The kettlebell swing is one of our favorite movements. It's benefits extend beyond the fitness world and can be used to improve functional performance and prevent injury by teaching the body how to generate power from the hips while ingraining proper movement patterning to protect our joints. However, when performed incorrectly it can quickly lead add increased load to our joints and lead to pain and injury.
Avoiding these common mistakes will keep you injury free and get you closer to your health goals for 2018.
1. Rounding (Overextending) at the Top
One of the most common mistakes we see with the kettlebell swing is overextending of the low back at the top of the movement. In an effort to get the weight all the way up, we extend our low back. This puts increased pressure on the facet joints of your lumbar spine and will eventually lead to pain and injury. Keep the spine neutral!
2. Rounding at the Bottom
Another common mistake is rounding the low back at the bottom of the swing. This puts increased pressure on the intervertebral discs of your lumbar spine and will eventually lead to pain and injury. Keep the spine neutral
3. Too Much Knee Bend
Remember, the purpose of of the KB swing is to generate power from the hips. This means most of the motion should come from the hips. Often times we see a movement that looks like a mix of the KB Squat and the kettlebell swing that involves way too much knee bend. Besides placing unnecessary forces through the knee, it's ingraining the wrong movement pattern which carries over into other movements. Keep the movement in the hips.
4. Choosing the Wrong Weight
Too Light - Many individuals try to 'play it safe' by selecting a weight that is too light. Choosing a weight that's too light often results in individuals using their arms to lift the weight and not learning how to generate power from the hips (which has a host of benefits). A light weight is OK when learning the fundamentals of the swing. But once the movement has been learned, selecting a weight that doesn't allow you to 'cheat' is important in getting the most from the swing.
Too Heavy - Remember, whatever weight you choose is the weight you're going to be doing for the ENTIRE workout. Choosing a weight that's too heavy can end up causing our form to deteriorate throughout the course of the workout.
5. Setting the Weight Down
A lot of times we'll watch individuals complete a high intensity workout with meticulous form only to set it down with the laziest form ever. One handed, back rounded, while the weight is still swinging is a good way to get injured. Stop the swing and hinge at the hips with the same form.