Breathe into your Stomach
How To Fix 4 Common Kettlebell Swing Mistakes
The kettlebell swing is a phenomenal exercise. I think it should be part of every training program. It addresses explosive power, the posterior chain, anaerobic conditioning and even grip strength. The kettlebell swing has many awesome qualities!
It’s also the foundation for more advanced kettlebell movements like one-arm swings, cleans and snatches. Before progressing to those more advanced movements, make sure that your two-hand swing is dialed in and that you can maintain proper technique with heavy kettlebells and high reps.
Let’s dial in our kettlebell swing technique by avoiding these four common mistakes.
Common Kettlebell Swing Mistake #1:
There are several key concepts to remember for the kettlebell swing setup.
How far away are you from the kettlebell? If you’re too far from the bell, then you might shift too much weight forward and shrug your shoulders up to your ears while reaching for the bell.
Ideally, you want to sit back with your shoulders pulled down and the kettlebell tilted toward you.
Also, make sure that your hips are below your shoulders. If your hips are too high, then you may not be able to generate a lot of power with your first rep. And the swing is all about power.
Common Kettlebell Swing Mistake #2:
Arms Disconnected from the Body with Wrong Hip Hinge Timing
This mistake can cause discomfort or even injury to your lower back, so let’s dial this one in!
Each time the kettlebell is swung between your legs, even from the initial hike, your arms should connect to your torso. Upper arms connect to your ribcage and forearms connect to your inner thighs.
This will allow the hips to propel the kettlebell forward creating much more power.
Once you’ve reached the top of the swing, you want to stay standing tall for as long as possible while the kettlebell comes back down. Essentially, you’re playing chicken with the kettlebell.
Pushing your hips back too soon—while the kettlebell is still out in front of you—can cause unnecessary stress on the lower back.
The hips push the arms forward, the arms push the hips back.
Towel swing drill
Common Kettlebell Swing Mistake #3:
Using Your Arms and Shoulders to Raise the Kettlebell
The kettlebell swing is an explosive hip hinge, not a shoulder raise or shrug.
If the kettlebell is drooping at the top of the swing, or your shoulders and neck are feeling it, then you’re using your upper body way too much.
The arms are simply a tether holding onto the kettlebell. They shouldn’t do the heavy lifting. If you’re having issues with this, then check out the towel swing drill in the video below.
Common Kettlebell Swing Mistake #4:
Not Fully Locking Out Your hips or Knees at the Top of the Swing
In order to fully express your power, you must have full extension from the hips and knees. This doesn’t mean hyper-extending your knees, rather straightening your knees by flexing your quads.
You also don’t want to leave your hips back. You MUST contract your glutes hard at the top of the swing for maximum power and to protect your lower back.
Watch this video to see each mistake and correction.
I hope these tips help you master your kettlebell swing. When you get the swing dialed in, it’s one of the best exercises you can do for your fitness.
THANKS TO SMARTPLAY
Every year hundreds of people suffer sporting injuries – sprains, strains, fractures and broken bones. More often than not most of these injuries could have been prevented had the correct preparation been undertaken.
To help you prepare for activity and help reduce injury risks, Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by VicHealth and the Department of Planning and Community Development (Sport and Recreation Victoria) provides you with the following injury prevention advice:
Avoid doing too much too soon
Make sure you prepare for activity by starting at a level and pace you’re comfortable with. Gradually increase your workload over a series of sessions. Without undertaking the proper preparation for your activity, your risk of injury increases by 35%. If you’re unsure of how to increase your fitness level see a qualified fitness professional for advice.
Always warm up, stretch and cool down
Always remember to warm up and cool down when undertaking activity. Warming up prepares you both mentally and physically for performance and decreases your risk of being injured. To warm up, simply start your chosen activity at a slower pace. Also remember to cool down after activity sessions to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Research shows that cooling down after activity may reduce injuries by almost 10%.
Drink the right amount of fluids
Thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs, so don’t wait to feel thirsty before having a drink. Always drink fluids (water or a sports drink) before, during and after activity. Drink at least 2 cups (500ml) an hour before exercise, 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise and enough to fully re-hydrate yourself after exercise. Not only will fluids prevent dehydration but research has shown that sports drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes can enhance sporting performance in some endurance activities.
Wear the right gear
Everyone needs to prepare for the activity ahead. Wear protective equipment such as helmets, padding and/or mouthguards, where required. Good quality footwear are also a must as a number of studies have found a relationship between the type of footwear worn and the incidence of injuries to the lower limb. Properly fitted protective equipment and footwear should be specific to the type of activity you are doing, your size and age. Always seek professional help to make sure your protective gear and footwear fits correctly.
Avoid exercising in hot conditions
Exercising in hot conditions can cause heat injury with symptoms of fatigue, nausea, headache, confusion and light-headedness. Avoid exercising in very hot conditions, particularly in the middle of the day. During activity, try to rest in the shade whenever possible and protect yourself by wearing light clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
Know how to treat injuries
When undertaking activity, you should know what to do if an injury occurs, especially if you have suffered an injury in the last 12 months. Injury statistics have found previous injury increases the risk of further injury by 57%. Those who suffer a soft tissue injury should treat it with RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral. Commence RICER immediately after injury occurs and continue for 48-72 hours. You should also avoid HARM factors – no heat, no alcohol, no running and no massage and see a sports medicine professional to help you get back to your activity as quickly as possible.
THANKS TO SMARTPLAY
Ever exercised or played sport and suffered a cramp? If you have, you’re certainly not alone as they can occur when people are active, as a result of dehydration. Put simply they happen because people do not drink enough fluids before, during and after activity.
When you exercise or play sport your body loses water by sweating. You need to replace this water by drinking fluids (water or a sports drink).
If you don’t, you will become dehydrated.
Dehydration reduces your sporting performance whilst increasing your heart rate, body temperature and how hard you perceive exercise to be. You become fatigued and may incur cramps, heat stress or even heat stroke.
So how do you avoid getting dehydrated whilst exercising or playing sport? Simple, by following some advice from Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia’s sports injury prevention program funded by VicHealth and the Department of Planning and Community Development (Sport and Recreation Victoria).
How to avoid dehydration
Don’t wait to feel thirsty, thirst is a poor indicator of fluid needs.
Cool fluids may be absorbed more rapidly than warmer fluids.
Avoid starting exercise dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids for several hours prior to exercise.
If you do not like the taste of water drink flavoured drinks such as sports drinks and low concentration cordial. Sports drinks comprise carbohydrates and electrolytes. Carbohydrates supply the muscles with fuel during activity and improve flavour, while the main electrolyte is sodium, which promotes optimal fluid absorption and retention. Evidence also shows sports drinks can improve sports performance for longer duration exercise and endurance activity where fuel depletion and large fluid losses are likely.
If you are well hydrated you should be able to pass a good volume of clear urine in the hour before exercise.
You should also be aware of how much you need to drink to avoid dehydration.
Drink at least 500ml (2 cups) an hour before exercise.
Drink at least 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise.
During exercise take advantage of all breaks in play to drink up.
After exercise drink liberally to ensure you are fully re-hydrated.
These practices will ensure you avoid becoming dehydrated whilst active and keep you from injuring yourself. Remember injuries usually mean time on the sideline so prevention, or in this case, keeping hydrated is the key!
Special thanks to “Smartplay”
Dental injuries can be painful, disfiguring, expensive to treat and often require long-term management. Injuries can include cuts to the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue and face; chipped or broken teeth; knocked out teeth; and in severe cases a broken jaw. Such injuries may result in the need to take time off work or school to recover, lengthy treatment and long-term physical and monetary costs.
How many injuries?
Injury surveillance data shows that at least 2000 dental injuries were treated in Victorian hospital emergency departments between 2002 and 2004.
Dental injuries predominantly occur in people aged under 25 years of age (71%).
When do dental injuries occur?
Approximately 44% of these injuries occurred during active recreation/leisure activities such as cycling, skateboarding and riding a scooter.
Between 5% and 14% were sustained during organised sports, including football, basketball, netball, cricket, hockey and soccer.
People with protrusive front teeth, inadequate lip coverage over their teeth or have orthodontic treatment are often at greater risk of dental injury.
The importance of wearing a mouthguard
Wearing an appropriately designed and made mouthguard while participating in sport will protect
against dental injuries.
Players of all ages involved in sports and activities where they are at risk of an injury to the face should protect their teeth with a properly fitted mouthguard. This includes sports where there is a risk of collision, falling and/or contact from other players or equipment such as balls, bats, sticks or racquets.
Important features of a protective mouthguard.
Comfortable but tight fit within mouth
Allows normal breathing and swallowing
Allows normal speech
Correct thickness (4mm) over the teeth to provide protection against impact
Does not cause gagging
Odourless and tasteless
Three types of mouthguards available.
1. Custom-fitted mouthguards are considered to provide the best protection of the teeth, lips and jaw. Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by a dentist or a dental technician to fit the individual’s mouth, and provide the best protection due to their close fit, comfort and cushioning (shock absorption) effect.
2. Boil and bite mouthguards are directly formed to the upper teeth after the lining is softened in boiling water. They can be uncomfortable if not properly fitted, and provide limited protection. They should be replaced each season.
3. Stock (ready-to-wear) mouthguards come pre-formed and are the least expensive type of mouthguard, but also provide the least amount of protection, fit and comfort.
Caring for your mouthguard.
- Rinse in soap and warm (not hot) water or mouthwash after each use and allow it to air-dry.
- Keep mouthguard in a well-ventilated plastic storage box when not in use, (box should have several holes in it).
- Do not leave your mouthguard in direct sunlight, in a closed car or in the car’s glovebox.
- Ensure your mouthguard is in good condition before each use.
- Get your dentist to check your mouthguard when you go for your check-up. Replace it if it is damaged.
Other safety tips
Mouthguards should be worn at all times during training and games.
Players undergoing orthodontic treatment can have a custom-fitted mouthguard made by their dentist to fit comfortably and accurately over their braces.
The cost of an injury to the teeth or jaws far exceeds the cost of any type of mouthguard.
For further information contact.
Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit
Accident Research Centre, Monash University
Building 70, Wellington Road, Clayton VIC 3800
Phone: 03 9905 1805
Smartplay – Sports Medicine Australia (Victorian Branch)
Sports House, 375 Albert Road, Albert Park Vic 3206
Ph: 03 9674 8777
Smartplay is supported by VicHealth, Sport and
Recreation Victoria and Department of Human Services.
Australian Dental Association
PO Box 520, St. Leonards NSW 1590
Ph: 02 9906 4412
- Tham, R. and E. Cassell, A systematic review of the effectiveness of mouthguards to prevent orofacial injury in sports. Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit,
Monash University Accident Research Centre, Editor.
2006, Monash University.
Victorian Public Health Training Scheme, Department
of Human Services, Victoria.
Funding support for the systematic review and fact
sheet was provided by Sport and Recreation Victoria,
Department for Victorian Communities
Photos courtesy of PlaySafe Mouthguards and the Massachusetts Dental Society.
MouthguardsPreventing Dental Injuries in sport
SHOULD WOMEN HAVE FULL-CONTACT TOURNAMENTS?The controversial issue of full contact tournaments for women seems to be hotting up in Kyokushin. Apart from discussing things between yourselves, why not write to SHIN and air your views nationally?
The following articles are by women, and it’s great to get ideas `from the source’ (as it were), so please, ladies – pick up your writing gear and perform. Your opinions are particularly valued and sought, but we also want to know what’s going on in the minds of the male of the species.
This really is an important step that’s being considered very seriously by the National Committee in particular, and all `thinking’ Kyokushin people in general. Let’s all share what we believe to be pros and cons of the matter, so that an intelligent, informed decision can be made one way or the other.
IN THE QUEENSLAND FULL- CONTACT TOURNAMENT held on Saturday 21 June, women were involved in full-contact competition. It was extremely successful with the women involved, and applauded by both our fellow competitors and spectators alike.
There were four women competing – Sue-Ellen Shields (2nd Kyu, Coolangatta), Donna Mann (8th Kyu, Coolangatta), Yvonne Gulliver (9th Kyu, Brisbane), and myself (Margaret Sherlock, Brisbane).
No-one was a loser. Each woman fought to the best of her ability, and the spirit shown was overwhelming and a credit to all. Donna and Yvonne, being newcomers to the tournament scene, showed incredible tenacity and sportswomanship. They have also expressed their willingness to enter the Nationals if they are conducted under the same contact rules as adhered to during the Queensland tournament. The only variations between the women’s and the men’s competition were firstly that thigh kicks were not permitted, and secondly chest protectors and shin pads were allowed.
The decision against thigh kicks was twofold: firstly, as the competition was an open one the weight difference in some cases was up to two stone, and secondly, what woman wants the dreaded Kyokushin Shuffle?! Admittedly we all came out with the odd bruise or two but nothing more than what usually occurs in the dojo.
Opposers to contact for women are worried about the ability of the female anatomy to take heavy blows. The chest protector protects the chest from heavy blows which could otherwise be extremely dangerous since the blows have not been disproved to be cancer forming. The other area of concern (which is not protected) is the lower abdomen which houses the ovaries. This area has never been taught to me as an obvious weak spot, and hence a focal point of attack. Blows, whether it be a kick or punch, are directed mainly to the diaphragm, rib cage, chest and sternum. Women are well aware of their fragile areas and I believe it is a matter of commonsense that one woman would not purposely go forth to brutally hit another woman in this region. Shin pads are worn to protect both the aggressor and the defender, as they soften the power of kicks and protect the shins from heavy blocking.
Admittedly, I have been apprehensive about contact tournaments, but after competing in one I found it to be nothing worse than what we are already involved in while training in the dojo. Because the voice of the Kyokushin sisterhood is weak, this year could be our last chance at supporting the principle of contact tournaments for women as otherwise we may well be forgotten.
The Kyokushin fraternity will not know what women want if we do not speak out.
MARGARET R. SHERLOCK, Shodan, Brisbane.
If such a tournament should ever take place, I would praise the ladies involved and be proud that Kyokushin was able to bring such a tournament about.
I do feel there should be definite rules that exclude certain techniques, purely for the protection of the competitors. Breast guards would have to be worn, also arm and shin pads would not go astray!
Whilst wearing guards of any kind, I do not see how we could classify such a tournament as full-contact. Without their use injuries that could occur, might possibly cause trouble in later years. I wonder just how far all ladies involved would be prepared to go for their sport?
Weight and grade divisions would be necessary. I have noticed from past tournaments, and from pleas in our newsletter, the difficulty in sometimes finding competitors for non-contact tournaments. Therefore, difficulties may arise in trying to find competitors willing to participate in full-contact tournaments. Due to the possible lack of competitors, we may have to look at the possibility of having some form of handicap on grade and weight. Semi- contact is an area that also needs to be looked into.
I recall the publicity in 1985, between two women from another style, who tried to proceed with a full- contact fight. Before this fight could take place a Government authority intervened to stop it. However, with the women wearing full padding the fight eventually took place, but was classed as semi-contact. I do not know whether they restricted any techniques. Maybe we could look at the possibility of trying to arrange semi-contact tournaments.
We all know and accept that there are chances of injury occurring within the dojo, and out on the street, but the thought of possible injuries after such a tournament, does not appeal to my peace of mind. I personally, would not be willing to take this risk.
As the full-contact rules stand, fighting full-contact tournaments (in its true meaning), is asking a lot more than I am personally prepared to give.
CHERYL BAILEY, 4th Kyu, Liverpool.
Women who want to fight full contact need to ask themselves several questions:
1. Are they trying to prove they are as tough as men by competing at the same level?
If so, then surely there is no reason why they should not theoretically, fight men of the same body weight.
2. Are they prepared to face the possibility of injuries which could include:-
(a) Facial disfigurement (temporary or permanent).
(b) Damage to reproductive organs.
(c) Excess bruising to upper chest area which could eventually lead to cancer.
3. PADDING – How much protective padding should they wear? If they are heavily protected then what is the point of full contact anyway?
In all fairness, I think one of the main reasons women have been asking for full contact, is because of the problems they encounter at light contact tournaments.
The degree of contact allowed can vary greatly, and competitors do not know where they stand. It can sometimes be a no-win situation. If they try to follow the rules they often find themselves losing the fight, if they increase contact they receive chui’s.
It is useless to practise in the dojo for weeks on end to perfect touch contact techniques, and then find it’s a different story on the day.
How many times have women been told that THIS TIME contact will be kept light?
It is a major responsibility, and I realise a very difficult task for referees to control contact. However, they set the standard, and continued excessive contact should be penalised by disqualification.
If light contact fighting is more clearly defined and women are given a fair go, then perhaps many will not want to fight full contact.
In summary, I believe that full contact for women would be a step backwards for Kyokushin Karate.
Do we really want to see women knock each other out? It will prove nothing, and the publicity from such tournaments could discredit our style.
In retrospect, this whole controversial issue is perhaps, academic anyway.
The final decision could well rest with the proposed Martial Arts Licence Board.
Your guide to injury management
Place yourself in a comfortable position. Keep the injured area supported. Avoid using the injured area for at least 48-72 hours as continued activity will
increase bleeding and damage.
Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes, every two hours for the first 48-72 hours after injury. Ice reduces swelling, pain and bleeding. Ice can be used in
the following ways: crushed or cubed ice in a wet towel or plastic bag
frozen pea packet in wet towel
cold pack wrapped in wet towel
Icy or cold water is better than nothing. Caution: Do not apply ice directly to skin.
Apply a firm wide elastic bandage over the injured area, as well as above and below. Where possible hold ice in place with the bandage. Between ice treatments maintain bandage compression. Applying a bandage will reduce bleeding and swelling and also provides support for the injured area. Caution: Ensure the bandage is not too tight. Some signs of the bandage being too tight may include numbness, tingling or skin becoming pale or blue. If these symptoms and/or signs develop remove the bandage and reapply again firmly but not as tightly.
Raise the injured area above the level of the heart at all times. A pillow can be used to provide support and comfort. Elevating the injured area reduces bleeding, swelling and pain.
As soon as possible after injury arrange to see a qualified health professional such as a Doctor or Physiotherapist. This will determine the extent of your injury and provide advice on treatment and rehabilitation required.
Early and correct use of RICER and NO HARM factors is essential for the initial management of a soft tissue injury.
RICER & NO HARM should be continued for 48-72 hours.
For further information: Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia – Victorian Branch
Sports House, 375 Albert Road, Albert Park, Victoria 3206
Phone 03 9674 8777, Fax 03 9674 8799, Email email@example.com www.smartplay.com.au
Your guide to injury management FIXUP
Nobody likes being on the sidelines as a result of injury. The best way to recover from any soft tissue injury is by using the RICER and NO HARM injury management approach. They help to prevent further damage and will mean less time away from your sport or activity.
The first 48-72 hours are vital in the effective management of any soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries refer to all ligament sprains, muscle strains and muscle bruises (corks etc) and most bumps and bruises which occur in sport. The immediate treatment is RICER. RICER should be initiated immediately after injury and continued for 48-72 hours. To ensure a successful recovery, NO HARM factors should also be followed in conjunction with RICER.
Applying heat to an injury increases bleeding. Avoid hot showers or baths, saunas, spas, hot water bottles, hot linament or heat packs.
Alcohol increases bleeding and swelling which delays healing. It can also mask pain and severity.
Running or exercise increases blood flow to the injured site. This can make the injury worse and delay healing.
Massage or the use of heat rubs increases swelling and bleeding.
Smartplay is supported by VicHealth, Sport and Recreation Victoria and Department of Human Services
Footwear for Safety
Wearing the appropriate sport shoe can help prevent injury
Choosing the right shoe for your sport or physical activity may seem like a simple task, but keep in
mind the correct footwear can possibly reduce the likelihood of a painful sports injury.
Every time your heel strikes the ground your foot is subject to impact forces which can sometimes
be between 3 – 5 times your own body weight.
Tips for buying athletic shoes
There is some basic information you need to consider before you purchase your sports shoe:
• Your activity
• Your weight
• Your foot positioning on standing
• How you have worn out your previous shoe
There are four shoe features which can be simply tested when in the shoe store:
The greater the twist of the shoe, the more the foot will roll. You want a shoe with minimal movement. To test, grasp the sole and the front of the shoe near the ball of the foot and twist lengthways.
The shoe should bend right at the ball of the foot. If it doesn’t, neither will your foot. The shoe should remain stiff from the back of the heel foot. Grasp the heel and toe of the shoe and push together.
Midsole densityWith your two thumbs, compress the rubber of the midsole. If it compresses by more than a third it may be too soft. Soft shoes with lots of cusioning are only good for walking. If you are a pronator (foot rolls inwards when you walk) you may need a shoe with dual-density to the ball of the midsoles – where the sole on the inside of the heel is soft and the sole on the outside of the heel is hard. If you are a supinator (foot rolls outwards when you walk) you may need a neutral midsole.
With your thumb, squash down on the heel counter. The strength of the heel counter is important in keeping your heel upright. Make sure the heel counter is made of plastic, not cardboard. Plastic provides more support and will last longer.