Kettlebell workouts are popular in the fitness industry for good reason. These powerful strength training tools offer an efficient method for increasing power and strength while burning calories. Many trainers and athletes have begun to take advantage of the compact size and versatility kettlebells have to offer. But beginners should beware that there are a variety of kettlebell mistakes that can result in serious injury and lack of gains. Here are five common kettlebell mistakes to avoid during your strength training session:
- Going too heavy
It may seem tempting to just grab the heaviest kettlebell you can handle and begin training but this can result in serious injuries and minimize results. This is because adding heavy weight to a movement before you have perfected the form can be very hazardous. You may assume that your body should be able to handle the same weight in kettlebells as it can in dumbbells but you need to take into account the differing weight distribution of kettlebells. In order to prevent injuries and maximize gains we recommend starting your session by practicing kettlebell exercise movements with no weight at all until you have perfected the form. From there, start slow in terms of the weight you are lifting.
- Not using your entire body
One of the reasons that kettlebell exercises are so effective for things like weight loss and muscle toning is that they are full body movements. Beginners tend to focus on their upper body or other isolated muscle groups when learning kettlebell workouts but this can be unsafe and ineffective. To get the most out of your kettlebell routine, focus on the motion of your lower body and core. Kettlebell workouts are complex movements that involve every muscle group so keeping that in mind as you train should help you get the most out of your workouts.
- Wearing the wrong shoes
Leave your running shoes at the door because they will only hinder your ability to perform kettlebell exercises properly. This is because thick soles like the ones in running or other workout shoes often don’t allow for natural foot movements, which are necessary for effective kettlebell performance. Because kettlebells have an uneven weight distribution, your body is going to utilize more muscle fibers for each movement. Because of this, your body will require footwear that allows for natural balance and stability so try to train in basic, flat shoes or even bare feet for the best results.
- Moving too fast
This can be especially dangerous for exercises that demand a wide range of movement such as the Kettlebell Swing. Losing control of weight training equipment, especially a kettlebell, can result in not only gym damage but pulled muscles and other injuries as well. Start slow; there is no rush to the finish line with kettlebell exercises. Beginning your workout at a slower pace will allow you to ease into a quicker pace safely and effectively.
- Aiming for quality over quantity
Excessive numbers of reps of a kettlebell exercise performed with poor form is not only a waste of time but it can be unsafe as well. This rule applies to not just kettlebell movements but also strength training workouts, which often require attention to proper form. When you are first starting out you should limit yourself to five reps for each set. This allows you to slowly adapt to a wide variety of kettlebell exercises safely and effectively.