I just have to jump in here and comment. I've had two back injuries in the past. To top that, I have degenerative disc disease and arthritis. I had complex surgery to my lower back (3 discs involved) in 2005. After surgery I could barely walk. Physical therapy made me scream in pain so I quit! I gave my body time to heal then started back to what I knew, slowly and lightly. When I started KBs I started with a 5 lb. to make sure I didn't hurt myself and that this was "right" for me. I loved the challenge, the motivation it gave me and I became addicted very quickly. I had some soreness in the beginning because it was new and my back had been operated on,but I am happy to say that I can swing a mean 10 lb bell with no pain. I'm thinking of getting a 15 lb. I can't go much higher until I get the disc in my neck fixed. That snap in your hips is the key to not getting sore. It amazes me how that works. That snap is what drives the bell upwards. Another key is to concentrate on what you are doing. A squat is not just a squat but a move that requires precision in all the other parts of the body. A third key is: if it hurts, don't do it! Good sweating!
Edited by: IAMPREACHER at: 5/21/2010 (08:08)
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Ditto all of that. Too difficult to give an answer without knowing what exactly is wrong with your back. If clients can't move well or have back issues, I'll keep them on deadlifts until they can move up to swings.
That being said, swings are great for strengthening the back and have helped many people build their backs up again. However, seeing an instructor in person is the best way to go. You can find instructors on the Dragon Door site under the instructor tab.
Strength does not come from pysical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
Form in kettlebells is the name of the game. Never never stress joints - knees, backs, etc. Really pay attention to stress on muscles and eliminate any strains you feel. If it feels like something is being strained even a little, get some help to reduce the strain.
If you have a bad back, I HIGHLY recommend going to a RKC trainer to get form help. Slight changes in your form can stress/unstress things. Not using form correctly for the back correctly can result in an emergency room visit with badly strained muscles and maybe worse (yeah, know of a someone who picked up a 16kg KB, swung 1-2 times and ended up with an emergency visit and 4 days on muscle relaxers). Back form not being correct is the most common way people get hurt.
What you can do safely depends on your back and your movement ability. KBs are safe if the form is good, but sometimes you have to skip some exercises until you build up some muscles/control/form. Movements like the swing can really push a lot of muscles especially in the back.
So anyone with back issues, or anyone who feels any strain in the back, I HIGHLY recommend working with a good RKC to make sure you will not make your back worse but get stronger and better over time.
Doing traditional kettlebell exercises, RKC style. Check out The Kettlebell Challenge sparkteam for more info - it welcomes everyone, from beginner to KB certified.
KETTLEBELLS PREPARE YOU FOR A HOST OF THINGS, BUT NOTHING PREPARES YOU FOR KETTLEBELLS.
Thank you soooo much, you really gave me a lot of information :) I kick boxed for about 7 years and I loved it, but i've got a bad back and had to give it up as per my Chiropractor. We've got a bow flex, but I can't seem to get into it...KB looks like something I'd like to do and I really want to tone up. I'm going to read the article, I hope I can get back to find it. I've been having a problem navigating my way around the message boards and finding my way back to the ones that I like :) Thanks again
This article won't exactly tell you how to start with KBs, but it will give you an idea of what to focus on. Given we have a lot of new members, its time to revisit this concept.
Build your foundation first.
Get a DVD that will teach you good swing form. And then build on this foundation first. Don't even go to the the other moves like the Clean and Press or Turkish Get-Up. Definitely don't move on to the snatch until you get your swings down.
As this article says, sweat the small stuff. And for beginners, that means the swing. Really focus on all the movements and getting them correct.
Given that swings are counter intuitive to any other kind of weight lifting there's a lot to think about. Trying to tighten your glutes, brace your abs, pull your knees up, and keeping your shoulders packed all at the same time takes practice. For a movement that looks deceptively easy, it is not simple, as Mark Reifkind, Master RKC often says.
So, read this article. Then do some research on your own. Then, after arming yourself with some knowledge, practice and perfect your swings.
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