Kettlebell Kettlebell swings (and DL) with significant leg length difference

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Niek Schokkenbroek

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Hi everybody,

Very new to the forum and making use of kettlebells for a bit over a year now. My knowledge (limited as it is) mainly comes from the books from Pavel and I have to say that I am quite hooked to the use of KBs.
Even that much, that my wife is using them now as well ;)

The only thing is that currently she came to do KB swings with 20kg (sets of 10 reps with excellent form I have to say), but we are getting a bit worried of the significant difference in leg length that she has. After a hip surgery at a very young age, she has a leg that is significantly shorter than the other (18mm according to the last measurement).

We already know that due to her restricted hip mobility there is no way she will be able to do a full TGU. Nonetheless with swings and KB Deadlifts we notice that at the top of the movement she has her heel of the shorter leg elevated (due to this her pelvis and everything upwards is level). So far the movements do not give any trouble. Only when fatigue sets in, it is a bit noticeable for her.

My question: is there anybody with similar experiences (first hand or with a client) and are there some tips or suggestions for such a situation?

Many thanks in advance!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Has your wife discussed her options with her doctor? A foot specialist might suggest something to equal out the difference but that is the doctor’s call and not mine.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi @Niek Schokkenbroek , welcome

Maybe she can put a small mat of some kind under the shorter leg while doing swings or KBDLs to slightly elevate it. I've seen this done with barbell deadlifts.
 

Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
Welcome @Niek Schokkenbroek ,

I second @Steve Freides advice, check with a sport-oriented orthopedic doctor.

Nonetheless with swings and KB Deadlifts we notice that at the top of the movement she has her heel of the shorter leg elevated (due to this her pelvis and everything upwards is level). So far the movements do not give any trouble. Only when fatigue sets in, it is a bit noticeable for her.

I would suggest, at least until a specialist can examine your wife, that she will avoid swinging in a fatigued state. Using a violent movement with a misaligned pelvis is not a good idea. @Anna C's elevation suggestion will probably help improve pelvic alignment and give some buffer-zone for fatigue.

Furthermore, I would suggest working with a PT/FMS/OS practitioner/SFG/etc. to regain as much of the lost hip mobility as possible. Some times at least some of the restrictions are scarring and bad post-op pattern re-learning.
 

Niek Schokkenbroek

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Thank you all for replying on that short (no pun intended...) notice.

Has your wife discussed her options with her doctor? A foot specialist might suggest something to equal out the difference but that is the doctor’s call and not mine.
Yes, of course. The foot specialist resulted in the 18mm measurement, the problem is that not many doctors have the background knowledge of KB swings. Also our experience with the doctors in the country we live in, not our home country, is that they are more into making money than into really helping.

Hi @Niek Schokkenbroek , welcome

Maybe she can put a small mat of some kind under the shorter leg while doing swings or KBDLs to slightly elevate it. I've seen this done with barbell deadlifts.
Thanks. We have tried it before, but it increased problems on slipping and sliding. But now you have mentioned it, worth to look into again and try to get some sort of fixation of the elevation...

Welcome @Niek Schokkenbroek ,

I second @Steve Freides advice, check with a sport-oriented orthopedic doctor.

I would suggest, at least until a specialist can examine your wife, that she will avoid swinging in a fatigued state. Using a violent movement with a misaligned pelvis is not a good idea. @Anna C's elevation suggestion will probably help improve pelvic alignment and give some buffer-zone for fatigue.

Furthermore, I would suggest working with a PT/FMS/OS practitioner/SFG/etc. to regain as much of the lost hip mobility as possible. Some times at least some of the restrictions are scarring and bad post-op pattern re-learning.

Thanks! As mentioned above, I will try to get some elevation in place that will stay in place as well. To avoid swinging in a fatigued state, we already opted for sets of maximum 10 swings.
The lost hip mobility is something that is mainly in bone structure, but we will try and get some things moving. Firstly we have to find a trustworthy specialist to be honest.
 

Shahaf Levin

Level 5 Valued Member
Firstly we have to find a trustworthy specialist to be honest.
These, unfortunately, are hard to find... This is why I mentioned SFG/FMS/OS by name. While good and bad practitioners can be found with any certification these, IMO, have a higher baseline than most... All these organizations have a "find a professional near you" option in their website. For SFG it is located comfortably in this page on your top right :)
 

Niek Schokkenbroek

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
These, unfortunately, are hard to find... This is why I mentioned SFG/FMS/OS by name. While good and bad practitioners can be found with any certification these, IMO, have a higher baseline than most... All these organizations have a "find a professional near you" option in their website. For SFG it is located comfortably in this page on your top right :)

Thanks, fully aware of this. I am currently looking into getting into the SFG1 Certification myself. But that is only in December...

Here in the US, I would start with a podiatrist.
We went and saw one in the Netherlands. There is luckily no major issue in miss-alignment of her pelvis, she managed to correct a lot herself in the 30 years since the surgery. It is just the specifics of the KB swing that got us thinking.

Another idea for this -- wear a shoe on the short leg and go barefoot on the longer one.
This might be a thing that is better to implement... (y) Thanks for thinking along.
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Niek,
Interesting
I think most importantly stay out of fatigue (stop early - you can always do another set).

Typical advice in rehab is to correct half of the leg length difference (9mm in this case) - was she ever provided an orthotic or correction by the Drs?

Where are you located? Netherlands?

Brett
 

Niek Schokkenbroek

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Niek,
Interesting
I think most importantly stay out of fatigue (stop early - you can always do another set).

Typical advice in rehab is to correct half of the leg length difference (9mm in this case) - was she ever provided an orthotic or correction by the Drs?

Where are you located? Netherlands?

Brett

Thanks Brett, for your reply and interseting indeed ;)
Yes that is the way we handled it as well. Stopping before fatigue, if only not to lose proper form .

She was provided with a corrective inlay sole, but that isn't always the most practical in every situation. So whenever possible she is using that, but that is no good with barefoot shoes, flipflops, heels, or some types of shoes that have no space for that much of an inlay. Nevertheless she has no trouble not using the inlay all the time. It is the dynamics of KB swings during a session the other day that got her feeling her hip and knee a bit. This was also during an accumulation of long day at work, not enough sleep, but still squeezing in a session...

And we are located in South - Lebanon, there are some SFG and SFL certified people in country. Only a drive of 1,5-2hrs with a baby makes it a little less accessible...
 
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