Why Does My Back Hurt After Doing Kettlebells?


By Jon Spayde |

Lower-back discomfort is a common complaint among novice kettlebell enthusiasts, says Experience Life fitness editor Maggie Fazeli Fard, RKC. Luckily, form adjustments can make a huge difference.

The key to mastering the kettlebell swing is to remember that you are the master, she says. You swing the kettlebell; the weight does not swing you. This small mindset shift can create big changes. Also try these form tips:

  1. in kettlebell swings. Your hands do not pull the weight up to chest height; they guide the direction of the kettlebell as your hips propel it. Likewise, on the downswing, the kettlebell does not pull you down; you press the kettlebell down, high and back between your legs. Controlling the kettlebell will keep it from pulling you out of alignment, which can also strain your back.

If these tips don’t relieve your discomfort, ask a professional coach for personalized feedback. If you experience pain while swinging, stop immediately and talk to your healthcare provider; the problem may be more serious than poor kettlebell form.

This originally appeared as “I love swinging kettlebells, but my back often hurts afterward. What am I doing wrong?” in the May 2018 print issue of Experience Life.

’s fitness editor explains how to protect your back while swinging kettlebells.By Maggie Fazelli-Fard, RKCLower-back discomfort is a common complaint among novice kettlebell enthusiasts — but luckily, it doesn’t have to be a persistent plague. A number of form adjustments can make a huge difference in your comfort level in how effective your move-of-choice is.There are two sets of tips that I’ll share: The first ones are considerations that apply across the board, for all basic kettlebell lifts and dynamic moves. Second, we’ll look at some exercise-specific adjustments.The first step to handling a kettlebell is getting your body organized from head to toe. For standing exercises, like kettlebell deadlifts, overhead presses, and swings and cleans, here are good-form practices for setting upbeginning your lift:Instead of exhausting the possible causes of lower-back pain for every possible kettlebell exercise, let’s focus on the three positions that seem to elicit the most complaints: the kettlebell swing, the kettlebell deadlift, and the overhead press (and their myriad variations).The key to mastering the kettlebell swing is remembering that you are the master — not the kettlebell.swing the kettlebell; the weight does not swing you. This small mindset shift can significantly affect how you approach the swing.Proper deadlift form applies no matter what implement you are using — barbell, kettlebell, or other. For detailed instructions, check out “. Here are the key points to keep your back happy doing kettlebell deadlifts:The default standing alignment guidelines apply to pressing throughout the move, whether you are using one or two kettlebells.If these tips do not alleviate your discomfort, seek out the guidance of a professional coach for personalized feedback. If you experience pain, stop immediately and talk to your healthcare provider; the problem may be more than poor kettlebell form.

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