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Back Injury Care and the One Arm Kettlebell Swing

Taking care of you back injury should not be solely a passive approach.  It should combine both passive and active forms of care.  Ensuring that the joints are moving well (chiropractic adjustment), muscle tightness is minimized and there are no restrictions between muscles, ligaments, and tendon (Active Release Techniques) is crucial to ensure the body is functioning at its best. This only helps you so far.

An injured ligament, tendon, or muscle needs to be strengthened during the healing process. The scar tissue that has formed needs to be conditioned to handle more than the strains of daily living.  It takes approximately a year for the new scar tissue to adapt and fully mature. It will never be as strong as the original tissue but it can be strengthened with progressive resistance exercise.  Not continuing with a rehabilitation program is a detriment to the care of your back and is likely a cause as to why your back continues to be re-injured.

In addition to strengthening your injured back muscles you also need to discover which muscles are predisposing you to injury. There may be weak muscles or tight muscles elsewhere leading to greater than required strain to your back muscles. Seek out a Chiropractor, Athletic Therapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, or other health care provider who is knowledgeable in the care of back injuries so they can determine what might be predisposing you to your injury.

I’d like to introduce to you an exercise that I enjoy performing with my kettlebell which can be an excellent way to strengthen the back, improve strength, improve power and improve the ability to lift without straining the back.   Take a look at the video.

This is what I like about this exercise

  • Trains the small muscles in the spine. By holding the kettlebell with one hand you are training the core of the body to stabilize itself against asymmetrical forces.  This means those little muscles, which seem to be the culprit to many back injuries, have to work more and thus they become stronger. Thus creating a stronger back.
  • It teaches proper lifting technique. Using the hips and knees to lift the weight keeping the back in neutral spine is often the recommendation of proper lifting.
  • It develops strength and power. Quick movement of the hips and knees results in the kettlebell apparently effortlessly swinging up in the air.  If the movement is not performed quickly or there is a lack of strength somewhere within the movement chain will result in the failure of the kettlebell from rising high up.
  • It develops cardiovascular/endurance health. Though a kettlebell program is not the same as a cardiovascular program there is a significant improvement in cardiovascular health and endurance health. Many of the large muscles in the body are being used therefore more calories are burned and the heart and lungs are being well worked.

Before taking on this exercise I suggest you see a Chiropractor, Athletic Therapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, or other health care provider who is knowledgeable in the care of back injuries so they can determine what might be predisposing you to your injury.  Once you have gone through a full rehabilitation program of the back you can the consider performing this exercise.  I also suggest that you contact someone who is certified in performing kettlebell swings. If you need a name of a certified kettlebell instructor you can contact me.  I know someone not too far from my Downtown and St. Vital Chiropractic offices. Once you do start using it I am sure you will find it fun and challenging.

Until next time

Dr Notley
Get you moving so you can get moving

Originally posted 2010-07-07 02:50:00.