Kettlebell Lower Back Pain – Causes & Fixes (revisited)

by admin on February 3, 2012

How To Eliminate Kettlebell Lower Back Pain

We had an AWESOME ‘Kettlebells For Fat Loss’ workshop last Saturday at my gym in Sacramento, CA.  I love doing these workshops (I get to talk about one of my favorite things for hours on end!) – and it’s cool to see folks from 50, even 100 miles away come in for a half day of intensive, un-interupted kettlebell instruction.

Now like anything else that’s rapidly growing in popularity, there’s a lot of mis-information out there on kettlebell training/technique/etc.  And with folks at these events more often than not being self-taught, there’s some serious “re-learning” of the basics going on, to say the least :)

That being said, I see the same “kettlebell issues” pop up over and over again at these workshops – and with training clients in general – and one of the biggest ones is kettlebell lower back pain.  That is, people complain of their lower backs hurting during and/or after a kettlebell training session.

Plainly put, this is bad.  Because kettlebell exercises folks typically get back pain from doing – like swings, snatches, and cleans – aren’t exercises for your lower back! In fact, if you’re doing these exercises correctly, you shouldn’t feel them in your back at all.

Now while there are a variety of reasons why this can happen, in 90%+ of cases I see there are two main causes: 1) muscle (specifically core) weakness and 2) poor form.  In this article, I’m going to cover each of these KB LBP causes in a little more detail, and show you how to fix them.

Kettlebell lower back pain reason #1: muscle weakness

Lifting a kettlebell in a balistic fashion – as you do in a swing, snatch, or clean – will require your body to brace to stabilize the movement.  It will also place demands on the core muscles of your torso, including your lower back.

If your core muscles are weak, you won’t be able to brace effectively.  And you’ll get lower back pain.

Fix:

Check out this post for a quick test and my #1 exercise to improve your core strength:

How To Tell If Your Core Muscles Are Weak (plank test)

Kettlebell lower back pain reason #2: poor form

Poor form – specifically during KB movements where you flex forward at the hip – is another cause of kettlebell lower back pain.

Fix:

In a previous post on this blog, I covered two common kettlebell technique mistakes that cause lower back pain (and fixes to them as well) – click the link below to see that post now:

Lower Back Pain During The Kettlebell Swing – Causes & Fixes

In summary, kettlebell lower back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, but the two main ones are 1) muscle weakness and 2) poor form. The tips in this article will help you address both of these issues – use them to eliminate your lower back pain and accelerate your KB training results!

Train hard -

Forest Vance, RKC II

P.S. For more great tips and tricks like these delivered straight to your email inbox – and a free copy of my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training – just sign up for my newsletter by dropping your name and email address into the box at the upper right hand corner of the page!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia Snider February 3, 2012 at 2:47 am

I am a senior and was directed to this website by my son-in-law. I didn’t think there would be much I could do at my age. I was pleasantly sur rpised. There have been some I couldn’t do effectively but for the most part I have been following a routine that has helped me a lot. This session is particularly welcome.
Thank you Patricia Hyde-Snider

Reply

admin February 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

That’s great to hear Patricia – I’m glad to be of help!

Keep working hard

Forest

Reply

Jon May 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Just started using kettleballs and I have really felt a huge difference in my muscles during exercises. I highly recommend them.

Reply

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