Can Kettlebells Cause Injury? (13 Vital Things To Consider)
Kettlebells have become a crucial addition to gyms and homes alike over the past few years and with good reason.
Their versatility is one of the main reasons, with you being able to get a great workout in with just the use of a single kettlebell.
One thing about kettlebells, is that they can cause injury if you don’t respect and take them seriously, just like any other piece of equipment but more so kettlebells because of the way they move.
Can Kettlebells Cause Injury?
If you use kettlebells incorrectly, they can cause injury. Kettlebells can cause bruising, muscle strains, and even broken bones if they are not handled correctly. It is therefore important to be properly instructed in their use before attempting to lift them, as they travel differently compared to regular equipment such as dumbbells and barbells because their centre of mass is off offset. Additionally, it is important to warm up before using kettlebells and to lift them slowly and carefully to avoid injury.
If you are going to train with kettlebells, it’s worth taking note of some of the areas you may get injured. In doing so, it will help you be aware of the movements so that you don’t do yourself harm.
You have to understand how the load transfers with a kettlebell. It’s very different from many other weight training methods, much more fluid, much lower weights (compared to dumbbell or barbell training), and turning tension on and off are big requirements.
A kettlebell is a tool with a higher learning curve than many other tools. You can’t be sloppy and flop the bell around, you have to keep your shoulders in advantageous positions.
Don’t put your shoulder in a risky position. Everything has to be very tight and very controlled.
Bad Form Needs Fixing
One of the main issues that can lead to kettlebell injuries is having bad form or incorrect technique.
This can cause several problems, including strains, tears, and other injuries.
If you’re not sure about your form, it’s always best to seek out professional help or guidance from somebody who knows what they’re doing.
Bad form can often be the result of trying to lift too much weight, so it’s important to start light and gradually increase the amount you’re lifting as you get stronger.
Respect The Kettlebell
The kettlebell is a tool like any other, but its design means that it can be more dangerous if used incorrectly.
It’s important to always respect the kettlebell and use it correctly to avoid injury.
If you’re not sure about something, seek out professional help or guidance so that you can learn the correct techniques.
Kettlebells can be a great addition to your workout routine, but only if used correctly. Be sure to warm up before using them and always lift slowly and carefully to avoid injury.
Have You Warmed Up?
You would think that people would know by now that you need to warm up before working out, but it’s still one of the main things that can lead to injury.
Warming up helps to increase blood flow to your muscles, which can help to prevent injury.
It’s important to warm up before using kettlebells, as well as any other type of equipment.
A good warm-up should last for at least 10 minutes and can include things like light cardio and stretching.
Ways Of Causing Injury – Warning!
There are numerous ways of injuring yourself while using kettlebells, here are a few of them and also ways to reduce getting injured in the first place.
Dropping Weight On Foot Or During Movement
This can be one of the most common kettlebell injuries as your foot can get in the way when you are dropping the kettlebell during a movement or when you are trying to bring it to a stop.
One way to help reduce this is to be aware of your surroundings and also, don’t let the weight swing around too much when you are changing directions.
If you can keep the weight close to your body, it will help reduce the risk of this happening.
Hitting Yourself In The Face Or Head
This can happen when you are doing kettlebell swings and you don’t have the proper form or if you are letting the weight get away from you.
When you are doing swings, make sure that you keep your eyes focused on a point in front of you and also be aware of where the weight is at all times.
You can also help reduce the risk of this happening by not swinging the kettlebell too high.
Too Heavy A Kettlebell
If you are using a kettlebell that is too heavy for you, it can lead to all sorts of problems.
Your form will be off, you won’t be able to control the weight, and you are more likely to injure yourself.
It’s important to start light and gradually increase the amount of weight you are using as you get stronger.
Using a heavy kettlebell without using the proper form can jerk your body around and cause all sorts of injuries, so it’s best to avoid this.
You can cause ligament damage, muscular damage, and also cause stress fractures.
This can happen when you are doing swings or other movements where the kettlebell is in contact with your forearm.
Not having much experience with kettlebells can mean falling victim to the dreaded “forearm flop”.
This is when the kettlebell isn’t controlled correctly when it is flipped onto your forearm to “rack” it slams against it, rather than being cushioned softly on it.
This can be remedied by ensuring a good grip on the kettlebell and keeping good form throughout the movement.
Getting to know the way a kettlebell moves can take time, especially when it comes to racking it.
You have to feel and control the kettlebell enough to anticipate its movement and know when to change its direction.
To help reduce the risk of this happening, you can use a lighter weight or cut the toes out of some thick sports socks, and put them onto your forearms to help cushion the kettlebell until you get used to racking it.
You can also use forearm shields, which are pieces of padded fabric that you can wear on your forearm to help protect it.
Some people advise against using any form of shield altogether, as it may prevent you from using proper form and encourage sloppy technique.
Using a kettlebell can put a lot of strain on your wrists, especially if you are using a heavier weight.
It’s important to keep your wrists in line with your forearm and not let them bend too far back (wrist extension) or too far forward (wrist flexion).
Always keep the line from your knuckle to elbow straight, with no bend.
You can help reduce the risk of wrist injuries by using wrist straps or gloves when you are using a kettlebell, although gloves are frowned upon.
Using a weight that is too heavy can also lead to wrist injuries, so it’s important to start light and gradually increase the amount of weight you are using as you get stronger.
Your shoulder is a very delicate joint, and using a kettlebell can put a lot of strain on it.
It’s important to keep good form and not let the weight get away from you, as this can lead to all sorts of shoulder injuries.
Using a weight that is too heavy can also lead to shoulder injuries, so it’s important to start light and gradually increase the amount of weight you are using as you get stronger.
You can also help reduce the risk of shoulder injuries by warming up properly before using a kettlebell and stretching your shoulders afterward.
When using a kettlebell, always make sure you can get the full range of motion in your shoulder before adding weight.
If you can’t, then the weight is too heavy and you need to lighten the load.
Lower Back Injuries
Your lower back can also be put under a lot of strain when using a kettlebell.
Make sure you hold the kettlebell with conviction but not to the point you are tense and rigid. Being in full control of the kettlebell at all times is crucial in preventing any injuries.
People also get lower back problems because they haven’t hinged their hips when swinging, which means they are putting extra strain on their lower back.
Once you get the hip hinge down, you will see a dramatic improvement in your kettlebell game.
If you are not careful, you can also put a lot of strain on your knees when using a kettlebell.
It’s important to keep good form and not let the weight get away from you, as this can lead to all sorts of knee injuries.
Make sure you hinge at the hips and not the knees when swinging the kettlebell, as this will help take the strain off your knees.
Any Tension In The Body
Tension in your body can lead to injuries.
One of the most common problems people have when they first start using kettlebells is being way too tense.
You may notice your hand hurting from holding on to the handle too tight, remember to hold the kettlebell with authority but not to the point of doing damage to your hand.
Tension in the hands can also lead to forearm pain. Getting to know the correct grip may take some time but it’s well worth getting it right.
Another thing you can do when holding the kettlebell too tight is to tear and blister your palms and fingers. If you experience this, you are gripping way too tight and need to loosen it somewhat.
Tension can run up your body when using kettlebells and one way to tell if you are guilty of this is to check and notice how high your shoulders are when swinging.
Upper back, neck, shoulder, and trap pain are common here, so take time to relax into the swing and reduce that tension.
Remember, your arms are only the part of the body that holds the kettlebell. What I mean here is that all the explosion from the swing comes from the hips and glutes.
Using your arms to swing the kettlebell is normal for some new users, so make sure your arms only act as a pendulum for the kettlebell to swing backward and forwards.
As you can see, several potential injuries can occur when using a kettlebell.
However, if you use proper form and technique, Warm up properly and start light, you can help reduce the risk of injury.
If you do experience any pain or discomfort while using a kettlebell, stop immediately and consult a medical professional.