If you are interested in kettlebell workouts or strength training you will have seen pictures of huge men easily lifting kettlebells. These guys make it look easy but without the right technique you will; best case scenario, not get the results you desire and worst case scenario, injure yourself. Kettlebell workouts are always been described as fun and easy, however they are only fun if you don’t hurt yourself. It is important, when you are starting out with kettlebells, to take the time to learn how to lift a kettlbell correctly. Russian strongmen may make it look easy to lift a kettlebell but believe me, it is harder than it looks.
If you are used to lifting dumbells or other types of weights it is important to realize that the lifting techniques for kettlebells are different. When lifting dumbells they are easy to balance because of where their center of gravity lies. With a kettlebell part of the exercise is using your muscles to keep control of, and balance the kettlebell. The way the kettlebell is designed makes the kettlebell more difficult to lift because of where the center of mass is. I will now describe the correct kettlebell lifting technique.
When lifting a kettlbell the power usually comes from your hips, abdomen and upper thighs. For most exercises you are utilizing your core muscles rather than trying to pull the kettlebell up with your arm muscles. Use a swinging movement and do not jerk the kettlebell. You should not be straining your back. It is important to know what you are capable and not over do it by lifting a kettlebell that is too heavy. Of course you need to push yourself to build muscle but always use common sense and listen to your body when deciding what is appropriate. For complicated exercises you should practice them first without a kettlebell until you are sure you have the correct form.
The most basic kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell swing. This is where you swing it from behind your legs up until your arms are straight out, parallel to the ground. When beginning your workout start with a lighter kettlbell. When swinging the power comes from your upper legs, abdomen and hips. Do not use your arms to lift the kettlebell, use the power from your hips to swing it upwards. Your knees should be slightly bent and you should avoid over bending or straining your wrists. Keep your back straight, this does not mean keeping it horizontal. Make sure your feet are flat on the ground and that you don’t lean forward, you should be sitting back into the swing rather than leaning forward. You should be facing forward with your gaze fixed ahead for the duration of the exercise.
If you ever feel you are straining as you are lifting, check to see that your technique is correct, this is how you will improve. Over time you will improve your technique so that the risk of injury will be minimal.