To ensure a safer and more productive kettlebell lifting and training environment, it is important to establish and implement strict ground rules from the very start.
These rules apply to individual and group training. And should be followed and adhered to at all times, for any kettlebell fitness regime.
Please read the Kettlebell Lifting and Exercise Guidelines below, before preceeding further.
- Wear loose clothing
- Train in bare feet. The soles of the feet receptors that communicate with the body and the ground. To assist in stability of the ankle joint, foot posture and prevention of potential back and knee problems. Alternatively wear flat thin soled shoes (thick soled trainers create imbalances)
- No lifting gloves preferably (the hands receptors that communicate with the body become inhibited)
- Always have sufficient amounts of water for each session
- Make sure you lift kettlebells in a space well away from other practicing individuals.
- Use chalk frequently throughout session to eliminate wet hands and increase grip
Safety Techniques for Kettlebell Lifting
- Constantly stay tight around your waist (as if bracing to absorb a punch to the midsection)
- Take your time when preparing to lift a kettlebell from the ground, and also after each phase of particular lifts or disciplines. Ie: Military Press, Turkish Get Ups etc.
- When performing The Kettlebell Swing, Snatches and Cleaning actions, tense your glute muscles (backside muscles) and imagine resisting yourself from going to the toilet. At the same time always snap your hips forward while locking out your knees.
- Keep your arms relatively loose when performing Swings, Snatches and Cleans.
- STOP immediately once form begins to deteriorate. (Remember QUALITY OVER QUANTITY)
- With all Swinging actions try to hook your fingers over the handles rather than grip fully with your hands. As this helps to reduce friction. (try to let the kettlebell glide from the hook of fingers to the heel of the palm)
- For safer Cleans and Presses, always keep the kettlebell compact and central to the body. Never allow the arms, elbows and the kettlebell to move outside ribcage.
- Keep your centre of mass over your base of support. (your centre of mass is 3”- 4” down from your navel, and 2” – 3” deep) Eg: If you stand on one leg your centre of gravity will be directly over the supporting foot to keep balance.
During any kettlebell workout you are required to grip the kettlebell loosely, to minimise calluses or ripped calluses.
However, when you first begin kettlebell training, it takes time to adjust to the touch and feel of the kettlebell. And therefore developing some level of rough skin at the top of your palms is inevitable.
Below is a guide to help you make the best of the situation, and keep your hands in good condition for each session.
- Do not let the calluses get thick and rough. Do this by soaking your hands in warm water at night. Then thin and smooth out the calluses with a pumice stone before applying an oily cream. Preferably a cream that is natural and that penetrates and moisturises efficiently.
- File or shave off your calluses using battery operated rotating buffers available from most chemists. Or even use high grade sand paper. That way you simply file off the excess calluses, so that it never gets thick enough to tear or rip. You can even get callous shavers that use a razor blade, with a guide to shaving off thick calluses. But if you file often and correctly, you may never need them.
- You do not want to file away the entire callous. The thickened part that becomes caught or pinched during kettlebell snatches for instance, is what you should file off. Your calluses are there for a reason. Just keep them in check to reduce the possibility of tears.
- Listen to your hands. If your skin begins to pull, tingle or give indications of a blister or tear, STOP. By halting a set early to save your hands, is far preferable to ignoring the warning. Allowing a tear to occur, and which can derail your training.
Kettlebell Instructors, Gymnasts and Power Lifters recommend the following techniques to deal with over thick and hard calluses
- Soak hands in hot water (comfortably hot) for at least 5 minutes.
- Dry the hands and wait 30 seconds or so, for the blood to come back.
- Sand the hand with either pumice stone, sandpaper or electrical sander callus removers.
The skin sloughs off with very little effort and all the hand pads become nice and flat. Just enough to protect but not tear.
IF YOU GET A BLISTER DURING KETTLEBELL LIFTING
- Cut the dead skin away as close to the remaining callous edge as possible.
- Clean and dry, and then place a square of athletic tape (MUST BE POROUS or it won’t work) over the tear and work it into the skin until it is seamless.
- Leave it on until it gets wet or dirty then replace. If the tape won’t stick it is wet or dirty.
This technique allows the tear to get air so it will dry out. But the porous covering allows it to be just moist enough so you don’t get cracks in the centre. Apparently it works well every time !
You can work out with the square of tape covering the tear.
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR PERFORMING KETTELEBELL SNATCHES
If the workout routines include kettlebell snatches, but your hands begin to tingle and feel their ready to rip. Settle for two handed swings instead when kettlebell lifting, to minimise the stress on the skin of the hands.
Also if you are training in high humidity and you are practising snatches. Always revert to a FULL SNATCH – DEAD POSITIONinstead of swinging.
Then you can do multiple reps and sets without ripping your hands.
The back swing, and thus most of the skin stress, is eliminated.