An Introduction to Handling a Kettlebell

Nearly every gym has a small selection of kettlebells, but many of us avoid using them, yet they are a great tool for adding variety to your workout. Before you pick one up, do you know how to use them? Form is important. Swing a heavy weight incorrectly and you can cause yourself an injury.

We’ve already written an article on how to swing a kettlebell, but we suggest you step back even further and first learn how to hold a bell correctly.

The kettlebell is broken down into three parts; the bell, the horns and the handle.

Holding a kettlebell close to your chest, before a goblin squat

For a swing, you’ll be holding the handle. However, for many movements, where you keep the kettlebell close to your chest, you want to be holding the horns with the bell at the bottom, this ensures you don’t put unnecessary stress on your wrists. With the kettlebell in this position, you want to make sure you’re holding it with a neutral (straight) wrist, the same as it would be when bench pressing.

Holding the kettlebell in the “racked” position

During a kettlebell press, you’ll want to keep this same neutral position as well, this is particularly important when you’re pressing due to the high forces that go through your wrist. So, keep it in the palm of your hand with your knuckles pointing straight up, the bell of the kettlebell on the outside of your forearm (this is often also referred to as the ‘racked’ position). This will minimise any wrist damage and with also help improve your wrist strength!

Here at Short Motivation we really enjoy adding a kettlebell to our workouts as they are so diverse and reasonably easy to transport, Try adding some kettlebell moves into your workouts. Remember, get your technique sorted first, then progress up through the weight.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.