The DUMBEST Exercise Ever (KB OR NOT!)

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There are dumb exercises and then there are really dumb exercises. In this video, I’ll be showing you a kettlebell exercise that takes the cake for being the worst exercise you can do especially if you care about the health of your wrists, shoulders, elbows and forearms. Everyone’s favorite tool “Jesse” is back to show you exactly how to perform this disastrous exercise for maximal damage.

It is important to point out that in winning the title of worst exercise, the use of the kettelebell was not exclusionary. This one gets grouped into all exercises whether they use a kettelebell or not, that shows you how useless it really is. It does underscore the importance of learning the right way to perform an exercise however.

You see, the kettlebell clean is actually a great exercise for the upper body and is a very athletic and explosive exercise option. The kettlebell can be used to naturally perform the movement if you understand how to properly manipulate it in your hand instead of flipping it around like you are performing in the circus.

In order to properly execute the kettlebell clean you want to try and keep the bell as close to your body as possible. Think of it as if you are zipping up a jacket when bringing the KB from it’s beginning hang position to the top. If you improperly perform the exercise you will wind up putting a tremendous amount of torque on the elbow which can either tear an ulnar collateral ligament or at the very least cause tendonitis in the elbow.

In addition, the force of the bell hitting your forearm on the way down is enough to cause damage to this area and certainly enough to discourage anyone from using any sort of heavier weight to perform the movement. Bottom line is, this is a great exercise often demonstrated poorly by those masking as fitness professionals. If only body type tests were certification exams to be qualified to teach others how to be healthy, strong and fit.

That said, there is a very teachable moment here that comes from the performance of this horrible exercise. That is, the much more common way that people succumb to elbow tendonitis in a much more insidious way from their training. This has to do with the pain that people often feel at the inside of their elbows when trying to curl, row, or do pullups. It all has to do with where in the hands the bar is being placed when gripping it for each exercise.

If you grip the bar too far down in the fingertips you will find that this will quickly lead to overload stress on the inner elbow where the common attachment is for the flexors of the forearm and fingers. Instead, you want to get the bar down into your hand more by first placing the thumbs on the bar and getting it to rest deep in the crook of your palm before wrapping the rest of your fingers around. This one change will dramatically decrease the pain you ever get and fix this once and for all.

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