Pain And Overuse Injuries


The 20-Minute-A-Day Lift For Life Program
by Michael Stefano

The new Kettlebell lifter will have a hard time discerning between healthy discomfort and dangerous pain on his or her road to super fitness. Typically, joint pain should not be tolerated, and a clear sign of a gross technique issue or simple overuse, but there is an acclimation period where the body will experience some pain no matter how perfect technique is. Any soreness that doesn’t disappear in a day or two needs to be addressed, and you should see your health care professional if you feel you’ve sustained or aggravated an injury. But there is a lot that can be done to reduce injury.  Kettlebell sets are hard, it hurts. There is no way around that. We seek to remove as much risk from the equation as possible. You’ll find that lifter’s with the best technique can perform the most extreme sets, with the least occurrence of injury. Kettlebell Sport includes some of the most intense all out performances in athletics today. 

HIKF methodology enables the lifter to develop tremendous explosive force, but with the goal of a soft landing. Inflammation is the enemy, and learning to stop smoothly, on a dime every rep, is something that’s perfected over time. Beginners should use every ache and pain as feedback on what needs to be fixed, where tension or inflammation may be building. At higher intensities, avoiding injury is the key to success. Early on, keep weight light to speed up the learning process, and not get hurt. At a certain point, when it comes time to jump to a heavier kettlebell, new mistakes will reveal themselves.   And sometimes this means going back to the drawing board. Look at this as an opportunity to remodel your home. Everything will be new and working perfectly once you get that new sheetrock up.


  • Bruised Shoulder
    • Improper Clean / Improper drop from Lockout    
  • Upper Trap Pain
    • Over pulling the kettlebell with the arm during Swing, Clean, or Snatch
  • Elbow Pain
    • Bad timing when dropping the kettlebell from the Rack (Clean) or Lockout (Snatch)
    • Maintaining a straight wrist in Rack and / or Lockout
  • Blistered Palm
    • Squeezing the bell handle in Swing, Clean or Snatch / 
    • Not using the Fingerlock
  • Low Back Pain
    • Hyperextending (arch) or hyperflexing (round) the back during Swing, Clean, Snatch
  • Hip Pain
    • Allowing the hips to “crash” as the bell is pulled too hard in Swing, Clean or Snatch
  • Knee Pain
    • Bad timing in Push Press, Jerk, or LongCycle (first or second dip)
    • Moving to to heavy too quickly
  • Foot Pain
    • Staying up on your toes (heels in the air) prior to launching the bell in Jerk or LongCycle
Take a peek at this oldie but goodie video: "The Feel Good Guide to Kettlebell Lifting"