Fun fact – unlike other types of weights, kettle bells were not invented for resistance training, or any type of fitness. In fact, they were invented in Russia in the 1700's as a method of weighing crops.
Ironically, it is because kettle bells weren't invented for fitness, that they are so effective and so popular in fitness.
Kettle bells are asymmetrically weighted, which makes them unstable, forcing you to contract more muscles (and build more strength) than if you were lifting the same amount of weight in a dumbbell or barbell.
Instability is good for defining your forearms and shoulders, but not ideal for preventing forearm and should injuries. This is my guide to kettle bell safety.
The 2 most common kettle bell injuries are shoulder and wrist subluxations. Preventing the kettle bell from slipping is the easiest and most effective way to prevent subluxations.
Hold the handle in your palm, with the weight sitting comfortably behind your wrist. The handle will sit at about a 30-degree angle to follow the shape of your hand – don't try to change the natural angle. Holding the kettle bell like this will be quite stable, but to be 100% sure that it won't slip, curl your fingers over the handle to grip it.
2. Forearm release
Even when you're grip is absolutely perfect, kettle bells will always put some strain through the forearms. It is important that you've always got good strength and range of motion through your forearms to prevent muscle tearing and contusion.
If you're mid-exercise, you don't want to stretch. Stretching will make the muscle temporarily weaker, and you won't be able to lift as heavy as you want. The best mid-exercise muscle release is trigger point massage. Find your forearm trigger points, and self-massage them until they hurt a little less. They'll be in a different location for everyone, but they usually lurk in these sorts of areas:
Just like any exercise, but especially with any gym exercise, see a personal trainer to correct your form regularly. Email me for a qualified PT referral.
For more information on kettle bells, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark