use your hips, which is very useful for a lot of speed and power-focused sports. They help train the muscles to function properly and in conjunction with each other, as is the case with even just something as basic as the kettlebell swing.
But, despite all these benefits, like most gym workouts, kettlebell exercises require a lot of discipline. The main difference here is that you’re swinging a solid, metal weight around, as opposed to conventional weight-based exercises where swinging the weight is discouraged.
Kettlebell workouts are intense and if you are not careful, you can definitely injure yourself, or worse, others. So, what are these kettlebell mistakes that you should avoid?
Not Making Enough Space For Your Workout
When you’re working out in a gym, there will be times when it becomes crowded, especially if you’re there during peak hours. If kettlebell workouts are based on high-intensity movements then this can mean that a kettlebell is going to be swung around often. Failing to make space for yourself puts other gym goers as well as other gym equipment at risk. You don’t want to end up hitting someone when they make the mistake of walking too close to you while you’re working out.
This one’s rather easy, owing to the fact that all you really need is to ensure that you have enough space to swing the kettlebell around without hitting anything. A 5-foot radius should be good enough for a kettlebell workout.
Like every exercise, kettlebell workouts require that you maintain good posture, however, the difference is that curving your spine during a high-intensity workout means that the risk of injury is higher, given the higher level of exertion required to properly do cleans, swings, and snatches. Improper back posture can cause damage to the back muscles as well as the spinal discs.
Observe proper kettlebell form at all times. This is achievable only through habit. A proper kettlebell stance is as follows:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell about a foot in front of you on the ground. Bend at the waist and grasp the kettlebell handle with both hands. Your palms should be facing your body, and your torso should be nearly parallel to the ground.
Bad Kettlebell Grip
A good grip is an essential aspect of any exercise, but as previously established, there can be quite a few explosive movements in a kettlebell training. Most beginners will think that a death grip is the way to go in order to prevent the kettlebell from being launched when it’s swung. While a too-loose grip isn’t ideal, there’s also a danger in having too tight of a grip.
Gripping a kettlebell too tightly puts unnecessary stress on the hand flexor muscles while gripping it too loosely increases the chance that you could launch the kettlebell, or drop it on your head during a snatch.
A full grip is not necessary with a kettlebell as this causes a lot of friction between the kettlebell handle and your hand. The front part of the handle (the part that’s directly opposite your body) should be held by your proximal phalanges (the third bone section from the tip of your fingers). You can also tilt the kettlebell toward you to make this grip easier to do.
This form gives you a solid grip without excess friction. This also makes it easier to do snatches later on.
As with all exercises, overtraining does not only hinder your growth, but it can also lead to injuries. Kettlebell training is different because it’s difficult to gauge your strength, especially if you’re new to the exercise. While it’s true that there are some athletes that purposely overtrain, the fact that you’re unable to accurately gauge how kettlebell workouts affect your body is what makes it a big mistake.
As a beginner you’re unable to gauge how a kettlebell workout is going to affect your body, you need to start with moderate intensity. This way, you’re not going to be wasting time and energy (as is the case if a workout is too light). After this, observe how your body responds the next day, then adjust your workout accordingly.
If you do end up overtraining, you can also opt to go for massage therapy, or if you want to try something new, consider going for laser therapy, which directly treats deep muscle tissue.
Now that you’ve covered these kettlebell sins, you should be ready to go. Keep these remedies in mind, but more importantly, don’t forget to have fun too. Kettlebell exercises can be explosive and lively, and you should reflect that. Maintain focus, and observe proper form and reap all the benefits of a kettlebell workout.