Swings and Get-ups Form Check - trap & shoulder pain after doing them

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Marius_Lefter, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    Hi to all of you.

    Today I ask an act of kindness: look at my Two-Hand Swing and Get-Up videos performance and spot errors, mistakes, flaws, technique issues in order to help me to make them better.

    I uploaded them on Google Drive and shared the link with you below, hope this is acceptable.

    Two-Hand Swings: 2-Hand Swings.mp4

    Get-up (both arms): 3_GU (Both sides).mp4

    This is important beyond technicality.

    Yesterday I did a Simple & Sinister session, straightforward and nice.

    Today I woke up with a big pain in the upper left trap (parallel to the collarbone and towards the shoulder & the gleno-humeral joint).

    In the last month this is the third time I feel this problem, but not that big like this one. Is very frustrating and I need to fix it once and for all.

    I suspect it has something to do with my shoulder mechanic in the swings and get-ups, maybe even in the way I do the backswing.

    The left upper trap hurts so much now (towards the shoulder) that it hurts even when rolling out of bed or moving the arm overhead. Not to mention when I get into a push-up position, a plank, crawling or rocking position; basically when my arms need to support my torso.

    When looking at my videos above, can you tell me, please, if everything looks ok?

    I spent some time today re-reading the S&S book, blog posts and forum posts about proper locking the upper back with the lats, shoulders back & down, neck position (slight extension, not hyperextension and/or do not whip forward the neck during the pull, proper t-spine extension in the backswing). Anything that I could get my hands on regarding trap, shoulder and neck pain in the swings & get-up.

    What do you think about my technique at the moment?

    Regarding medical evaluation, I already took steps, setting appointments for this week with a sports doc and with a chiropractor that also does myofascial release, acupuncture and osteopathy.

    But I like from you a technical evaluation as well. The closest SFG Instructor is at more than 280 miles from my home (close to 450 km). I will try to get to him in a week-end this spring and work one-on-one. Until then, please help!!!

    Thank you!

    Power to all of you!
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  2. Sauli

    Sauli Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Everything looks really good to me, but neck pain tells me that you have sometimes minor issues with shoulder packing. I had same thing once.
    Maybe you should rotate your training weights. Going heavy all the time may be issue.

    I'm just guessing.
    Marius_Lefter and Shahaf Levin like this.
  3. Shahaf Levin

    Shahaf Levin Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I watched the videos. I might be projecting from my own faults but it seems your not packing the shoulders in the swing. This is my usual suspect with trap/neck pain with swings.

    In TGU it looks that on your roll to elbow with the KB on the right you roll to a "saggy" position with you left shoulder and take time to correct. This is strenuous to the shoulder girdle as well. There is a video of TGU-with-speed-bumps published by FMS that I found useful to solve it with some students.
    Marius_Lefter likes this.
  4. q.Hung

    q.Hung More than 300 posts

    it looks quite good actually
    Marius_Lefter likes this.
  5. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    I am really trying to pack the shoulders even from the set-up, I do not know why is not so visible. I bring them as tight, down and back as I can, yet when I look at the videos is not so visible.

    Is strange that my pain in on the left side, which is my strongest side in all life and sports events.

    I know the TGU with speed bumps from FMS, will give that a go.
    Shahaf Levin likes this.
  6. Bauer

    Bauer More than 300 posts

    When my lat doesnt fire enough my traps compensate. Other than that, lifestlye matters. Most of my shoulder issues are from my desk job and are then sometimes aggravated by training. Lacrosse ball self massage against a wall is a game saver for me.
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  7. Valeriy

    Valeriy Double-Digit Post Count

    I had similar issue with left trap/neck after moving from 24 to 32 too fast. Appears that I wasn't able to produce enough power with hips and glutes and was overloading traps. What helped is adding 32kg swings very slowly and really concentrating on squeezing the glutes. Hope this helps!
    Marius_Lefter, Shahaf Levin and Bauer like this.
  8. Shahaf Levin

    Shahaf Levin Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I had the same problem. Dead-stop swings helped me isolate it and solved it by improving gluing the arm to my body in the back swing. As @Bauer said, the trap kicks in hard to compensate when the lats are slacking.
    Marius_Lefter and Bauer like this.
  9. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    Thank you to all of you.

    After my medical evaluation, if I am cleared to train, will see what is to be done technically. Being very careful with plank at the top, firing the lats & proper T-spine, scapula & shoulder mobility are on my to do list.

    Dead-stop swings are something I thought about.
  10. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    I agree, the swing and get-up both look good with no major issues and nothing that clearly looks like it would cause your problems. Also agree with the other observations and ideas above.

    Curious what the weight is, and if you ever do 1H swings, since the S&S program is 1H swings?

    Also, have a look at this thread -- lots of good ideas and input there: Swing form check (for neck pain)
    Marius_Lefter and WxHerk like this.
  11. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    The problem first appeared when I started to practice the press with the 12 kg. Since then it appeared two more times, with the press not being in sight, only the swings & the get-ups.

    Until now I have not performed 1H Swings, I do not feel ready for them. I just do 10 x 10 two-handed style, and 1-2 month from now I want to start working on 1H Swings using 1H planks, 1-leg deadlift and maybe some drills like the Pendulum Swing with 1H, the Hike Pass but with 1H, Towel Swing with 1H.

    I am not confident to start sooner.

    The currentt weight is not large at all. What you see in the swings is a 16kg competition-style bell from Eleiko, and in the get-up a 12kg competition-style bell from the same brand. I feel I could easily swing more weight, and in the get-up I can do 2-3 sets with confidence with the 16 kg.

    But this problem that I have prevents me from doing that. It makes me insecure regarding my technique and it makes me train with the fear of this pain upon my head.
  12. william bad butt

    william bad butt Triple-Digit Post Count

    Consider just doing swings one day, then TGUs another day, temporarily, just to pinpoint which of those 2 exercises are the culprit. Because right now you are not even sure which one it is.
  13. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    How's your breathing? I think breathing with the upper chest as opposed to the diaphragm can cause some pains and tension in those muscles.

    The easy check I have students do is this: just after a set of swings, put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Which hand moves when you breathe?
  14. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    My breathing is most of the time correct. I never was much of a upper chest breather, if I can say so. And before I picked up kettlebells I engaged in some Qi Qong and Tai Chi routines.

    But I do keep an eye on it. I do the Y drill from S&S between sets and sometimes I find that just going into a 6-point rock position regulates my breathing (is difficult breathing in the upper chest when you rock or do some gently crawling). On a related note: I find that naked get-ups regulate my breathing too.

    I had a thought today while I was commuting to work: I never had this problem while I was learning and doing hundreds of swings that were far from good but 16kilo bell seamed heavy at the time. I have started to believe that, because it felt heavy for me, in no way my arms & traps could have been pulling, so all I had were glutes & hams.

    Maybe a bump in weight (24 kilo) will make me work hard again with "buns" (glutes) and not with "guns" (arms) :)).
    Bauer likes this.
  15. WxHerk

    WxHerk More than 300 posts Certified Instructor

    Reducing weight will appear to fix the symptom, but not the problem. Using your "guns" is fixed by trying to throw the bell forward with your hips. I imagine shooting a cannon straight ahead with no arc, like a laser beam.
    Shahaf Levin and Marius_Lefter like this.
  16. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Both look pretty good. If I had to come up with primary culprit I'd say shoulder pulling at the bottom of the swing. It might be more the way the light is playing across the shoulder, but it looks to me like its shrugging forward at the bottom.

    You might try pushing the hips back a bit more at the bottom and really working on linking the arms tight to ribs on the bottom 1/3 up and down.

    After that,as already suggested I'd break these two up and isolate which one is the issue. The TGU looks like probably not the issue, but only one way to be sure.
    Shahaf Levin and Marius_Lefter like this.
  17. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    Yes, I am 98% sure it is the swing. Well, not the swing. The swing is innocent. It's the way I do the swing. As an internal sensation, I do feel some disconnection there, in the hole and even throughout the exercise. Without weight I am very pleased of the way my hinge looks. It looks text-book. But with weight, well...things look a little different, to put it politely.

    And I am quite sure my timing is also problematic: hinge to soon, maybe not so deep as it needs to be, and I believe the weight flys in front before I plank up.
  18. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Certified Instructor

    That's good.

    You could be onto something there with "feel some disconnection there"...there can be some jerkiness to the swing that's not always apparent externally. Ideally you want to be applying force smoothly; absorbing the force of the downswing and then accelerating out of the backswing to propel the bell upwards. Towel swings can help smooth this out - have you ever tried those? Also, finding the right weight can help -- a heavier bell can sometimes be just the right tool to improve issues with the swing, so going lighter isn't always a good answer to fixing problems, though of course you don't want to go heavier than you can effectively handle.

    For what it's worth, my upper traps are pretty much never without some discomfort and tightness. I don't know whether it's my computer time (desk job + other computer time), training, or both, but I always seem to have some stiffness and pain and trigger points in the upper traps that never completely goes away. I used to be more aggressive with foam rolling, massage balls, massage therapy, and getting dry needling from health care practitioners, but this past year I mostly quit all that and found it doesn't make much difference either way. So, I just live with it and keep training.
    WxHerk and Marius_Lefter like this.
  19. Marius_Lefter

    Marius_Lefter Double-Digit Post Count

    I was never happy of the way my shoulders & chest look in the backswing. I remember now I cue from S&S: spread apart as much as you can the fingertips and the sternum. I do this with unloaded swings, I do not know how much I do this with weight.

    I will keep this close to me in practice: absorbing the force of the downswing, accelerating out of it. I will be very aware of this.

    I will use Towel swings and Dead-stop swings once I return to training. I used them both in recent months for a few sessions, I was very happy with the level of feed-back they provide. Regarding the bell, I think about going with a 24, military grade. These competition bells ... are not at all suited to do drills with both hands on the handle. I have small hands for a guy, and even I can barely have room on the handle for two hands. And the lack of room make me flare the elbows somehow, together from having a pretty large frame for a guy my size. I am kinda squared :))).

    I would not mind some degree of discomfort or tightness. But when the pain is so debilitating that it makes me wake up from my sleep because I rolled, well...that is a signal that I did something very wrong.

    And I put my hope in foam rolling, massage balls, massage therapy, and dry needling ... I do hope will work for me :D.
    WxHerk and Anna C like this.
  20. Shahaf Levin

    Shahaf Levin Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Pavel Macek had a post or article (couldn't find it) that describes the swing as a 4 count movement, rather than 2 count. It greatly helped me to clear the timing and arm connection. Working the 4 count with dead-stop swings corrected a disconnection I had on my left side and caused neck pain.
    Marius_Lefter likes this.

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