Kettlebells are touted as an effective, high-impact way to get in shape—but kettlebell enthusiasts may be doing more harm than good. Personal trainer Nick Sage tells us that kettlebells can lead to joint pain, injury, and even permanent damage over time. “The kettlebell swing is a mighty movement,” says Sage, who has been training people for the past 15 years. “It’s great for increasing your heart rate and building muscle, but it also puts a lot of pressure on your joints.”
Even with correct form, kettlebells have been proven to cause joint damage. A study completed by Kith University Dr. Jorge Holiday has confirmed the findings. “I’ve been working with kettlebells for years, and I see a lot of people who come to me as kettlebell-related injuries,” says Holiday. “It’s not just the kettlebell swing, but also things like snatches and high pulls that can cause problems.”
Despite this knowledge, kettlebell training is still becoming more popular than ever. According to an article published by Forbes, many personal trainers are adding kettlebell exercises to their routine at an alarming rate.
“People love kettlebells,” says Sage. “They get a lot of results, and they’re fun to use, but it’s important for people who are kettlebell enthusiasts to be aware of the risks.”
People often turn to kettlebell training because it is an effective way to lose weight quickly. Kettlebell moves like swings and snatches provide excellent cardiovascular exercise. Performing kettlebell exercises incorrectly can lead to joint pain and injury even with proper alignment of the knees.
Personal trainers should warn their clients about potential risks that come with kettlebell training despite its effectiveness as a fitness routine.