10 Common Kettlebell Exercise Mistakes and how to avoid them

Kettlebells are a type of weightlifting equipment and a great way to get in shape and improve your overall fitness. This exercise offers many benefits over traditional weightlifting exercises and is perfect for people of all fitness levels.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do kettlebell exercises. Making a mistake while using kettlebells can impede your progress and lead to serious injury. So, it helps to be aware of the common kettlebell mistakes and take measures to avoid them.

Common Kettlebell Mistakes to avoid

group performing kettlebell exercise

1. You Are Swinging Too Fast

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing kettlebell exercises is swinging the kettlebell too fast. They think that by moving faster, they will get a better workout. However, this could not be further from the truth.

When you swing a kettlebell too fast, you sacrifice form and increase your risk of injury. Instead of swinging the kettlebell faster, focus on moving through the entire range of motion slowly and with control.

This will help ensure you use the proper form and get the most out of the exercise.

2. Leaning Too Far Back When Swinging

Another mistake people often make when swinging a kettlebell is leaning too far back.

This stance puts unnecessary strain on your lower back and could lead to injury. Instead of leaning back, keep your chest up and shoulders straight as you swing the kettlebell.

When you lift the kettlebell, ensure that you stand upright and engage your core. From here, hinge at the hips to lower the kettlebell between your legs. Be sure to keep your back flat throughout the entire movement.

Once the kettlebell reaches its lowest point, forcefully drive your hips forward to swing it to shoulder level. As you do this, keep your elbow close to your side and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.

3. Not Using Your Legs Enough

Another common mistake people make when doing kettlebell exercises is not using their legs enough. This often leads to people swinging the kettlebell with their arms, which puts unnecessary strain on the shoulders and increases the risk of injury.

Instead of swinging the kettlebell with your arms, focus on using your legs to generate most of the power. When you swing the kettlebell, ensure that your arms are straight and engage your legs by pushing from your heels.

It will help you generate more power and swing the kettlebell with less effort.

4. Not Squatting Well Enough

One of the most critical aspects of kettlebell exercises is using proper form. One way to do this is by ensuring that you squat well enough. When you don’t squat correctly, it puts unnecessary strain on your knees and could lead to injury.

To squat correctly:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your kettlebell in front of you.
  2. From here, lower yourself down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
  3. Keep your chest up and shoulders back as you lower yourself down.

Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, drive through your heels to stand back up. As you stand, ensure that you keep your core engaged and don’t let your knees collapse inward.

5. Using Too Much Weight

Another common mistake people make when doing kettlebell exercises is using too much weight. They think that by using a heavier kettlebell, they will get better results. However, this is not the case.

Too much weight can lead to bad form and increase your risk of injury. So, it is crucial to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. This will help ensure that you use the proper form and won’t get injured.

For women, a good starting weight is usually around 8-12 kg. For men, a good starting weight is usually around 12-16 kg.

6. Not Resting Enough

Rest is an integral part of any workout routine. However, people often make the mistake of not resting enough when doing kettlebell exercises. Not resting can lead to fatigue and eventually injure yourself.

To avoid this, rest for 60-90 seconds between sets. This practice will help ensure that your muscles have enough time to recover and prevent you from getting too tired.

While resting, you can also use this time to focus on your breathing. Taking deep breaths will help you relax and prepare for your next set.

7. Starting With a Lightweight Kettlebell

Many people make the mistake of starting with a lightweight kettlebell. They think it will be easy to handle because the weight is light. However, this is not always the case.

Starting with a lightweight kettlebell can make the exercise more challenging because you’ll have to use more energy to control the weight. As a result, you may not be able to complete the full range of motion.

Instead, start with a kettlebell that’s heavy enough to challenge you, which will help you build strength and improve your form.

8. Not Using Proper Form

Using proper form is essential when doing any exercise, and this is especially true for kettlebell exercises.

When you use poor form, you put yourself at risk of joint and muscle pain and injury. So, ensure that you use proper form when doing any kettlebell exercise.

One way to ensure you use the proper form is by working with a certified kettlebell instructor. They will be able to show you the correct way to do each exercise and give you feedback on your form.

If you are new to kettlebells, it is also a good idea to start with a lighter weight until you get the hang of the exercises and can do them with proper form.

9. Not Incorporating a Warm-Up

Before doing any exercise, warm up your muscles. This will help prevent injury and improve your performance. However, many people don’t warm up before doing kettlebell exercises.

To warm up properly, start by doing some light cardio, such as walking or jogging in place for 5-10 minutes. Then, do dynamic stretching exercises such as arm swings, leg swings, and trunk rotations.

After your muscles are warm, you can then start your kettlebell workout.

10. Performing Several Kettlebell Workouts in a Row

When first starting, gradually incorporate kettlebell workouts into your routine; don’t do more than 2-3 kettlebell workouts per week.

If you try to do too much too soon, you will likely experience joint and muscle pain and fatigue. So, take things slowly at first and gradually increase the frequency of your workouts as your body adjusts.

Conclusion

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you stay safe and improve your performance when doing kettlebell exercises.

If you are new to kettlebells, start with a light weight until you get the hang of the exercises and can do them with proper form.

Also, be sure to warm up properly before starting your workout. And finally, don’t do more than 2-3 kettlebell workouts per week to avoid injury.

Jude Uchella is a research writer and a strong advocate for health and fitness. He takes pleasure in helping people live their best life. When he's not writing, he's probably researching the next topic to write about. :)