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Injuries Chronic & Acute

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Old 01-19-2007, 09:46 AM   #1
Sean Harrison
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I got a sore back form the last "Helen", with the 55 lb DB swings.
Now this is not the first time. With Xfit I seem to hurt my back 3 or 4 times a year. It's not the real throw-your-back-out thing , but it's always enough that, for example, I had to omit the Cleans WOD the next day because I was !
Is it only me?
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:02 AM   #2
Darrell E. White
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I have had chronic back issues since breaking my back playing high school football. I do not have any disc issues, and I no longer have any bony issues. It's all about the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The more flexible through your core and hamstrings, the more aggressively you can approach WOD's like Helen. The less frequently you lose the lordotic curve in your lower back, the less likely you are to injure your back. Soreness can occur from the stretching inherent in working with heavy weights dynamically (hence the flexibility imperative), and technique is critical. What happens to your lower back when you do swings? Does it curve or are you keeping it straight?

I always err on the side of caution with dynamic repetitive exercises like swings. Even though I may be able to move a heavier weight, if I feel my technique will suffer I will drop down in order to protect my back. That's not a very insightful strategy--there are thousands of references on the boards and throughout the site emphasizing technique over speed and load!

Long-winded .02 as usual...

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Old 01-19-2007, 01:36 PM   #3
Garrett Smith
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I've found that swings with a dumbbell place different demands on the spine than kettlebells, mainly due to the gripping situation and how that translates to the spine.

With a dumbbell, your hands are practically on top of each other. This protracts the scapula more (than they would be with a kettlebell), which tends to increase the thoracic kyphosis, which then tends to decrease/eliminate the lumbar lordosis. This issue can (and tends to) get worse as one gets more tired.

With a kettlebell, the hands are spaced further apart, which decreases the aforementioned issues.

Also, many people who have not been properly trained in swings (they seem like a deceptively simple exercise, they are more than that) tend to lose the necessary tension in their core (midline stabilization) at the bottom of the movement. I feel that this issue is exacerbated with "American" (overhead) swings especially. I still do the "American" swings, however, I use a KB and I have quite a bit of training and experience with KB-type exercises.

Combining the use of a dumbbell with the "American" swing with excessive fatigue (gotta finish those reps in a faster time!!!) is a potential recipe for injury, in my book.

I do believe there is a reason why the folks who are gung-ho about kettlebells choose to keep their swings head-height (and make the overhead swings "into" a snatch).

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Old 01-22-2007, 08:32 AM   #4
Daniel Seth Rudolph
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I hurt my back the other day doing kb swings, and it hurt my skiing this weekend. I need to take it easy on the swings next time I think....
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:29 PM   #5
Mathew F. Bunch
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Sean et al,
To translate what DOC Smith said, dumb bell swings cause more tension in the shoulder blades which makes it harder to maintain the proper curve of your back, especially during later reps when fatigue is a factor.

Also, taking the swing all the way overhead (American) causes greater momentum on the down swing and makes it more difficult to keep the proper curve of the spine during the exercise than the Russian variant (kettlebell to head height-this is also a good gateway movement that will lay the foundation for more difficult moves with the kettlebell).

At any rate, I think that's what he said.
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