Over the past while as I’ve been doing my own kettlebell practice, I’ve seen some interesting uses of the tool. It pains me to see people using a kettlebell incorrectly and, if given the chance, I will stop the person and do my best to explain the proper use of one.
A kettlebell is pretty simple. A ball with a handle. No moving parts and if it’s a decent bell, it shouldn’t break. The handle should never snap off and it should last a lifetime. That being said, if you own some, check the handle where it joins the body periodically to ensure it’s not cracking.
Because a kettlebell has no moving parts, it’s a pretty good guess that the bell is not to blame if you get hurt. I’m concerned people jump to the conclusion that ‘the bell is blame for my hurt shoulder (or whatever body part you want to insert).’ Of course, this is provided you are healthy and have no underlying problems. Most of the time, injuries are caused by the movement being performed incorrectly (although a cable snapping on a machine isn’t necessarily your fault).
Doing a kettlebell swing by coming up on your toes… not safe. Don’t do it. If you’re chucking a hunk of metal forward and you’re on your toes, expect to do a face-plant sooner or later.
Doing a two handed kettlebell swing by bringing the bell way above your head… not safe. Don’t do it. To me it looks as though your body disengages and has great potential to have a hunk of metal landing on your head. If you want to heave a bell above your noggin’, I’ll give you a movement that is safer.
Pavel Tsatsouline has written numerous books about kettlebells and when it comes to safety he says the following: “If you have sore elbows, it is your own fault. Doing 50 cleans the first day you learned them was stupid. If you bang your forearm during cleans, don’t go clean crazy until you have fixed your technique. Bruised and swollen forearms are signs of impatience, not toughness.” This is from Enter the Kettlebell. Buy the book and watch the DVD.
Proper form is paramount no matter what type of lifting you do. If you don’t know, ask. If your kettlebell instructor learned everything he/she knew from youtube, find someone else. Fast.
Your kettlebell instructor should be certified. Look for any of the following attached to their name – Agatsu, HKC, RKC, RKCII or WKC.
Just looking out for your well being.
I’m scribbling this on the eve of my birthday. Which one? Doesn’t matter. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s a discussion for another day.
As I age I’ve realized a few things:
– My parents were usually right. Yours are, too.
– No, your face won’t really stay that way, but it’s fun to freak kids out.
– Life’s too short to enjoy one style of music, book or movie.
– Yes, there is a Santa Claus.
– Don’t sweat the small stuff. I still do at times, but that’s my nature. Apparently that’s something us Virgos do. Oh well.
– My wife is my greatest supporter. This I’ve always known, I’m just letting YOU know.
– Smoking really is bad for you.
– Health and well being is important. Mental and physical.
– I wish I would have known that years ago.
Well, I think we all do, we just don’t want to admit it at a young age. I’m always impressed when I see someone young (under 21) at the gym. My hope is that they stick with it for a lifetime and make it a habit. It’s easy to wander away from it and say “I’ll get back to it.”
If you’re young (under 21) and reading this, give it a go. It’ll do your heart, body and brain good.
And it will allow you to eat more birthday cakes.