Experiencing back pain during or after performing kettlebell swings?

Here are the 3 most common reasons I see after teaching for 15 years.

Back pain reason 1 – Squatting your swing 

The first thing to check is to see if you’re squatting your swing. This is highly likely if you haven’t been taught how to hip hinge.

Let’s look at a photo to see the differences.

Squat swings causing back pain

Squat swing pattern

Avoiding back pain

Hip hinge pattern

As you can see, the squat style is more upright and has less hip flexion than the hinge style.

The knees are also over the toes more in the squat style as compared to the hinge style.

Squat style swings don’t absorb the forces from the ballistic nature of the swing into the hips as it would do with a hip hinge style. The forces go into the lower back.

To learn more about the hip hinge and how to perform it correctly, see this article.


Back pain reason 2 – Not taming the arc 

So you’ve got your hip hinge pattern down and you’re doing lots of swings, but afterwards you’re feeling some discomfort in your back.

The problem could be that you’re not taming the arc.

The arc refers to the path that the kettlebell takes through your legs and up to chest height.

Check out this video that demonstrates good taming of the arc versus not good taming of the arc

Back pain reason 3 – Not ready for ballistic loading 

The last common reason I see for people experiencing back pain during or after kettlebell swings, is that they are simply not ready for ballistic loading.

If you’ve got your hip hinge dialled in, and you’re taming the arc nicely, and you’ve had this confirmed by a coach and yet you’re still experiencing pain during or after your swing workouts, then you might need to get some base level strength and core stability.

Spend some time getting stronger on Turkish Get ups, Deadlifts, plank variations and dead bugs, and revisit swings in about 6-8 weeks.

This should be enough time to build up your core stability and strength in order to load the hips in a ballistic exercise like the swing.

Of course if you’re in the Bristol area or South West of England, book into one of our beginner KB classes and get some eyes on you!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.



Owner Bristol Kettlebell club