Back pain is a pervasive issue, affecting most people at some point in their lives. The cause of back pain varies greatly, whether the problem was caused by sports injuries, work-related injuries, muscle strains, accidents, or simply years of poor posture and bad habits. Unfortunately, upper, middle, and lower back issues can end up severely affecting your quality of life. With severe back pain, it can be difficult to do even the most basic tasks, from picking up objects off the ground to performing duties at work. Even worse, this type of pain can make regularly exercising difficult, which makes it harder to relieve the pain.
Modern-day lifestyles require a lot of sitting and very little time to get enough exercise. When people make a habit of sitting for long hours at work, in the car, and then at home watching TV, they weaken their back muscles. When you sit with incorrect posture for multiple hours of the day (with a curved back, knees above hips, knees not at a 90-degree angle), this can create muscular imbalances. By avoiding exercise, many problems could arise, such as “lower crossed syndrome,” where the anterior hip and hip flexor muscles become shortened. This condition is characterized by a curved lower back and a protruding abdomen and leads to tightened lower back muscles. This is only one of many problems that can lead to pain and discomfort. Sitting with poor posture, combined with a lack of exercise is a perfect recipe for back pain. Since modern day desk jobs put a significant amount of the population at risk for poor posture and future back issues, it’s excellent news that kettlebell workouts have been proven to strengthen back muscles and prevent discomfort. How Kettlebell Training Can Help When someone is struggling with lower back pain, it’s important to have an exercise regimen to strengthen the muscles in the back and prevent poor posture. It’s always a good idea to start off slowly, with low weight and low impact exercises. However, over time, as you increase your endurance and muscle strength, heavier weight and higher impact movements can be incorporated. Using an appropriately-weighted kettlebell to perform exercises for 15 to 30 minutes a day can help in the prevention of back pain. This may be surprising for those that associate kettlebell exercises with the overuse of the back, potentially causing back injury. However, this usually only occurs when kettlebells are misused without proper instruction and form. When employed correctly, however, kettlebells can be an incredible asset for those suffering from lower back pain. Various kettlebells exercises, such as the kettlebell swing and more advanced kettlebell snatch, engage several muscles at once. Kettlebell training can strengthen weak muscles in the hip and lower back area, while simultaneously correcting poor form that previously increased the risk and severity of the injury. The kettlebell swing is one of the best examples of kettlebell exercises that can reduce or eliminate lower back pain. This popular exercise engages all of the muscles of the lower back. The movement begins with knees slightly bent and feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. The kettlebell is then swung back behind the legs, activating the hip flexor and lumbar muscles of the lower back. Using the hips and back, enough momentum is created for the upward swing of the kettlebell. At the apex of the swing, the abdominal muscles are engaged. Since weak abdominal muscles are an underlying cause of back pain, strengthening and giving more control to these muscles is essential. By incorporating the kettlebell swing in your everyday workout, the muscles of the lower back will become stronger. Other improvements include an increased ability to bend (often a difficult task for those with back pain), as well as improved posture (which may have been severally affected by the back pain).
The kettlebell swing is only one exercise out of several available when performing kettlebell workouts. Other exercises, like sumo deadlifts, cleans, and windmills offer even more advantages to those with back problems. To maximize the benefits of performing kettlebell exercises, and to avoid further injury, it’s important to make sure these exercises are performed correctly. This means starting out with proper stretching and warm-ups, as well as correct form during the exercise. When a back injury is already present, it is even more important to take the proper precautions. When used correctly, kettlebell exercises are an incredible tool for those suffering from back pain. Luckily, performing kettlebell movements a few times a week is a non-invasive way to heal and correct chronic back pain caused by poor posture and muscle weakness.