Kettlebells: How I Went From Lower Back Pain to Freak Athlete

After deciding to step my game up, I purchased two kettlebells from Amazon for my apartment. One weighed 35 pounds while the other weighed 50 pounds. This way, I could have the option of doing workouts in my apartment. Much to my excitement, I actually did not pay anything for these kettlebells as I was able to take advantage of corporate benefits from my employer that subsidized healthy life choices. Sweet!

Kettlebell Swings

Having read about how simple and effective kettlebell workouts were, I started with kettlebell swings. This was the first time I worked extensively with kettlebells. While I got most of the mechanics right, my technique was far from perfect. This led to me tweaking my lower back several times over the course of the first month. After the second or third time, I realized that this was a technical issue. I wasn’t bracing my core during the swing. This left my body unstable. As a result, I pulled a muscle in my back. After recovering, I focused specifically on fixing this deficiency by making sure that my core was engaged during kettlebell swings. All was good again, but I was due for a pleasant surprise.

Within several weeks of fixing my positioning, I felt much stronger and more athletic. My body felt like it was moving more naturally as if I had been moving inefficiently this whole time (there’s some truth to that). My biggest surprise was feeling stronger in virtually every position in wrestling open mat sessions. One day, I got myself in a position to lift my opponent off the ground. He shot straight off the ground into the air and I surprised myself.

What the hell was that? What just happened?

Confused, I asked him if he had lost weight in the past month or two. The answer was no. I had just gotten so much stronger over the course of the past month or two that lifting opponents fifty pounds heavier than me became easy. Incredible. I had gone from having lower back pain to skying people who were noticeably bigger than me.

Turkish Get-ups

Next on my short list of kettlebell exercises? Turkish get ups. A book had jokingly referred to this as “iron yoga,” and I understood why. This was a complicated exercise. You start from lying flat on the ground with a kettlebell above your head, proceed to stand up with it, and then return to the original starting position. This one took a long time to learn, but the results came quickly.

On the mats, my balance had reached a new level. I held strong positions significantly better both offensively and defensively. With a combination of two exercises, I had made myself much more athletic. Unbelievable!

Kettlebell enthusiasts have experienced similar effects in their own life. In particular, kettlebell swings seem to improve athletic performance in just about anything and everything. If nothing, it’s worth trying a simple workout consisting of ten sets of ten kettlebell swings several times a week. Variety is awesome, but fine tuning the technique is where the magic really happens. As simple as some kettlebell exercises may seem, reaching a good amount of technical proficiency is not as easy as it seems, especially without an instructor.

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If your physical performance could improve so much by doing only one new exercise, would you consider trying it?

To learn more about Che’s experience with kettlebells, click here.