Happy Tuesday to you.
I’ve had a lot of emails recently about blisters, torn up hands and how to protect your hands when kettlebell training.
Here’s my quick guide to looking after your hands and preventing painful hand injuries…
1) Is Your Technique the Problem
All three of these exercises can roll the skin, so here’s what to do…
- Swing – try to prevent excess handle rotation in the palm. During the swing the handle should not rotate much.
- Snatch – move the kettlebell handle from the palm to the fingers avoiding rolling the upper palm.
- Clean – as with the Snatch move the bell handle from the fingers to palm and back again
Here’s a tutorial on the Kettlebell Swing…
2) Too Much Too Soon
Building up tougher skin takes time. If you perform 100’s of Swings and Snatches in a short space of time then you are asking for trouble.
Build up your hand condition slowly by increasing your reps gradually over time
Training in this way is also much better for your body so you should take torn up hands as an indication that you may be overdoing things.
3) Looking After Your Hands
- Dry or cracked hands – apply some natural coconut oil every evening before bed. Coconut Oil is also an excellent make up remover as well as an amazingly healthy cooking oil….makes amazing roast potatoes too!
- Calluses – use a pumice stone after soaking your hands in warm water for a few minutes or after a hot shower. Use the pumice stone to remove all the high points and especially the sharp edges. Don’t remove the callus completely or you will have no natural protection for future workouts.
- Using Chalk – will dry out your hands and create excessive friction that can intensify hand problems. I don’t recommend chalk but if you want to try it only use a small amount.
4) Gloves, Taping and Tube Socks
I don’t generally recommend covering the hands because it reduces the neurological feedback and also encourages excessive grip, tiring out the arms quicker.
However, for high reps and when it can’t be avoided I recommend the following…
- Smooth Cotton Gloves – purchase a pair with a tight fit and remove the finger tips to allow a little better movement. All other gloves cause more problems than without.
- Taping – tape long strips from the palm down and between the fingers. Band Aids, Plasters, Short Strips of taping will just peel and roll off often leaving glue on your kettlebell handle.
- Tube Socks – I’ve not tried this but many people advocate using a new tight tube sock cut off creating protection for the entire palm. I could see this being OK for Swings but I’m not sure about Snatches and Cleans.
5) Check Your Kettlebell Handle
There are lots of cheap and poorly made kettlebells on the market. Another cause of hand injury can be your kettlebell handle.
Take some abrasive paper or emery cloth and smooth out your handle so it has no lumps, bumps and small nicks in it.
Here’s what to look for when buying kettlebells…
6) For Current Hand Injuries
Don’t remove current skin flaps and blisters. Reseal them and place some antiseptic cream on them to prevent infection. Cover if necessary.
Don’t perform any exercise that you think were the cause of your injury until healed. Focus on more static kettlebell exercises like: Turkish Get Ups, Presses, Windmills, and all Leg Exercises.
Next, take note of the above 5 pointers and make sure your hands don’t get injured again.
That’s all for today, I hope this was helpful.
Take care of your hands and have a great day,