Question for the fitness enthusiasts: kettlebell vs. barbell lifting with hernia?

Hernia Discussion Forums Hernia Discussion Question for the fitness enthusiasts: kettlebell vs. barbell lifting with hernia?

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    • #11422
      UhOh!
      Participant

      Even with a minimally symptomatic hernia, I’ve continued barbell training over the past two years. Though it remains minimally symptomatic, it’s grown a bit in that time (from a little pocket seemingly filled with fluid to a firmer bulge about the size of an avocado pit. And I’ve felt a little pressure on the other side, suggesting I may be overdoing it and risking a second…

      So, I’m contemplating switching from heavy barbell workouts (back squats, overhead presses, barbell rows; no deadlifts) to kettlebells, which are far lighter, but done at higher repetitions, at a faster pace, with less rest.

      As I see it, the kettlebells involve more explosive hip movements, which could aggravate the muscle tare itself, but involve no increase in intra abdominal pressure, since there’s no holding one’s breath, or performing a valsalva during reps. At this point, it seems that pushing additional contents into the sac and enlarging the hernia that way is the primary concern, hence the potential change, but I’m curious what those who’ve been through this would say from experience (either as patients or doctors).

    • #16687
      Good intentions
      Participant

      A direct hernia is not a “muscle tear” as I understand things. It’s not even really a tear. It’s a deformation, or over-stretching, of the fascia directly behind the peritoneum, and in to the inguinal canal. From there the “bubble” of peritoneum and fascia just continues to grow and force its way to places it doesn’t belong via, what is, essentially, hydraulic pressure. The contents of the bubble, whether it’s fat or omentum or intestine, have no significant structure. It’s like a stretchy bag of wet noodles.

      Each time you stretch or create the bubble it grows a small amount as the bubble surface, the fascia, passes its yield point. That’s a point of irreversible elongation, or strain. That’s why your hernia has grown slightly even though you’ve avoided abdominal pressure.

      If you plan to avoid mesh in the long run, your best option is to find a non-mesh repair while the hernia is small. The original point of mesh was to repair the difficult large hernias I think. Not to be the one-size-fit-all repair that it has become.

      Even the stories about self-healing hernias involve years of wearing a truss and avoiding heavy physical activity. I, personally, don’t think that there is a way to become so healthy that the hernia repairs itself. It’s not a muscle injury. The damaged tissue, the fascia, does not have much of a healing mechanism, similar to how a knee ligament will not heal itself if it’s torn. To the body, it’s not really damaged, it’s just stretched out. As far as the body is concerned all of the various surfaces and structures are intact.

    • #16688
      Good intentions
      Participant

      To your question though – the kettle bell seems more dangerous because at the end of the swing you do generate some abdominal pressure. And the speed of the motion lends itself to a sudden correction, where you might strain to stop the weight. Slow and controlled is the way for hernia management, I think.

    • #16689
      UhOh!
      Participant

      Thanks. I’m not entirely sure what impacts the mechanics of the kettlebell swing have and where. I do know that unlike the squat, I’m not taking a breath deep into my belly and holding it the entire rep. The end of the swing doesn’t worry me, since I don’t think it’s particularly abrupt, it was more about the hip explosivity used to initiate. As I understand it, the purpose of the workout is to use one’s body to control the weight as momentum takes over and tries to send it into the stratosphere.

    • #16690
      UhOh!
      Participant

      Oh, and to your other, nicely detailed, point, I have no illusions of “self-healing.” I only care to keep it as small and minimally symptomatic as long as possible while still keeping the other 99.5% of my body physically fit. Though I imagine that strengthening the surrounding muscular structures couldn’t hurt.

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