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Do Kettlebell Swings Work Lower Back

Statistically, back pain has a tendency to go into and come out of remission and though the symptoms can be relieved, often the problem remains unless we get to the cause.

author
James Smith
• Tuesday, 15 December, 2020
• 9 min read
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Fortunately, time, energy and resources for rehab and prevention can be optimized by utilizing Kettle bell Swings as a practical solution when compared to other expensive, lengthy, and sometimes invasive methods of treatment for low back issues. Keeping a kettle bell under your desk and performing KettlebellSwings for one minute each hour may alleviate your back pain and trim your waistline” — Dr Patrick Roth, Neurosurgeon practicing in New Jersey

If your glutes are weak, or ‘inactivated’ when lifting or extending your hip, your lower back is going to compensate for the larger, more powerful gluteal muscles. By educating your muscles how to hip hinge correctly before practicing the Kettle bell Swing will fire up your CNS to perform the exercise optimally and shorten time in getting results.

If you don’t have a pipe or dowel, achieve neutral spine by making points of contact while standing back against a wall, tuck your chin to lengthen your cervical spine all the way to the top, making contact with the back of your head against the wall. Aim to not bend much at your knees and return to start position by driving through your heels and activating your glutes and hamstrings to extend your hips.

“One small kettle bell hidden under a desk in the office can provide time-effective back and hamstring strengthening, along with hip-flexor stretching” Train with a kettle bell on nonconsecutive days and perform a five- to 10-minute dynamic warm up before you begin.

Always keep your spine in a neutral position as you’re performing the exercises, which means it’s not bent forward or hyper extended. The muscle is also constantly working isometrically, which means it’s contracting to hold your spine in a stable position.

kettlebell lower swing pain
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The alternating kettle bell bent-over row forces your lower back to contract isometrically and hold you in a bent-over position as you perform the exercise. Pull one kettle bell to the side of your torso, and then lower it, switching arms with each rep.

In addition to your lower back, the bent-over row also works the latissimus Doris in your upper back and your biceps. While maintaining your torso position, move the kettle bell through your legs in a figure eight patterns, transferring it between hands as necessary.

Hold a single kettle bell in one hand and set your feet slightly wider than your hips. Using your glutes, extend your hips, back and knees to swing the kettle bell up and in front of you.

If you experience lower back pain while performing the basic hip hinge then you need to either work more on your technique or seek hands-on advice from a professional. If you are performing the kettle bell swing correctly then you should feel your buttocks, hamstrings and core muscles working hard.

If you have mastered the hip hinge, are swinging the kettle bell, but experiencing back pain then here are 7 reasons things may be going wrong: Controlling your pelvis is very important when performing any type of dead lift movement pattern including the kettle bell swing.

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Tight quads and weak inactive ab muscles can cause the pelvis to tilt forwards resulting in an arch at the lower back. An excessive arch in the lower back (Lords) can pinch the nerves in the lumbar spine and disturb the intricacies of the vertebrae.

How to fix it: stretch out your quads frequently by lying on your belly and pulling your heel to your buttocks, at the same time pushing your groin into the floor. Secondly, brace your abs tight to prevent your pelvis from tilting forwards, think about pulling your tall between your legs.

Leaning back past the cent reline and pushing your hips forwards will result in additional stress to the lower back. A common problem with so many exercises is an excessive backwards lean often resulting from bad proprioception and weakness in the core muscles.

Many people lean backwards during the swing because they lack the explosive strength from the hip drive to raise the kettle bell. Excessive back extension is very common when performing the American kettle bell swing and one reason I do not recommend it.

How to fix it: contract your abs and buttocks tight at the top of the swing and bring your tail between your legs. If your pelvis is prevented from rotating forwards then your lower back must provide the additional movement resulting in overwork and ultimately back injury.

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The lower back should stay flat by isometrically contracting the muscles to maintain a neutral spine position throughout the swing. You may experience lower and middle back pain after your kettlebellswings if you are making this swing mistake.

How to fix it: go back and practice the single-handed dead lift using your hips to generate the power rather than your lower back. If you are trying to squat and swing at the same time then you will be overusing your arms and relying on your back muscles to maintain the kettle bell position out in front of you.

When swinging correctly the power comes from the hips driving forwards and backwards and the arms merely control the kettle bell. If you suffer from a weakness in the mid and lower traps then your shoulders may have a tendency to gravitate upwards as opposed to back and down.

How to fix it: master the hip hinge, relax the arms and work on developing the scapula stabilizers with wall slides A warm bath and massage can help stimulate blood flow and improve healing times but ultimately it will be a waiting game.

Wait until you are fully healed before regressing the movement to the single arm dead lift and taking note of the 7 points mentioned above. If you are recovering from a kettlebellback injury then wait until your back is fully healed before attempting the kettle bell swing again.

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Kettlebellswings are excellent for strengthening the lowerback, but they do need to be performed correctly using a good quality hip hinge movement. Czech Republic’s Dr Vladimir Wanda is renowned for drawing our attention to the rise in “gluteal amnesia”.

This common problem is a typical side effect of too much sitting and basically means that the backside muscles have got so used to not working that they have permanently fallen asleep. To quickly get an understanding of how the gluteal muscles help your core, try leaning backwards from a standing position.

However, leading sports therapist to the Navy SEALs and NFL teams, Gray Cook comments: “You can go to parallel in the squat without fully activating the glutes, however a Kettle bell Swing done with correct form will quickly light them up”.

Exercise physiologist Bret Contreras’ has also found that the Kettle bell Swing far exceeds the glute activation of a squat. This is perfect to open the muscles at the front of the hips, helping posture and taking the strain off the lower back.

Prof. Stuart McGill has found that learning to brace the core is more effective for spinal health and longevity than the classic “hollowing” or pulling navel to spine. Kettle bells are manufactured in a wide range of weights for everyone from beginners to competitive strength athletes.

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Functional kettle bell training increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness by developing the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. Fundamental kettle bell exercises include swings, anchor squats, cleans, high pulls and push presses.

Also, in all kettle bell exercises, the spinal and core muscles work to stabilize the body. Because of this combination (being always involved in the movement, in addition to always stabilizing the body), kettle bell exercises train the spinal muscles to build power and stability in the spine, pelvis, hips and abdominal muscles.

The large functional movements ensure the entire body works in synergy. This is different from many other types of strengthening exercises that isolate specific muscles; kettle bell training relies on full body movements to lift the weight.

For maximum benefit and injury prevention, it is extremely important to execute all kettle bell exercises with perfect technique. Work with a knowledgeable kettle bell instructor to learn proper technique for all exercises.

If you enjoy kettle bell training and it feels right for you, then learn the exercises and perform them correctly and consistently to strengthen your spinal muscles and increase your health, fitness, and functionality. A sprinter’s engine is the sum of his muscles, tendons, and ligaments working in harmony with one goal: produce maximum force from the ground to propel him or herself toward the finish line.

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To enhance speed and force production, drills on the track are designed to potentiate the body’s elasticity. Sprinting occurs over it.” The statement rings true to the powerful posterior chain present in all sprinters.

The sprinter’s power is not a product of his vertical displacement per se, rather, the force produced by the hips extending and pushing the body forward. Since the combination of the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, and spinal erectors work synergistically in a force-couple relationship, training should focus on using these muscles in unison for maximum speed development.

Through kettle bell ballistic exercises, the sprinter will become faster, more powerful, and reduce chances of injury. This is a valuable insight when considering that if an athlete’s central nervous system is fried from too heavy of lifting, their performance during sprinting will suffer.

Kettle bells offer the athlete a chance to train their power, speed, and strength in a safe, consistent and effective manner. This movement brings the body into a standing plank where the athlete must contract the muscles of the hips, quads, and abdominal sat once.

The direct transfer of energy from the downswing to the upswing causes a unique attribute: a quick eccentric action to a powerful extension. When we travel upstream of the foot, we see that the sprinter’s calves, hamstrings, and glutes extend to push them forward.

kettlebell lower stiff swings
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If we are able to replicate this hip extension pattern during off-the-field training, we create a functional movement, producing high forces that translate to faster times. The spine is braced in a neutral posture and quite dynamic hip extension activation can be trained.

It is also an exercise in which the entire posterior chain is ‘balanced’ in all aspects of performance back fitness.” The lower back develops great isometric endurance through kettlebellswings. If maximum power potential is the goal, I recommend sets of 5-10 swings with the heaviest bell proper form will permit.

If the athlete is not strong enough, they will be unable to absorb the force impact of the foot landing on the track and turn that into propulsion forward. What happens next is pure, explosive magic: The upswing comes from the high tension produced by the hips during the back swing.

The athlete must absorb the impact of the power jump in the downswing to propel the bell forward in the upswing. Before getting started with the ply swing, make sure that you master your heavy kettlebellswings with a focus on accelerating the bell into the downswing.

A heavy kettle bell snatch requires a large output of force from the hips into the upper back musculature. The hips of are the driver of the “ball and chain.” In the snatch however, one hand attaches to the bell, creating greater demands on the core musculature to disallow rotation in the movement.

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Snatching a bell involves total connection of the body in order to prevent rotation during the swing portion of the movement. If the snatch does not have the prerequisite of total body tension, the bell is likely to be redirected to the wrong spot and the lift may be missed.

Even as a world-class sprinter approaches their maximum velocity, it is only a matter of time before they start to slow from their top speed. By scientifically progressing through intensity and volume, the snatch delivers heart pounding conditioning that is applicable to sprint training.

For power specific training, the athlete should use a heavy bell (up to half body weight) for low (3-6) repetitions. For power endurance work, the athlete may use a lighter bell (16 kg-24kg for men, 10-16 kg for women) for 10-20 repetitions.

My favorite type of workout is “contrast training.” To work anaerobic, glycolysis, and aerobic energy systems at once, I will perform a heavy grind exercise like a dead lift and superset it with high volume snatches. I’ll set longer recovery periods (3:00-5:00 minutes) between these bouts to ensure that form stays on point.

Although practice on the track is necessary to master the skill of power and speed, off-the-field training should serve to enhance the athlete’s abilities. Unlike the barbell, technique is honed more safely and comprehensively to allow the athlete to focus on his singular goal of faster sprinting.

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The ply swing will develop robustness in the body to withstand the rigors of dynamic sports and activities. There is a learning curve that requires the athlete to hone their form, but the benefits are worth the effort.

Kettle bell ballistics offer speed development in a safe, fun, and effective manner.

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Sources
1 www.onnit.com - https://www.onnit.com/academy/why-the-kettlebell-swing-is-the-solution-for-low-back-pain/
2 livehealthy.chron.com - https://livehealthy.chron.com/kettlebell-work-lower-back-4434.html
3 kettlebellsworkouts.com - https://kettlebellsworkouts.com/kettlebell-swing-mistakes-back-pain/
4 www.nourishingmoves.com - https://www.nourishingmoves.com/nourishing-moves/2018/5/13/why-the-kettlebell-swing-is-good-for-you-back
5 www.spineuniverse.com - https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/exercise/functional-kettlebell-training-spine
6 strengthaxis.com - https://strengthaxis.com/sprinting-speed-kettlebell-ballistics/