I spent the first 20 years of my career cultivating techniques to pinpoint, and then surgically treat the often-elusive anatomical generator responsible for back pain. However, personal and professional experience led me to shift my focus towards enabling patients suffering with back pain to help themselves—independently—without their surgeon, therapist, chiropractor, medications, etc.
However, most of my patients are not innocent teenagers and tend to regard their back pain with anxiety. After obtaining an MRI, I discovered that I not only had a herniated disc, but also had a chronic stress fracture with a laxity between my L5 and S1 bones.
I ultimately managed to overcome my fears and embrace back strengthening again—but this time, with kettle bells. These patients learned how their posture and form could change with kettle bell training.
EXERCISE AND PAIN RELIEF: USING STRESS TO CREATE STRENGTH Back pain can be successfully treated by harnessing the synergy between the brain and the body—or in this case the brain and back —and by harnessing the equally extraordinary capacity of the body (and back) to adapt and change when properly stressed. The term, borrowed from Passim Tale’s book Anti fragile, refers to entities which are not eroded or weakened by stress, but instead become stronger.
Our capacity to change as a result of stress is called phenotypic plasticity. Recent research has shown that much of what was once thought to be meaningless DNA in our genome is likely dedicated to individual cells’ capacity to adapt to environmental stressors.
When stress is applied to an organism—a cell, an organ, or the entire individual—the adaptation is cumulative and interdependent. The organism’s design changes to match the functional demand created by the stress.
This biological matching of functional demand to structural design is called symmorphosis. An alternative approach to the same heart event would be to make the coronary arteries bigger.
How many of you would look to fundamentally change your heart by gradually training for and competing in marathons? In other words, how many of you would use the body’s capacity to change itself (symmorphosis) as the primary treatment of a disease?
Focusing on causing the cells, organs, and body to adapt to a stressor is quite different from the “quick fix” most of my patients crave or have come to expect. The pain may be the result of a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis (which was the case with my situation).
Back strengthening in this setting can also result in less pain by diminishing the motion between the spinal bones. Thus, the back can be held stiff while bending or getting up from a chair, preventing the sensation of pain.
However, we healthcare providers are currently doing a poor job of treating back pain. When I send patients to physical therapy, therapists often suggest that my measures are Draconian.
The therapists provide the more “sensible” advice: “let pain be your guide” in what exercises to perform. If the client subsequently becomes a patient of a therapist or doctor, one can only imagine the ensuing conversation… “He did WHAT to you?”
Kettle bell instructors are indispensable in this paradigm, as proper form, technique, variety, and safety are essential to success. The key to treating the patient with back pain is to find the “sweet spot”.
Proper supervision by kettle bell instructors maximizes the potential for healing. This is a perfect conceptual guideline for exercising with kettle bells as a treatment for back pain.
Kettle bell exercises work your lumbar extensors—key muscles in your lower back that can lead to pain if they’re weak. Plus, you’re exercising your hamstrings and glutes at the same time, says stuff author James Fisher, pH. D. Those are two of the most powerful muscle groups in your body—so not only will your lower back be better protected during any movement, but you’ll also increase your athleticism and lower-body strength, too.
It activates your glutes more than the standard version, and also teaches your body how to properly hinge at the hip—instead of squatting at the knees—during the exercise. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
Kettle bells provide for a larger range of mobility than barbells or even dumbbells, helping to maximize the pump and working on different types of muscles or focusing on one in particular. Besides looking great, strong back muscles can help to improve your posture and align your spine.
Bad posture has become quite the epidemic lately due to the large amount of desk jobs and smartphone use that is rampant in our society. There are numerous benefits to correct posture, including deeper breathing, reduced strain on bones and joints, and more energy.
So, now it’s time to bust out your favorite kettle bell and let’s get to work on buffing those back and shoulder muscles! Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hold your kettle bell by the handle with an overhand grip.
Squat and sit back with your hips, load the heels and keep your shins vertical. This exercise can be slightly difficult for beginners, as there are a lot of factors that you need to consider when performing it.
Watch the video below by kettle bell expert Greg Brookes in addition to reading the instructions for best effect! Stand with feet hip-width apart, and hold your kettle bell using both hands in front of your chest, arms straight outwards.
Sit into the stance, pushing your butt outwards and moving your chest forwards. Correcting this will place more emphasis on your shoulder muscles and also your core will have to work overtime to counteract this rotation.
A properly performed kettle bell swing will work your entire body, promoting stronger shoulders and back as well as a strong core and more flexible hips. Bend slightly at the knees but concentrate your movement on hinging your hips, then grasp the kettle bell.
Performing a good clean can be somewhat complicated, as there are a lot of moving parts to the exercise. Step out with one leg landing wider than shoulder width apart, squatting at the same time.
Adding a kettle bell means more muscles have to work to stabilize the weight, making it an even more effective exercise. Start in plank position, while keeping your right hand on a sturdy object that won’t easily move, like a bench or chair.
Interested in the best kettle bell and battle rope workouts on the web, with hundreds of video lessons taught by certified instructors? Head over to the Living. Fit workouts page, where you will find some of the best kettle bell and battle rope exercises, all with complete breakdown videos and community support every step of the way.
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