How to Protect the Wrist During Kettlebell Snatch Exercises

Correct technique helps keep your wrist from becoming sore.

Correct technique helps keep your wrist from becoming sore.

The kettlebell snatch has a reputation of being a fat melter par excellence. In his classic book, “From Russia With Tough Love: Pavel's Kettlebell Workout for a Femme Fatale,” kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline recommends a routine that involves doing 25 snatches with each arm and then jogging a quarter mile to allow your fluttering heart rate to drop -- yep, that’s drop, not rise -- back to normal. Whether you push yourself to the max on this “nuclear fat burner” superset or stick to plain vanilla snatches, you want your wrists to be protected from the thumping of the cannonball-shaped part of the kettlebell.

Master one-arm swings, cleans and military presses to strengthen your grip and control and to learn how to protect your wrist. For example, as you perform the clean, work on rolling the ball around your wrist so it lands softly on the forearm. Don't swing it in an arc so it smashes the wrist abruptly.

Counter the tendency of the heavy bell to pull your wrist backward by aligning the handle with the heel of your palm, rather than higher up on the palm near the fingers, and stiffen your wrist flexors to brace against the rotating bell.

Bend your elbow as you raise the kettlebell to keep it near your arm. Work on your form at the top of the snatch, applying the easy roll you learned for doing the clean. Dip your knee to help absorb the shock as you continue your tight squeeze on the handle.

Items you will need

  • Kettlebell wrist protectors


  • For extra heavy lifts or while learning the snatch or clean, wear kettlebell-specific protective wristbands featuring plastic inserts. Avoid heavily padded regular wristbands, which are not a substitute for using proper form.

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An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.

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