Kettlebell Rotator Cuff
Weight training can be hard on the rotator cuff and the same is true when using a kettlebell. Rotator cuff problems are painful and exercises should be completed in a way that the rotator cuff is not compromised.
Kettlebell Rotator Cuff – By Design
Like most of the body's designs, the shoulder is functionally amazing. While at rest, there is no stretching of the shoulder muscles. But when using a kettlebell, rotator cuff muscles are stretched in a way they cause an internal rotation that is static.
Simply put, the muscle and rotator cuff get stretched at the same time. When you hear people say they tore their rotator cuff, they are probably telling you they pulled it too far by improperly lifting too much weight. Rotator cuff injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating.
Like most exercises using kettlebells, the technique is critical. When using a kettlebell, the rotator cuff must be protected to avoid injury. It is incredible that the shoulder structure is so prone to injury when it plays such a big part in lifting and pulling actions every day.
Interestingly, the most unstable joint in the body is the shoulder joint. But there is a reason for that – the instability is what creates the wider range of motion. The arm bone sits in a socket and has relative freedom of movement.
With a kettlebell, rotator cuff injury occurs when the exercise is performed while the joint is in an internal rotation position. When you use a kettlebell exercises, rotator cuff protection must be considered at all times. This is where professional assistance is critical during the learning stages so the moves are completed without damaging the rotator cuff.
The rule is that kettlebell exercises should end with the shoulder in external rotation.
A Stressful Situation
Rotator cuff injuries can be avoided with diligence during exercise. This applies to all exercises that rely on the shoulder and not just the kettlebell. Rotator cuff protection means learning how to pick up, swing, press and release a weight with the arm in the proper location.
The shoulder is always subjected to a certain level of stress. The delicate design that makes the rotator cuff unstable is the same design that permits the arm range of movement. Fortunately, kettlebell lifting uses mostly external rotation so potential injury is minimized.
One of the advantages of using a kettlebell for training is the muscles around the shoulder will be well developed. Once the muscles are strengthened they are better able to support joint movement. The muscle around the shoulder can maintain balance and not rely on the joint socket for stability.
Being properly trained before attempting to lift heavy weights is the first guideline. Learning proper technique includes stances, hip snaps, body position changes and arm control. You should always pay close attention to your body during kettlebell training.
The best advice is to learn the right techniques from a trained professional. By using a personal trainer to learn at least the basic moves, you can avoid making common beginner mistakes such as overloading the muscles and the joints.