(guest article) 4 Tips for Pain Free Kettlebell Work

Today’s article is an excerpt from Chandler Marchman’s MetCon-6 training manual.

I thought these tips were super useful, so wanted to pass along.

– Forest


4 Tips for Pain Free Kettlebell Work
excerpt from – MetCon-6

One of the big reasons that so many lifters shy away from kettlebell training is that they have had a painful experience with them. This pain most commonly is experienced on top of the forearm (just above the wrist) because of either the kettlebell resting improperly on top of the forearm during movements where the kettlebell remains fixed exercise, or because during the more ballistic movements the kettlebell crashes down on said spot. There are a few simple steps you can take that will help you fix this issue though.

1. Grip handle in the palm of your hand (NOT in your fingertips) with your wrist in a neutral position.

By griping the kettlebell in this “wrist cocked” manner, not only will you eliminate any hyperextension (bending back) in your wrist that might cause joint pain, but you will also eliminate any power leaks that occur when you’re unable to transfer optimal amounts of force into the kettlebell that you’re trying to apply force into.

2. DON’T “gorilla grip” the bell during ballistic movements.

Normally, you want to grip the handle of the kettlebell as tightly as possible while keeping your wrist in the cocked position. But when you perform either a clean or snatch, the handle of the kettlebell must be able to rotate inside your hand so that you can use the “pull & punch” maneuver to prevent it from crashing on top of your forearm. This is impossible to do with a gorilla grip on the bell.

So, keep the handle in the palm of your hands with a handshake strength grip so that you maintain control of it, but also allow it to rotate freely inside your hand when you need to “catch” the kettlebell during either the clean or snatch.

3. “Tame the Arc”

By retracting and depressing your shoulder blades during both the clean and the snatch (the only movements that require you to transition from the kettlebell in the normal grip position to lying on top of the forearm), you will be able to shorten the path that the kettlebell travels in, and create a more stable and controlled environment for the kettlebell to travel in.

4. Move the kettlebell around your wrist, not your wrist around the kettlebell.

This is the “pull & punch” move that I told you about earlier that during the clean and snatch allows you to avoid the kettlebell crashing down on your arm. What you’ll want to do is while “taming the arc” via retraction and depression of your shoulder blades (thus shortening the loopy trajectory of the bell path AND increasing your control of the kettlebell in space), propel the weight up by driving your hips forward, and while this propels the weight forward and up, pull your elbow back and punch your wrist through to “catch” the bell softly against your arm.


If you found these tips helpful, be sure to also check out the full Met-Con 6 program at the link below:


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