Bad kettlebell form and technique

Should you provide feedback on bad kettlebell technique?

So, you see a badly executed kettlebell swing, a bad kettlebell snatch, a bad kettlebell deadlift, and you feel compelled to say something. Should you say something?

If you’re walking in the park and see this happening you probably won’t say anything and just walk on past, you might tap your friend on the shoulder and whisper “look at that!”.

If you’re in the gym and see this happening you probably won’t say something either, and if you would, it probably won’t be received the right way.

But when you’re in a Facebook group safely behind your keyboard you probably feel more compelled to say something, but is it any different from seeing it in the park or gym?

“Yeah but they might injure themselves or someone might see it and do it wrong too!”.

We have all been given a thing called common sense and the ability to feel when something is wrong, the decision to use those abilities is up to the individual.

We run several of the biggest kettlebell communities on Facebook and have made one of the rules to not provide feedback unless clearly asked for. If you like what you see, then you provide positive encouragement and if you don’t, then you scroll further just as you would walk past in real life. If the poster asks for feedback, then you can provide solid constructive feedback in a positive encouraging way.

 

Why have we set and encourage these rules in all our groups?

After managing groups/communities for a long time we have been able to turn very toxic and negative groups into thriving and positive communities through our approach and weeding out toxic/negative people. There are many reasons why these rules work and are the best for everyone, I’ll list a few.

People need to feel free and be encouraged to post. People don’t always post for feedback and sometimes just need the motivation of posting. Some people are not worried about technique and are just in it for the sweat, we won’t change them, only time and their own desire to change will.

If the kettlebell technique is bad then the lack of likes, shares, and comments will tell the poster everything they need to know. If the poster is not wanting to learn by including the fact they are open to feedback, then providing feedback will usually fall on deaf ears anyway or is received negatively. Providing feedback when not asked for also discourages new people to post in the fear to be ridiculed or receiving bad feedback.

When providing feedback, the second biggest problem is that the people providing feedback don’t really know, nor ask, what the expected goals are, what variation of an exercise the poster wants to perform/learn, etc., and just force their own ideas and ways of performing what they ‘think’ is correct. This then usually also turns into a competition of who can provide the best corrections and arguments on what’s correct and what’s not, what’s best and what’s not.

Most people that provide feedback just provide little short sharp cues like “go deeper”, “go heavier”, “snap the hips more”, and these are truly useless if no proper context has been provided and especially when not accompanied by the ‘why’ behind doing so. It turns into a just do as I say because I say so. Usually these short comments/cues are provided by people who have just heard this cue themselves and are just regurgitating it.

With all that said, asking for, providing, and receiving feedback is great, it is one of the best things to do for progression and the best way to learn more. This not only applies to the person asking but also to the person providing the feedback, both learn more through the process, which is great and highly encouraged!

The best way to get feedback:

  • Include details of what you’re working on (because there are many exercise variations)
  • Be open to all feedback received
  • Include your goals (the ‘why’)
  • Don’t be afraid to list your weaknesses
  • Include any issues you’re experiencing or trying to correct
  • Include a video showing full body front and side-on

When providing feedback, make sure you are not forcing ‘your way’ and you understand that a swing, clean, and snatch can be performed with a pendulum, squat, or hip hinge movement. Make sure you understand that there is a dead, hang, and swing snatch, there are so many kettlebell exercises out there and each variation has different goals. There are different styles out there, freestyle, sportstyle, and hardstyle, and all are great to learn. Understand that the goals of each exercise can be changed through weight, reps, duration, rest, etc.

As always, nothing is black or white and you should question everything, even coaches and trainers. Those providing feedback should know the ‘why’ and feel comfortable being questioned. For me personally, I love being questioned, it requires me to dig deeper and find solutions or explanations I previously did not know. An exception to the rule would be when someone posts to educate others.

 

Here are some common misconceptions I frequently see:

  • The hip hinge is the only way to swing; It’s not.
  • Swings are only for strength and cardio; It’s not.
  • The hip hinge is the only way to deadlift; It’s not.
  • The squat swing is bad; It’s not.
  • Hardstyle is the only way to kettlebell; It’s not.

If you want to learn everything there is to learn about the kettlebell swing then you should check out Master The Kettlebell Swing. If you want to learn about the kettlebell snatch or other kettlebell exercises then check out our books and courses.

 

Kettlebell Communities

 

Final word

As a trainer or a passionate kettlebell enthusiast, you will be tempted to provide feedback, it is completely understandable, but the best way to satisfy that urge is by creating an educational video or post about what you want to share/correct and direct it to the public. Share your knowledge.

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