Whether you're just started out in training with kettlebells or have been at it for some time, you need to understand that mistakes in form and function can not only hamper your training progress, but can actually derail your training, either injuring you or forcing you to spend much more time retraining yourself from bad habits that have crept in and kept you from growing. (No pun intended!) Let's take a look at seven of the more common ways people tend to sabotage their kettlebell success, and how to avoid these!
<strong>Bending Your Wrists</strong> – One of the easiest flaws to spot, but also very easy to creep into your training. Bent wrists not only place a great deal of undue stress on your joints and tendons, but will result in a weaker lift besides. Trying to get the wrists to help the muscle group you're working out short circuits the exercise completely, and can possibly lead to injury.
Bending Your Elbows – Closely related, bending your elbows is a no-no when it comes to kettlebells. Whether it's in a get-up or an overhead press, failing to lock your elbows up will lead to poor form, and possibly cascading kettlebells. Keep your eyes on the bell, and this will aid you in keeping both your wrists and elbows in line.
<strong>Rounding One's Back</strong> – This one leads to many injuries and much lost training time. Failing to keep one's shoulders back and chest forward is a sign of either poor form, too much weight, or perhaps too much fatigue. You want to pinch your shoulder blades together and focus on maintaining your shoulders low and back, thus forcing you into better form.
<strong>Improper Weight Distribution</strong> – This is particularly important when performing swing exercises. It can lead to imbalance and possibly injury, and certainly effects the performance of the swing greatly. If you find yourself on your toes when executing swings, you'll need to make more of a concerted effort to keep your heels down during the exercise.
<strong>Swinging Too Widely in the Clean</strong> – When performing the clean it's vitally important to keep your forearms very close to your body when doing the exercise. If you don't, you may find yourself flailing away, getting way too much arc in your movement, and quite likely banging yourself in the process. (NEVER any fun!) Try and make this as smooth an exercise as possible, and don't overdrive with the hips. By keeping things compact and close to your body, you don't risk clanging yourself and wrenching your elbows and shoulders.
<strong>Insufficient Hip Snap</strong> – This is especially important during the swing. It's very easy to let your arms get involved here and try and muscle the weight up, instead of letting the movement itself propel the kettlebell up. Avoid this temptation! Try and think of your arms as a conduit from your body to the bell, transferring the energy thereto. It's also key to avoid leaning backwards during this movement. Instead visualize a straight line from your heels up through your back and out through your head. This will help you keep proper form.
<strong>Training When Over Fatigued</strong> – While not a form error, this one can contribute just as mightily to your demise by getting you hurt and putting you out of action for awhile. Make sure you are not overly fried when attempting to do your kettlebell training, especially some of the more complex movements, particularly anything over your head. If you had too much, put them down! Live to fight another day!
Avoiding these mistakes and other similar can help you go further faster in your kettlebell training and keep you healthier and happier at the same time.