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Kettlebells & Back Pain - calling Veteran KB users!

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  • Kettlebells & Back Pain - calling Veteran KB users!

    So on Saturday I did a Kettlebell workout for the first time in ages. It was great. But then through the day I started experiencing lower back pain, and by the time I went to bed I was experiencing some rather sharp pains down there and movement hurt. Getting out of bed in the morning has been interesting and any movements which involve bending over starts my back shaking and aching and I have to use the wall for support (or I'd be on the floor).

    Clearly I strained my back and I'm thinking my posture/form during the KB workout must have been crap. Any thoughts on what I could have done wrong? Main exercises included Swings, Cleans, Snatches, Deadlifts, Overhead presses, rows, and squats (really deep one's and I wonder if I compromised my form here).

    Anyway, if you have thoughts, please let me know!

  • #2
    Guessing you rounded your back. Easy to lose form with KB training. Be sure to stick your butt out a little to keep the natural lumbar arch.


    • #3
      You already have a pretty good idea of where you went wrong. Sounds like you did too much, too soon and probably let your form get sloppy. Your hamstrings and glutes should be doing most of the work on things like swings, cleans and snatches (not your lower back). Live and learn.
      "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

      "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

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      • #4
        When you recover, just work on swings and your swing form for awhile before getting into the other movements. The swing is the king. I did a 1000 swing workout last week with my 24kg, and I felt fatigued only in my glutes, hams, and fingers. If you start feeling any tension anywhere else, and especially your lower back, stop and evaluate your form before continuing.


        • #5
          You may need to focus on some general core strength too in addition to the KB workouts, like planks.

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          • #6
            Make sure you are tensing your glutes and abs when performing kettlebell work. At the top of a KB swing, someone should be able to punch you in the gut without you noticing.


            • #7
              Ah, I think i failed to stick my butt out enough... I recall my tail being tucked a bit. Going to focus on swings and posture next time! Thanks for the comments!


              • #8
                There are a lot of nuances in kettlebells and numerous variations on the swing from the Hardstyle with maximum tension to the less tense girevoy sport type swing which allows for maximum reps. Having started with Hardstyle, I think it is probably the easiest and safest to learn. Certain experts in Hardstyle have noted that it is impossible to do more than 10 reps with maximum tension as soon thereafter you are so winded that you cannot do more and need a short rest. I would start with this ideal in mind (10 reps max and maximum tension especially the glutes, hamstrings, thighs and stomach) and then when you feel comfortable with it consider experimenting with other styles. Tensing those body parts I mentioned (especially glutes and stomach) will protect your lower back stabilizing it like a virtual weightbelt.

                Also start slow and build up focusing on perfect form realizing it takes a long time to get better at kettlebells. Take some time to just practice the moves ingraining in your head and central nervous system how to do the moves without the pressure of gassing yourself in a workout every time you touch a kettlebell. I like to take a kettlebell to do yard work and stop every few minutes and knock out 10 or 20 perfect snatches in between doing yard work just for practice.


                • #9
                  It would be a very good idea, if at all feasible, to get a bit of instruction in the swing. It's the most used and the most abused KB movement.
                  I actualy had to take my wife's KB away from her because she wouldn't listen regarding swings. Remember, in a swing, you don't lift the weight up, you jump it up (sorta) My own problem when I first started was going too deep, which cuases knee pain, if you've got knee issues (weirdly, I can do almost rock bottom squats without issue, either BW or KB, but not even 90 degree with barbells)
                  sigpicI'm not old, I'm Vintage!


                  • #10
                    Begin2Dig blogpost on swings...Buncha great vids embedded in it...

                    Also, consider finding a teacher for a lesson or two. Pays off in the long run...
                    RKC, AFAA PT
                    “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” -Jim Rohn


                    • #11
                      oww ouch i pulled my lower back with my kettlebell last week... deifnitely was because i thrusted up and rounded my i pay attention to my straight back, and squating with my butt/legs lower and thrusting from my shoulders- if that helps at all!!
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