What Are the Dangers of Kettlebell Exercises?

It's embarrassing to stumble while running on a treadmill or to get out of sync in an aerobics class, but doing so often only affects your pride. Where kettlebells are concerned, a miscue can quickly turn into an injury for yourself, someone else or damage to the gym. Kettlebells provide a muscle-burning workout, but also come with a high degree of responsibility.

Space

In a crowded gym, a kettlebell can become a weapon if you don't give yourself enough space. Many common kettlebell exercises require you to hold the weight out to your side, lift it overhead or even swing it in a circular motion. An injury can quickly arise if someone walks too closely to you and steps into the path of your kettlebell, while too small a workout area can result in you hitting a wall, window or piece of gym equipment with the kettlebell.

Overtraining

As with any type of weight training, overdoing it can result in a muscle strain or even a tear. Because kettlebell training is different than standard weight training, you might not be able to initially identify your limits. If you're new to kettlebells, start with a moderate workout and then see how you feel in the following days. If you're in more pain than standard weight training, lessen the weight or intensity of the workout.

Back Pain

One of the keys for many kettlebell exercises, including swings and snatches, is to maintain a straight spine. If you bend forward and curve your spine, you risk causing injury to the muscles in your back or even your spinal discs. Keep a perfectly straight spine during these exercises, and if you have trouble doing so, switch to a lighter weight of kettlebell.

Other

Gripping the kettlebell too tightly can result in sore hand and elbow muscles, and even increase your blood pressure, according to the American Council on Exercise. Adopting too wide a stance while performing kettlebell exercises can lead to back problems, while using too heavy a weight when holding the kettlebell over your head can cause it to fall backward onto your forearm. "Men's Fitness" warns that some running shoes that elevate your heels can push your knees unsafely forward, leading to knee problems during kettlebell squats.

 

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.