A kettlebell workout combines functional strength training with cardiovascular exercise and improves muscle definition, strength and flexibility. Kettlebell set are tricky to use, so we often see people making common mistakes while using them and how we can fix those to perform better and get the desired results.
Mistakes people make when working out with kettlebells
Are you holding the kettlebell properly?
Have you ever encountered people avoiding kettlebell swings? Well, doing a kettlebell swing is quite tricky and to master it (the kettlebell swing) one has to learn how to hold it properly. For performing a kettlebell swing, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, and your abs tight. With an overhand grip, hold the kettlebell by the handle and rest it against the outside of your forearm. Make sure not to let your wrist drop back or your elbow hike away from your body. Also, death-gripping a KB can cause your hand to cramp and can make the bell fly out of your hand. Hold the bell with your fingers rather than your palm to reduce the risk of dropping it.
Are you overarching your back?
Swinging a kettlebell is a momentum-based exercise, and people tend to overarch their lower back or strain their shoulder while doing it. To avoid this, keep your abs tight, push your hips forward, and make sure the kettlebells never go above eye level when you’re lifting heavy weights—especially if you’re just starting. Great advice here! It’s always better to learn proper technique first before adding weight. Maintain a neutral spine and controlled movement to perform swings.
Are you leaning back too much?
Some people overarch the back to get the momentum while others lean their back too far to have a bigger range of motion; in both cases, we are only straining our shoulders and lower back. However, the correct technique is to engage your core and glute flexors. One way to conquer this mistake is with proper movement preparation before the workout, including hip flexor stretches and glute activation exercises such as a glute bridge.
Are you holding your breath while exercising?
Many strength training instructors say that people while training with kettlebells, tend to hold their breath when asked to tighten their core. Breath work requires a lot of focus and time to learn, especially in kettlebell training, learning proper breathing techniques takes time. So, hold on, you will get there eventually, with practice. Take help from your instructors to learn a proper breathing technique.
Are you squatting instead of hip-hinging?
The kettlebell swing is a popular exercise because it focuses on the glutes. However, it’s easy to do wrong. Some people will perform more of a squat and less of a hip hinge. When this happens, you’ll see as much knee flexion and extension as there is hip flexion and extension. Instead, keep your lower leg (tibia and fibula) perpendicular to the floor. This means there will be little to no motion in your ankle or foot joints (dorsiflexion). During the kettlebell swing, focus on driving through your hips first before using power through your glutes.
Are you lifting the appropriate weight?
One of the best things about kettlebell training is the dynamic movement, especially swings and flows. Unlike dumbbell-type exercises, which isolate certain muscles, kettlebell training uses big movements and hundreds of muscles at a time. The mass of a kettlebell grows as you swing it. The more you swing it, the harder it becomes to keep up with the weight. Start with an appropriate weight: Women can begin with an 8kg (18lbs) and men either a 12kg (25lbs) or 16kg (35lbs), and you can progress with weights as you master the technique.
Are you hitting your forearm while doing a kettlebell clean?
The kettlebell swing is the most common exercise performed with kettlebells, but it’s not the only one. A common mistake made when practising the clean is that the bell lands on the forearm. This occurs due to several technique errors: a tight grip, a too high arch in front, and moving the arm too far out in front. Use your legs to lift and keep your arms close to your body as you clean the kettlebell up to your chest for safer practice.
There are a few other common mistakes to watch, practise and learn to successfully perform kettlebell workouts. But as they say, practice makes men perfect and not giving up easily is the mantra to build strength and gain benefits out of weight training. Take help from professional gym instructors to learn the correct form, grip and movements of kettlebell training, and if you are planning to start yourself, carefully watch the videos and tape yourself while performing to understand the flaws and fix them.