6 Kettlebell Mistakes You Should Stop Making

kettlebell mistakes

There is no better fitness conditioning tool to get you in the best shape of your life, fast, than the kettlebell -yes, not even the rope workouts.

You probably also have noticed that there have been many more women in recent weeks, months, years in and out of the gym who are swinging, lifting and squatting with a kettlebell. But are they doing it right?

Here are 6 most common mistakes made with the kettlebell, which you may not know but will after this post. 

Mistake #1: Confusing the swing for a squat.

The most common mistake people make when doing a kettle bell swing is not actually swinging.

People often confuse it with a squat and sit down with the bell rather than hiking it back and hinging their hips.

It is totally different to a squat, it’s actually closer in movement pattern to a conventional deadlift.

The movement is a fast and powerful thrusting movement that is driven through the hips.

Mistake #2: Swinging with a rounded spine.

You often see people with rounded shoulders at the bottom phase of the swing rather than in a neutral spine position with packed shoulders. This is not good.

The swing is the foundation of effective kettlebell training. It dramatically improves an athlete’s performance in most sports from running to fighting to lifting.

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Mistake #3: Having an incorrect set-up

Kettlebell Swings

This is the set up position for the swing: start a foot and a half back from the bell with your feet hip to shoulder distance apart. Keep your weight in your heels with balls of your feet planted; neutral spine with shoulders packed, both hands on the bell.

From this position, pass the bell through your legs and then stand up by driving the hips forward with a power breath whilst contracting through the glutes.

It should be a fast explosive movement to enhance power and strength.

Squats, Presses and Cleans

In the rack, the start position for front squats, presses, cleans with the kettle bell should be shoulder height. Ensure your fingers are tight around the bell and there is no bend in the wrist.

You should feel the bell on the outside of the forearm. The arm should be pressed against the ribs with the thumb sitting level with the collar bone.

Mistake #4: Thinking a kettlebell is only used for swings.

As the set up instructions would suggest, there’s more than swinging to be done with a kettlebell.

There are 6 primary moves in kettlebell practice: Swing, Turkish getup, squat, clean, press, snatch. Start with the swing and the get up. Master them, then move on. They form the foundations of the other movements.

Mistake #5: Trying to work with the wrong weight.

As a general rule of thumb, ladies start with a bell 8kg in size if total beginners, and 12kg if conditioned.

It goes without saying that strength is a skill and needs to be learned correctly, preferably with a great teacher first then continued self practice.

The weight of the bell will increase progressively as skill is mastered.

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Mistake #6: Using kettlebells like dumbbells.

The shape and compact size of a kettlebell allows the user to safely accelerate it on the way down on exercises like swings and snatches.

This is because the mass of the kettlebell is directly in line with the angle of pull/push. For a swing or a snatch the hand and bell should be dangerously close to the users crutch. This would be really awkward with a dumbbell.


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6 kettlebell mistakes you should stop making

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