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Can Kettlebell Swings Hurt Your Knees

author
Earl Hamilton
• Thursday, 29 October, 2020
• 11 min read

*Coach Elder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post I had been riding my elliptical machine and training hard on the Olympic weights which had been my routine since high school; on and off of course.

kettlebell swings them equipment hurt knees dong wrong am utilized workout pieces five under why need correctly resource learn
(Source: www.quora.com)

Contents

This did not only affect me mentally but it also took a toll on my career since I couldn’t even walk, how was I going to train people? There was also the realization that “maybe I don’t know as much as I think that I know about physical training.” I spent the next few years answering that question as well as many others that I posed to myself that day.

Would I be able to do the things that I did before such as running marathons, mudder races, cycling events, dancing, martial arts training, work with kettle bells and just be me ? The education that I learned in trying to solve my issues gave me the tools to help and even prevent others from going through what I did.

I experienced defeat but pressed on and found the jewels that were buried under the stinky cow-shit; I was enlightened if you will. When we are injured and perform movements incorrectly, the body lets us know and not in a subtle way.

Our mechanics need to be spot on and this is the focus that allowed me to learn how to move with a kettle bell properly. By hammering in the basics for countless repetitions, it allowed me to build that strong base and to strengthen the muscle groups that I needed in order to make up for my leaks/injuries.

The strange thing about this scenario was that both knees were hurting during my kettle bell swing practice. I noticed that my feet were splayed open a bit too much while I was swinging and squatting.

kettlebell knee challenge pain body exercise weight self circuit physiology knees
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Once I began to address this form issue and used the tip in the video tutorial below, the pain was gone! Undue pressure was being put on my knees and my body wanted no part of that so it let me know with pain.

You can still exercise your body and get some enormous results without a full knee bend. Below I have listed 2 exercises for bad knees and also how you can rehabilitate and strengthen your knees.

The Kettle bell Swing is the perfect exercise choice for those suffering with bad knees because it works your cardio hard without you needing to fully bend your knees or use knee jolting impact. The kettle bell swing uses the buttocks, hips, quads, hamstrings and back during each repetition.

Step ups can offer you the perfect flexibility to strengthen your legs, buttocks and hips while avoiding knee pain. Begin by using a step height that allows you to perform 10 – 15 repetitions on each side without causing you any knee pain.

Your goal is 3 sets of 15 reps on each side WITHOUT pain, 3 times per week. Continue practicing the workout 3 times per week until you manage to raise the step to knee height.

knee self
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You can now start adding extra load, by holding a kettle bell in both hands or a pair of dumbbells. If you avoid all squatting and lunging movements you are setting yourself up for further injuries in the future due to the compensations your body has to make.

If you lack mobility at your hips or ankles then the knee joint has to work overtime. Skiers damage their knees because they remove the ability for the ankle to become mobile when wearing ski boots.

Movement of any painful joint is a vital part of its healing process Start by practicing the squat holding onto a wall, post, chair etc.

Keep you weight back on your heals to take the strain away from your knees and into the hamstrings and buttocks. Continue daily for 5 – 10 reps each time trying to go deeper but avoiding pain.

Take action : perform 5 – 10 assisted squats, as deep and pain-free as possible, daily Use the following kettle bell swing workout to strengthen the hamstrings, quads, buttocks, hip and back without overloading the knees.

kettlebell swing low exercises impact knee
(Source: fitnessbit.net)

Once you can complete the following workout comfortably replace the kettle bell swing for the assisted squat exercise (using a pole or resistance band as shown above). I hope you have found this useful and if you do suffer from bad knees it will help on your road to recovery.

According to a survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 30% of adults reported some type of joint pain during the last 30 days. In the world of rehabilitation, scientific literature has been pointing to the muscles of the hip as a major player in knee pain 2.

The Hip Abductors are responsible for maintaining pelvic motion and femoral alignment during function. The High Knees are a great exercise for the Hip Abductors because it combines strengthening with balance.

By lifting the kettle bell using dorsiflexion and hip flexion, a sudden downward force is created on the side opposite to the stance limb. This force then requires the hip muscles of the stance limb to engage and prevent a sudden drop in pelvic height on the lifting side.

There are a couple compensatory movements to watch for including excessive leaning, lateral shifting, and forward flexion of the spine. If one does not control posture and engage the muscles of the stance limb, then the body will want to flex forward.

kettlebell pain swings low swing spine
(Source: breakawayfitnessandperformance.com)

One of the best exercises to apply this force and thus strengthen the muscles of the hip for knee pain is the Side Swing. By swinging the kettle bell on the side of the body, more weight is pulled over the lower extremity (and hip) you wish to strengthen.

This same pull will also attempt to bring the knee and femur into a position of adduction and internal rotation. By moving into the combination of a dead lift and mini-lunge, the hip abductor must be activated to prevent changes in the horizontal position of the pelvis.

By holding the kettle bell on the opposite side of the stance limb, additional muscle recruitment is forced upon the hip abductors. This exercise also requires that the individual is in good control of knee position; avoiding adduction and internal rotation is of key importance.

Additionally, maintaining the single leg stance is an added challenge for control and balance. In the address of knee pain, training and strengthening the body in functional movement is always a desirable plus.

Comparison of hip and knee strength and neuromuscular activity in subjects with and without patellofemoral pain syndrome. Dr. Ben Fun, PT, DPT, a licensed Physical Therapist in the state of California has written another insightful article for us, this time on the topic of using kettle bells for knee pain.

kettlebell swings
(Source: theprehabguys.com)

Dr. Fun’s thesis on kettle bell exercise was presented and published by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2010. Dr. Fun founded Kettle bell and Physio kinetic Fitness” which went on to become a San Diego 2011 “Best Alternative Exercise Studio” Finalist in its opening year.

Hi all, Recently I have started to experience some pain on the inside of my knees. I try to lock the knees at the top of the swing, I am also pulling the kneecaps.

Level 9 Valued Member Elite Certified Instructor May, looks mechanically OK as far as the movement and angles, but it looks to me like you need more active quad involvement.

At the top of the swing (the standing plank), your quads should be TIGHT, which is usually accomplished by focusing on “pulling the kneecaps up” like you said. Anyway, perhaps this puts more strain on your knees. Try this... without a kettle bell, “jump” without actually letting your feet leave the ground.

This happened to me when my adductors (muscles on the inside of the thigh) were tight. Tight adductors, or calves, can lead to pain and discomfort in that part of your knee.

exercise kettlebell
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This happened to me when my adductors (muscles on the inside of the thigh) were tight. First-prying goblet squats should help lengthen adductors.

Also, to consider if need be: vasts medial is, gracious (the sometimes forgotten adductor), sartorius, semimembranosus, semitendinosis. Adductor Magnus has a particularly nasty one that can develop unnoticed up by the social tuberosity (butt bone).

May, looks mechanically OK as far as the movement and angles, but it looks to me like you need more active quad involvement. At the top of the swing (the standing plank), your quads should be TIGHT, which is usually accomplished by focusing on “pulling the kneecaps up” like you said.

Anyway, perhaps this puts more strain on your knees. Try this... without a kettle bell, “jump” without actually letting your feet leave the ground. Thanks, Anna, Now that I think of it, I mainly focus on squeezing the glutes and locking the knees, not sure about quads.

This happened to me when my adductors (muscles on the inside of the thigh) were tight. Tight adductors, or calves, can lead to pain and discomfort in that part of your knee.

kettlebell lower swing pain
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Also, to consider if need be: vasts medial is, gracious (the sometimes forgotten adductor), sartorius, semimembranosus, semitendinosis. Adductor Magnus has a particularly nasty one that can develop unnoticed up by the social tuberosity (butt bone).

I have never tried goblet squats as they are not even mentioned in Etc (my first and currently only book I have about kettle bells). May I highly recommend that you take a few days off until your knees are better.

“One of the recommended actions discussed on this forum is FMS screening. The philosophy was introduced in 1995, at a time when there was no systematic tool to identify movement asymmetries or major limitations in functional movement patterns.

Hi May, It might just be the angle, but looks to me like you're hyper extending your lower back at the top of your right-handed swing. I have never tried goblet squats as they are not even mentioned in Etc (my first and currently only book I have about kettle bells).

They are meant to “open the hips”, aka it really stretches the adductors well and has really improved my squat form and depth. I have already dropped the volume of my training and plan to focus on suggestions I have read here when executing my swings much more than on doing a lot of reps.

exercises hip kettlebell knee gymguider meniscus circuit strengthening pain injuries ift tt tear bursitis repairing beneficial bad body workout lower
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Your pain could be caused by using improper form, it could also be from using the wrong size bell (too heavy), or it could be from OVERUSE. Continuing to train in that situation will only make things worse.

@andrewswanson I agree wholeheartedly, hence I am reducing training volume. For example yesterday I dropped the rep count completely and focused only on the form.

The press: OK, so... my kettle bell has the distance between handle and the bell to small for my hands and if I keep the wrist locked, have the back of hand parallel to the forearm, the bell rests exactly on the wrist. I have read a bit on adductors, and I am getting the feeling that Elks pump stretch, although it says it is stretching the hip flexors is also stretching the adductors.

So yesterday when I was doing pump stretch I tried to focus on adductors and I felt instant relief on the inside of the knees, at least for a short time. I have read a bit on adductors, and I am getting the feeling that Elks pump stretch, although it says it is stretching the hip flexors is also stretching the adductors.

Stretching the iliopsoas aka hip flexors will have an effect upon the adductor Magnus, the largest adductor muscle, as the iliopsoas and adductor Magnus are part of the same myocardial train of fascia (connective tissue that envelopes muscles), the deep front line. This lengthening can be temporary, or longer lasting, depending on if the muscle in question being worked on is the primary cause of shortening throughout that facial train.

kettlebell swings master hips swing arms position shoulder level
(Source: www.movenourishbelieve.com)

Adding in an adductor stretch may accelerate improvement or it may not. Consequently, Pavel has all those on SAS doing stretches or exercises that affect major players in the deep front line (whether he realized he was affecting that line or not, who knows, but he chose what he knows works). The 90/90 stretch hits the hip external rotators.

The SL straddle takes care of the quadrats lumber on the sides of the lumbar spine. Doing all these things combined leads to a much deeper sensation of relaxation throughout the lower back and hips.

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Sources
1 www.canadiantire.ca - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/sports-rec/fitness-exercise/weightlifting-strength-training/weights.html
2 www.walmart.ca - https://www.walmart.ca/en/sports-rec/exercise-fitness/strength-weight-training/kettlebells/N-4574
3 www.treadmillfactory.ca - https://www.treadmillfactory.ca/kettlebells
4 www.amazon.ca - https://www.amazon.ca/b
5 kettlebellcanada.ca - http://kettlebellcanada.ca/