Kettlebells are a tool not a toy

I’m on the kettlebell injured list.

The first day I got my set, I lifted the bells a lot. Then, I lifted them a lot more. The next day I was pretty sore, but it was all good sore. The day after, I brought a one pood bell in to work to show to some folks, and strained my shoulder muscles doing presses. High-rep, high-weight presses without warming up first, while still quite sore from the previous day, not a good idea.

The sore shoulder muscles turned into a stiff neck, and I had a pretty broken up sleep that night. Neck was so stiff and sore, I couldn’t find a comfortable position on the pillow to sleep in. It really hurt. If I get the idea to overdo it with the kettlebells in the future, or to lift them casually in a “fun” manner, I hope to come back here and read this message for myself: it really hurt!

Yesterday, I got some gear to aid in the recovery. The best purchase was a couple of heat packs. Pop them in the microwave for a couple minutes, and you’ve got twenty minutes of heat to soak into the muscles and relax them. I should have gotten these a long time ago, as they’ll be great even when I’ve got just a bit of regular muscle sorenss. I bought some “Let Go Liniment” from Gaia Garden, which is a rub of infused oils of juniper and pokeroot in olive oil, tinctures of cramp bark and lobelia, and essential oils of ginger and black pepper. I also got some more Bone, Flesh and Cartilage tincture to aide the body in any healing. I’m not sure if this is necessary, as I don’t know if I caused any damage that requires significant healing, or if I’ve just made the shoulder muscles very cranky. I can use my injured shoulder without pain, but it certainly doesn’t want to try lifting anything heavy right now. However, I was out of the stuff, and it’s something I like to have around the house, as I do seem to be injury prone these last couple years.

I had massage therapy today, which was great, and really helped loosen up the shoulder so that it’s starting to feel more normal. The neck is still sore and weak, but at least it’s not complaining while at rest anymore. Hopefully I’ll be all mended in a few days, and nothing is torn or seriously damaged that’ll put me out for longer than that. The book Natural Flexibility has some good advice on sussing out if you’re ready to start easing back into fitness or not: you do a series of moves where you lightly engage a body part, 10 seconds lightly at first, then 30 seconds at a time with increasing pressure. With the shoulder this involves pressing and pulling with the hands together in various positions. If the pain feels less during these moves, then your good to go. Otherwise you need to hold back for longer. If the pain gets worse, then it’s probably quite serious and you should see a doctor. I’m definitely going to go at least a week without using the bells. The break will do me good, as I’ve been going at it three times a week for nine weeks in a row, and the body could use a chance to catch up.

But hopefully I will remember to respect the kettlebells in the future. They’re loads of fun to workout with, but they’re not something for just playing around with.

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