The secret is out – adding kettlebells to your exercise routine produces unparalleled results in terms of improving your strength, power, flexibility, and body composition. But as is most often the case with a good thing, a rise in popularity is quickly followed by an increase in bastardization by those looking to hop on the bandwagon in order to make a quick buck. Here are 5 common mistakes often seen when someone has not had the benefit of receiving quality instruction from an RKC or HKC certified instructor.
1. Training With Shoes On
Training barefoot allows for proper body mechanics and increased stability though enhanced sensory perception through receptors on the bottom on your feet. An elevated heel throws your weight forward onto the toes, exponentially increasing shearing forces on the knee as well as causing Mistake #2 – lack of hip-hinge. Nike Shox, Reebok ZigTechs, and Sketchers Tone-ups are some of the worst offenders. Save your money and don’t be fooled by the marketing hype!
2. Lack of Hip-hinge
Hinging at the hips allows you to sufficiently load and use the glutes and hamstrings as opposed to your lower back and knees. Learning to effectively produce movement and power at the hips is also the foundation of athletic movement and performance. The lack of a hip-hinge results in the trainee ‘squatting’ their swings and deadlifts, further feeding the quad dominance so prevalent today. Push with your tush!
3. Unpacked/Disconnected Shoulders
Maintaining a packed shoulder position during pressing/pulling movements is essential for shoulder health and safety. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints of the human body, and therefore requires a large amount of stability to maintain proper function and health long term. Many trainees over-extend the arm resulting in a shoulder that becomes rounded forward. Think about placing your shoulder blades in your back pocket – down and back.
4. Poor Wrist Positioning
Proper wrist positioning when pressing/pulling a kettlebell involves a locked and neutral wrist – think ‘knuckles up’. Failure to do so makes it almost impossible to maintain a packed and connected shoulder, in addition to being a major source of energy leakage and therefore a drain on power, strength, and performance. It also places undue strain on the tendons and ligaments of the wrist. Similar neutral positioning should also be present in the spine and neck.
5. Breathing (lack thereof)
Proper breathing when using kettlebells should be audible to those in the next room. The intra-abdominal pressure created by forcefully ‘sniffing’ in during the bottom or ‘catch’ of the movement combined with the forceful exhale through the exertion portion of each rep is essential for lower back safety. It also helps establish a rhythm or pace to the set. ‘Sniff’ in with the intent of expanding the belly, the OPPOSITE of the ‘drawing in’ method taught in Pilates.
The common theme with the above mistakes is a reduction in safety, exponentially increasing your risk of injury. If you are injured you can’t train, if you can’t train you can’t accomplish your goals. Don’t skimp on quality when it comes to your health and safety – demand instruction from an RKC and HKC certified instructor!
To locate an RKC or HKC instructor in your area, visit: http://www.dragondoor.com/instructors/