Re: your KB training concerns …

I had a guest article and video published on a fitness colleague’s blog recently.  The article and video outlined one of my kettlebell challenge workouts.

I got several comments with very positive feedback. But one of them – from an “anonymous ortho surgeon” – was pretty scathing, to say the least.

At first I was a bit upset when I saw the post. But then I quickly realized that I was HAPPY he posted his comment – because if he’s thinking and writing the things he is, odds are other folks are as well … and it’s a great opportunity to address some common kettlebell training concerns.

So I thought I’d share with you the three big points touched on in his response – and my answers – to hopefully address some of your top KB training concerns:


Point #1 – “Kettlebell training is bad for your back”

My answer –

With all due respect, if you feel that the swing is an exercise that is bad for your back, I would challenge you and say that you are likely doing the exercise incorrectly.

The swing is in fact GOOD for your back if done correctly – it promotes proper movement patterns and strengthens the muscles of the posterior chain, among other things.

Here is an article recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that does a great job of explaining further:

Also, here’s a video that gives you a simple tip to fix kettlebell back pain:


Point #2 – “This workout is random, has no rhyme or reason, and is not backed by science”

My answer –

If the workout in this particular post (one of my kettlebell challenge workouts) was done by itself, randomly, that might not be ideal.  But there are many ways one could use workouts like this one in a logical and progressive fashion, such as:

— Plugged in to a training scheme that makes sense … so the workout is done at a specific time and for a specific reason, not just randomly

— It can be done periodically to test your fitness level, and for a fun challenge

— For when you are short on time and / or available equipment and want a quick, effective workout in place of your regular routine

And many more.

BTW, here’s the original workout:


Point #3 – “Why are you programming 200 swings into a workout”

My answer –

In short – for both the physical and mental challenge! Because that’s what a workout like this is all about!! 🙂

That being said – in this specific workout, yes, the total volume is 200 swings (100 at the beginning, 100 at the end) … but that does NOT mean you would need to do all 100 swings in a row.

With good form and a proper weight, this is in fact do-able with virtually zero risk of injury. (Again, I would challenge your swing form.) HOWEVER – for folks who are just getting started, are still working on their form, etc. – breaking up the set with rest is 100% fine (like doing five sets of 20 reps each, or even ten sets of ten).

I am all about making KB workouts challenging but do-able for all ability levels.


To sum up – if you’ve ever had concerns about any of the things I touched on in the message above, hopefully today’s email was helpful for you.

And the bottom line is, whatever form of exercise you choose – whether it be running, pick-up basketball, or kettlebell lifting – there is inherent risk involved. You can get injured. But the benefits are many, many times over more worth it than the potential harm. That’s why we do it 🙂

Thanks for reading, train hard, and talk soon –

Forest Vance
Master of Science
Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor

PS – If you’re looking to improve your kettlebell training form, I have a great new Kettlebell Basics video course that you’ll actually get FREE when you grab a copy of my new Ultimate Kettlebell Challenge Workouts program – and it’s on sale this week. Get more info on the program at the link below:

=> KB Basics Workshop videos + 33 Ultimate Kettlebell Challenge Workouts (on sale this week)

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