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Matthew Townsend 03-24-2006 11:21 PM

Immediately after finishing Helen, I noticed that I had a sore back. Throughout the day, it became a combination of good sore and bad sore.

That is, normal back muscle exhaustation, along with a little niggle half way up my back suggesting that I did something a bit wrong.

I went for the full 25kg this time and think I may have gone a bit lighter on previous times doing Helen.

I weigh about 77kg or just under 170lbs. Using the generic crossfit weight of 175lbs, I can't really justify going much lighter, but I'm wondering what else I can do to avoid back injury.

Interestingly, George, my workout buddy sms'd me this afternoon to tell me he had a similar feeling, albeit in the lower back.

Any help appreciated.

Chris Kemp 03-25-2006 04:57 AM

Matthew, if possible post up some footage of your swing form to digital coaching - sure folks round here could spot any flaws and give you particular points to focus on.

In the meantime, you want to make sure that you are keeping the back upright and dropping back into a semi squat and using hip-snap to bring the weight up. Also, don't exaggerate the height at the moment. Work to head height (eye level or so) - this will reduce the temptation to try and muscle it up with the shoulders.

Also, you scale on capacity not bodyweight. If as rx-ed hurts you, knock it down to something you can do happily.

Cheers, kempie

Larry Lindenman 03-25-2006 06:06 AM

Kempie is not American, so I'll give him a break, CF uses the "American swing" all the way up to overhead. I like the idea of posting a video. Sounds like at some point you rounded your back or were using your arms too much.

Mike Yukish 03-25-2006 07:21 AM

I'd guess rounding of the back. Find a mirror and do reps while facing sideways so you can see your form. Or use a digital camera to capture. If you are like me when I started, what you thought was a dead straight back will actually have some rounding. You'll need to retrain your body sense so what you feel matches what you see. Here's the kettlebell swing money slide from the Exercises section of the crossfit website.

Posting video is a great idea.

Also nice shot of side form...

Chris Kemp 03-25-2006 07:41 AM

Larry, should have been clearer - head height is a starting point to get form right. Once form is sorted you can ramp up the hip snap and increase the height. If there is insufficient snap then the only way to get it high is to throw it up with the shoulders - not the aim of the exercise as far as I am aware, and more likely to cause injury.

Jason Billows 03-25-2006 10:28 AM


I had a nasty back injury this past year and have been seeing some great results rehabbing it using swings.

If you're feeling any kind of "bad" soreness you're probably doing something wrong, whether it be too much weight or bad form. I'd suggest dropping your weight on swings until you confirm that your form is perfect and then start building back up again.

I started swinging with very low weights and have gradually increased. It took a long time, but I have managed to strengthen my back considerably while not reinjuring it or feeling any kind of bad pain.

Matthew Townsend 03-26-2006 12:58 AM

That's just the information I was looking for. To my embarrassment, I didn't realise that we were supposed to arch our backs. No wonder my back's not feeling too hot.

Fair call about scalability to capacity not weight too. I will certainly be dropping off next time.

If it still hurts, I'll post a video, but I suspect that the tips you've all given me will be sufficient to rectify the problem.

Thanks again.

Larry Lindenman 03-26-2006 07:02 AM

Chris, understood and absolutely agree!

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