Safety in kettlebell training is nothing mysterious and is much simpler than many would care to admit. Overall it boils down to paying attention to detail and common sense. There are some simple yet easily overlooked points always worth mentioning that will help you stay on the side of safety.

  • Do you have enough clearance? Make sure you are not going to smack the ceiling with your bell or your hand when performing your exercises. Have plenty of room on the sides in case you need to move and bail out.
  • Do you know how to bail out? This is a crucial but underestimated skill best learned under a coach and one that will increase your safety factor significantly. Make sure to learn how to bail out and never hesitate to do so.
  • But CAN you bail out? Bailing out from many velocity drills involves following the kettlebell and guiding it to a safe spot as the momentum reduces. Bailing out from many strength drills involves having to drop the bell and moving away from it. Can you do so without the risk of breaking a wall or the floor or a window? If you are afraid you'll damage something when you bail out find a new area. Risking injury to save a wall or floor is definitely not a good trade.
  • Are you well hydrated? Seriously, should we even discuss the effects of dehydration on your performance and how it makes you more vulnerable to injury? Enough said.
  • Do you have enough Zs in your account? Sleeping that is! If you are sleep deprived, your body is already under stress. Missing an hour occasionally is not a big deal, but chronic lack of sleep will turn you into one achy, injury prone zombie. Good luck trying to build progress under such circumstances! Consider yourself lucky if you do not get injured in the process.
  • Turn it off! This is not the type of activity that you can do watching TV or reading so ditch those distractions. Music is ok as is passive, that is, you do not have to divert your attention to it excessively. Even better if you can turn your phone off for at least half hour and fully immerse your brain into the learning experience.
  • It's the heat Warm up and warm up well! I am certain you are well acquainted with the benefits of warming up at this point so no need to go over them again. What I would to emphasize is the quality. An indicator of a good warm-up is you breaking a sweat from your activity. 5 to 10 minutes are more than sufficient. On the same note, take 5-10 minutes at the end for your cool-down.
  • Yum, Yum Ok, is not only about not eating, that's a given. If you ever tried to complete a training session lacking food, you know well that session was as sorry as your breath. Always make sure to eat something before and after your activity. The other extreme also applies, those who pig-out or eat heavy food putting their gastrointestinal system under unneeded stress, and those who opt out of eating after their training. Do you realize how you are hurting your efforts?
  • Just say no! Training hard involves a lot more than beating yourself to oblivion all the time. That's the easy part. Training hard and smart involves not only knowing, but having the guts to say NO when the circumstances are not in your favor. I will not go into a lengthy discussion but suffice to say that many wished they could travel back in time and change that split second in which they decided to ignore the pleas of their bodies and push. Nothing wrong with challenging yourself, but when the circumstances are not in your favor, that soon becomes a regrettable decision with lengthy ramifications.
  • It is the long term You decide, ignore your body's warning signs, push it when you should not, enjoy 30 seconds of satisfaction and 2 years of being out of commission or back out and fight again.

That wasn't hard now, was it? If you are having hesitation or doubts about any of the points, seek the services of your coach. It will be a well worth learning experience. Happy and safe training!

Author's Bio: 

Israel A. Sanchez is Bainbridge Island's top Strength and Conditioning expert. He helps his client overcome major pain issues and puts them back in the path of amazing fitness. Visit his blog at Coach Izzy Talks Fitness.

Israel is available for presentations and lectures on the topic of Exercise, Health, Fitness, and all things Strength.