Are Kettlebells Bad for Your Back?

Kettlebells give you a lot of benefits and improve your health and fitness. They’re really a great piece of exercise equipment. However, there’s been some discussion lately about the bad effects of kettlebells on the body. In this article, we’ll answer the question: are kettlebells bad for your back?

Are Kettlebells Bad for Your Back?

No, kettlebells aren’t inherently bad for your back. If you feel any pain in your back after a kettlebell workout, chances are you are doing the exercise wrong and you should probably check your form. Actually, kettlebell workouts are great for strengthening your back and improving posture. 

Woman trying to lift a kettlebell from the ground with both hands

Kettlebells don’t hurt your back. There are other various factors that may explain the reason why your back is in pain or sore. There are plenty of ways you can avoid it so you can have a kettlebell workout that’s beneficial for your back. 

Why Does My Back Hurt After Kettlebell?

As mentioned above, there can be a number of different reasons why your back hurts after doing kettlebells. The three most common reasons why your back hurts could be incorrect technique, lack of flexibility, or a weak back. Lucky for you, there are several ways you can handle them.

Incorrect Technique

Most beginners experience back pain because they are not executing the kettlebell workout properly. Most beginners, in fact, don’t know how to do a proper kettlebell swing. Some don’t know how to position their back so that they put stress on the lower back. 

The weight of the kettlebell should be supported at the base so that your weight will always tilt towards the heels. When lifting the kettlebell, your arms should be relaxed while your back is not tensed up to allow it to arc naturally as you lift.

Lifting a kettlebell isn’t all about the arms and back but the motion to lift from your legs. It’s like jumping backward where your legs generate momentum to push your body backward. Your back should always be relaxed whenever you do some kettlebell workouts. Make sure to wear proper exercise footwear to help with your stability.

Not Enough Flexibility

Some people don’t bother doing some warm-up exercises to condition their body for extreme workouts and this is mostly the case for beginners. For kettlebells, it ends up mostly with backache and sore muscles all over.

Person holding a kettlebell with one hand while standing tip toed

The reason for this is that your muscles are subjected to stress directly without them having to ease up and relax thus putting a lot of stress than it should be able to handle. Make sure you do some warm ups before going hard with workouts. 

Fixing your flexibility is all about the simple discipline of doing light exercises and warm ups before jumping straight to heavy workouts. There are plenty of warm up exercises you can do like jumping jacks and stretching exercises. It’s important you do some stretching so your muscles can warm up. 

Finally, make sure the sequence of your workouts can accommodate rest for the different muscle groups on your body. You can’t do back exercises for 1 week straight without feeling any muscle fatigue and backaches.  

Your Back is Weak

Some people just have weak backs and you need to modify your exercises to get it back into shape before you start doing some of the hard kettlebell workouts. Don’t worry as the human body is great at compensating for imbalances within it. 

If you have a back injury, the kettlebell can be good or bad for your back depending on the recommendation of your doctor or therapist. Depending on the injury, doing kettlebell workouts can be bad so that’s why it’s essential you consult with experts first.

Do some workouts that work your thoracic spine and strengthen your lower back. Do it lightly as you might put too much tension on your back. Doing barbell squats and deadlifts with light weights can help strengthen your back and get you ready for some extreme kettlebell workouts.   

Man performing kettlebell exercises

Are Kettlebells Dangerous?

If you are doing kettlebell workouts wrong then it can be dangerous especially if you are using heavy kettlebell weights. It all comes down to properly doing the kettlebell exercises so you won’t get some negative effects on your body. 

You can always follow these 3 simple things to take note when you plan on doing some kettlebell workouts.

  • Make sure you follow the correct instructions and technique. You can watch any video about kettlebell workouts or use a kettlebell app to check on your form.
  • Don’t experiment with kettlebells
  • Do workouts and weights that are appropriate for your physical fitness

Following these tips will guarantee that kettlebells won’t become dangerous for you. Instead, it will give you great benefits for fitness and health. 


Kettlebells aren’t bad for your back. Unless you have a back injury and your doctor doesn’t recommend kettlebell for your workouts, you’re usually safe. If you experience any negative effects from kettlebell, check your technique, your conditioning, or your overall physical fitness.

Robert Lemus has been a natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.