Kettlebell workouts are an amazing way to burn a ridiculous amount of calories in a short time. There have been countless studies that prove the many benefits from doing kettlebell exercise moves such as swings, snatches, rows, get-ups and other kettlebell moves. This is one of the reasons that kettlebell workouts are exploding right now.
Not only do kettlebell workouts give you a killer cardio session, but they have been proven to be excellent for tightening and firming parts of the lower body. In particular, the booty, hammys, and calves. All muscles that have women flocking to kettlebell workouts. Other studies show the vast benefits to explosive strength gains from kettlebell training. This is one of the reasons that many athletes, professional and amateur have been picking up kettlebells.
The thing is that a ton of newbies to kettlebell training get hurt and it’s mostly avoidable due to incorrect technique and form or trying to be a hero, thinking they can do more weight than they really should. While these are certainly the mistakes that are made most often when it comes to kettlebell training, they are by no means, the only ones. Here are my top 5 kettlebell mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs.
Kettlebell Footwear: Don’t Wear Running Shoes!
Running shoes are typically designed with extra cushioning to aid in protecting your feet during long distance runs. They are ideal for running because running is more routine than something like kettlebell training. There’s not as much of a necessity for your feet to do all that much balancing work. Kettlebell workouts, on the other hand, require you to have a constant transfer of weight with maximum lower body effort to balance itself. If you wear something like thin-soled shoes or even go barefoot, it might be your best bet to do your kettlebell workout without any foot problems.
Kettlebell Moves Are Full Body Exercises!
Most kettlebell exercises require you to take vigorous swings. People who are just starting out often try to manipulate the kettlebell with whatever muscle they think will make the movement easier. This can’t be more wrong. It is so easy to hurt yourself, especially your lower back by trying to manipulate the weights like this. You absolutely must use your lower body. Get your legs, and especially your hips involved in the exercise. There are very few exercises that require you to use your hips as much as kettlebell swings. This is both a benefit and a curse. It is excellent to work your hips, but since not many other exercises work them out like kettlebell swings, it’s often hard to adjust to having to use them. But form is of utmost importance. You do not want to hurt your lower back with a kettlebell. It will put you out for a long time.
Kettlebell Weight: Don’t Be a Hero!
Kettlebells are a lot heavier than they look. If you are just starting out, it may not feel too cool to use a bell that has a tiny ball at the end that is smaller than the handle. But believe me, no one is judging you here. Set your stupid pride aside for a minute and think about your health. The way that kettlebells are balanced, combined with the movements you will be doing with them, it is extremely easy to injure yourself. Especially if you are just starting out. You are not going to be used to the way kettlebell movements work. Please go against your ego and start with a lighter weight until you are ready to step up to the heavier weights.
The other thing to think about is the label on the kettlebell. A lot of kettlebells are labeled in kilograms. This is a mistake I often see people make. They see a 16 on the side, so they think it’s a 16 pound kettlebell, when in reality they are picking up a 36 pound kettlebell. It’s so easy to lift a heavier kettlebell than you are looking for. Make sure you know whether the label is in pounds or kilograms. Or even poods! A pood is a Russian unit of weight. 1 pood weighs roughly 36 pounds. So again, make sure you know what you are about to use. There is a ton of force behind kettlebell moves. The last thing you want is to add additional force by using a heavy-ass bell.
Kettlebell Swing For The Fences
A couple things to remember when doing kettlebell swings. This is not a home run derby. You are not trying to go for speed. You do not get a prize for finishing first. In fact, you will most likely not get the maximum benefit from the move, at the very least. But more likely than that, you will probably injure yourself. Or even worse, you will lose your grip on the kettlebell and give it a ride. And who knows what happens then. It’s a much better idea to be in control of the weight. Allow momentum and gravity to carry the bell without you manipulating it. This will not only give you the full benefit of the exercise, but it will also prevent possible catastrophic injury or you throwing the bell somewhere.
The more control you have over your kettlebell, the less it will have over you. Control is the key to every kettlebell exercise. That not only goes for speed, but also what we will talk about next.
Kettlebell Form and Technique
The biggest mistake I see people make with kettlebells also happens to be the most important aspect to concentrate on when using them and that is proper form. I can’t stress how important proper form is when using kettlebells. These are not traditional pieces of exercise equipment that are designed to go up and down. They are balanced differently and are made to be moved in different ways than normal dumbbells or barbells. Therefore they require different technique when using them. Poor form will lead to injury more often than not. And once you get injured during a kettlebell workout, you’re much less likely to come back to it. The best idea is to have a professional show you the proper technique. Or you can watch videos on YouTube of professionals showing you the proper way to perform each kettlebell move. Whatever you decide, please take my advice and learn the proper form before going out and trying this on your own.