Functional Training Institute

Common Kettlebell Mistakes

This week’s video showcases the 5 most common kettlebell mistakes made when performing Kettlebell Swings. This exercise is one of the most common kettlebell exercises and can help to burn fat, build muscle and increase your overall fitness. However, there are many mistakes that can be made when performing the exercise that can cause an injury.

This video outlines the top five mistakes that are made when performing Kettlebell Swings and gives you methods to help improve your form.

Top 5 Common Mistakes:

  • Lumbar Flexion – This is what happens when we lose our neutral spine and begin to round in the lower back. It generally occurs when the kettlebell is too close to the ground. A great cue is to throw your wrists off your hips. This keeps the Kettlebell in the correct position and will prevent the rounding. Excessive lumbar flexion under load will inevitably lead to a disc injury.
  • Lumbar Hyperextension – This is when we over extend the spine. This generally occurs because people haven’t generated enough force through the swing. To keep the bell moving upwards they continue extending the spine. This can happen when people don’t flex through the hips enough. Another reason can be a lack of awareness. Simply placing your hand to let people know when to stop the movement is a great technique. Excessive hyperextension can place a lot of pressure of the facet joints in the vertebrae.
  • Squat Swing – This can be a coordination issue for many people. Most people are used to moving through their knees. Keeping the bell high and initiating the movement from the hips is key here. A great technique we learnt from Steve Cotter was to place another bell between your legs. This forces you to keep the bell high and through the legs.
  • Arm Lift – Utilising too much arm movement in the swing. You want to encourage the natural arc to ensure the power comes from the hips not the arms. We shouldn’t be resisting the motion on the eccentric phase but rather letting the bell follow its natural arc. Giving the bell a tap at the top of the movement feeds the bell through the natural arc.
  • Lack of Hip Extension – When performing the swing, it is crucial to that the hips have terminal hip extension. This will ensure the posterior chain is fully engaged. You may need to feed people’s hips through the motion so they ‘feel’ what terminal extension is.

Keeping in check with these common mistakes will ensure your form is correct and will protect you from any long term injury. It will also enable you to get the most from this incredible movement.

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