The Mayo Clinic research, which closely monitored a 100 people in a six-week high-intensity functional training program, found a statistically significant increase in the rate of injuries relative to less intense exercises.
Such types of training, which includes kinetic motions such as tossing or hopping with weights and strength training with kettlebells or dumbbells, have become very common.
The data showed that 18% of respondents reported injuries during the training period and 37.5% reported injuries during the training session.
Be Unique Group talked to Rufus Bradshaw, Director of Fitness at Alderly Edge's Alchemy Personal Training, about the risks associated with kettlebells and the right way to start working out with them.
Kettlebell's gravitational pull is six to eight inches away from your grasp, making it harder to manage. As a result, nearly every workout one does with it, from traditional power movements like twists and squats to more unusual kettlebell workouts like swings and snatches, will require a tougher form and more muscle engagement than one can get using a dumbbell.
Bradshaw explains that injuries in kettlebell sport are largely caused by the execution of kettlebell exercises done by force. Exercises are therefore done under conditions of extreme stress in the joints of the knee and the lumbar spine.
"The emphasis on proper technique and movement patterns is very crucial in all workouts, especially strength training," says Bradshaw. "The first step to the appropriate use of kettlebells is to select the right one, and there are a few things you need to take into consideration before you start shopping. First of all, you need to choose the right weight for you. To do so, I suggest going to your local fitness shop so that you can get a feel for each weight and get advice from a sales associate. Remember that you want to challenge yourself, but you don't want to injure yourself!," he continues.
He reiterated one of the points in the Mayo Clinic study that highlights the importance of respondents notifying the trainer of pre-existing injuries or medical conditions, tracking fatigue during workouts and amending or removing exercises that put an individual at risk.
Proper breathwork is another safety tip that Bradshaw promotes. He says, "It is essential to reduce the amount of stress you put on your spine. To strengthen your spine, you need to use your breath to tighten up your abdominal muscles using a technique called abdominal bracing."
The personal trainer at Alderly Edge suggests that clients learn this technique by taking time to exercise breathing in and out with their hands on their belly and get a feel of how they can relax their abdomen when exhaling.
"Kettlebells are tools and not exercise mechanisms. And as with all tools, if used properly and for the right job, the kettlebells can deliver good outcomes. But if used improperly, the kettlebells could be potentially hazardous or counterproductive," Bradshaw concluded.
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