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Kettlebell Swing Back Pumps

When I do Kettlebell swings my lower back gets pumped full of blood to the point that it is completely blocked and I cannot move. I just have to stop, drop the weight on the floor. Those who train with me do not have this problem, even though they are weaker than me and using more weight.

I have had my form checked a few times (by certified kettlebell instructors) and been told every single time that it is great. I have checked instructional videos and then practiced the movement using mirrors to self check my form again. We can pretty much rule out technique.

I do not get any problem when deadlifting, but I can get lower back pumps if go for a jog (which is rare).

My supplements are protein powder, fish oil, multivitamin and creatine. I do use Craze as a preworkout occasionally, but not less that 36 hours before intending to use kettlebells. I know AAS can cause pumps, but I don’t use them.

This situation is seriously annoying. Anybody had this problem and found a solution?

My current plan is:

  1. I just got a foam roller yesterday and have started to use that on the problem area daily.
  2. High frequency. Use an embarrassingly light weight KB for a timed set 3 times week. Increasing time rather than weight.
  3. Stretching - touching toes and cat stretches etc.

I hope someone can help.

Don’t do a high volume of swings. How many can you do before the problem kicks in? Have you thought about complexes where you keep the volume low, but you’re doing multiple exercises? It will work just as well. For example One Arm Swing x 5, Snatch x 5, Clean and Press x 5, Squat x 5, Row x 5, Switch hands and repeat. Do a few rounds of that. You’re heart will be going through the roof. Or if you have doubles try this.

Double Clean
Double Clean and Squat
Double Clean, Squat, Press
Double Clean, Squat, Press, Pushup on Bells
Double Clean, Squat, Press, Pushup on Bells, Renegade Row
Double Clean, Squat, Press, Pushup on Bells, Double Swing
Do only one rep of each, don’t put the bell down.

I hope this helps, if you have questions, let me know.

Are you 100% sure you’re getting sufficient glute activation at the top portion of the movement? It is CRITICAL to ensure hip lockout at the top to bring you out of hip flexion and potential lumbar hyperextension. Also, be aware of going too far into hip extension at lockout; although in this case the glutes have fired, the pelvis can be displaced too far forward, again stressing the lumbar spine. Any chance of posting up a vid?

hey man, just flex your ass as hard as you can, you’re just not acivating your glutes dude, instead using your low back to do the movement.

Thank you for the responses.

‘BC Flynn’ - Generally we do swings for time and alternate between each arm and doubles. Problem is that once it kicks in I am very limited in which movements I can still perform; anything that requires core stability is out.
They key has to be avoiding it happening in the first place, so I will take your ideas on board for some sessions with higher weight experiments.

‘Watermelon and Larry’ - I am reading your posts this morning after returning from the gym. After a proper warm up I started with light weight 2 handed swings pyramiding 6kg (2 minutes of swings on 6kg only), 8kg, 12kg, 8kg, 6kg. At the top I squeezed my glutes ‘like I was in prison showers’. I kept the reps very high but listened to my back and made sure I stopped short of an issue. I foam rolled my back before continuing my workout. Foam rolling again at midday.

I started to get the feeling more when I switched to the 12kg. I am not sure how much longer I could keep going with the 6kg before it kicked in, but if it did not kick in after 2 straight minutes then the pain at 12kg was weight+combined repetitions.
PS. 12kg should be a very light weight for me

Obviously this is highlighting a problem, but I am still unsure of what the exact problem is.

Technique was checked, but I will try and get a video up after the weekend.
Glute activation - I will keep up the prison showers technique and start doing bridges daily.
Muscle Fascia - My deadlift has been increasing well, but maybe the muscle fascia has not kept pace and the high rep stuff is expanding the muscle more than the fascia can currently take? Stretching and foam rolling and time would be the cure if this is the case.
Muscle imbalance - Maybe I just have some muscles that cannot take this. In which case it will be about building up strength. I don’t think so, but I will be working on this.
Core Strength - Planks, roll-outs, wood choppers are all now in the routine. More ab work too.

I was not really that bothered about kb swings until this problem arose. Now it is like an enemy that has to be crushed! Failing at a lift is fine, but I absolutely hate being stopped from doing something.

hey man, I’d stop rolling your lower back, that’s a muscle group that’s supposed to be tight, instead I’d roll and static stretch your hips

[quote]Larry10 wrote:
hey man, I’d stop rolling your lower back, that’s a muscle group that’s supposed to be tight, instead I’d roll and static stretch your hips[/quote]

For the stretch I will add the warrior lunge for time. I will hit YouTube for the best way to roll the hip flexors.

I will do some research on foam rolling the lower back. It certainly helps after the problem has occurred and it would be necessary to help if it is a fascia issue. I need more information on this point.

sounds good dude, I’d try this lower body warm up, it’s helped me a ton.

Maybe your back is getting pumped too much because you are using your back too much to swing a kettlebell.

Its called a hip hinge movement. You thrust your hips. If you dont know how to thrust or extend your hips you do the exercise stupid and your lower back gets pumped up.

Sorry for the delayed post.

Field - “Maybe your back is getting pumped too much because you are using your back too much to swing a kettlebell.”
That was my conclusion and despite the feedback from the qualified KB instructors I still believe this is part of the issue.

I did want to get a video made this morning, but my car broke down instead (battery died in the cold weather). My current technique is all about thrusting and squeezing the glutes. Thrusting like a sexy chick just bent over and gave me the golden ticket! Squeezing the glutes like behind me are prison showers.

Larry10 - You made an excellent post today in response to the anterior pelvic tilt thread of qpbeats. I believe I also have this issue and that the swings have just highlighted it. I am taking your comments here and on that thread. Yes - I spend most of may day sitting at a computer.

Rolling the lower Back - Done some research and I will not be doing this any more. You can use a ball, but not good to have contact with the spine in this area.

Next KB session is tomorrow night. I will be using lighter KB’s than the smallest of girls and focusing on technique. I will feel like such an idiot thrusting like a maniac with KB like a Christmas tree bauble, but it has to be done.

Sounds good man, I would use pretty much the exact same advice, and that should fix you up.

Sorry I didn’t think to ask, it’s hard to know without pictures.

Take care, and update with progress.

We did cleans instead of swings. I did a total of 100 double kettlebell swings with 2x8kg. No swings, light weight and no back pain. As many sets as needed to hit 100.

There was no space to be able to do the full warm-up from the video, but I did a modified version before and after the session.

Not a conclusive result, but it was nice to join in and not have any pain. I will keep with the programme and update on improvements.

PS. I stopped taking creatine. Once I have the problem fixed I start it again and see if it changes anything.

Happy to hear the warm up semi helped, it will take a bit of time, but I really feel it will help you out.