Kettlebell training is rough on the hands, the repeated motion of the handle rotating in the palm will form callouses which eventually may tear and could stop you from training as frequently as you want to. However there are things you can do to avoid this situation, improve technique, protect and repair.
First we will start with protection methods
The Sock sleeve method
The sock sleeve can be made easily and fits right over the area of the palm that is affected. This idea was invented by Tracy Reifkind husband of Master RKC Mark Reifkind. Having tried this method I can attest to how really good this works! This is the method that I encourage my class members and clients to use. Phil Scarito has put together a video to explain more.
The taping method is popular at the RKC events, although it is not allowed for the 100 rep snatch test, it is another great way to cover the affected area with minimal material allowing you to still “feel” the bell in your hand. I have yet to try this method so can only go on what others have to say. Master RKC Mark Riefkind has put together a very useful blog post with pictures and instructions. If you try this please leave a comment and let me know how it went.
The exercise that causes the most problems to hands is the kettlebell snatch, snatches burn more than 20 calories per minute, they are a fantastic conditioner, build strengh endurance and vastly improve work capacity. In a nutshell you need to be doing lots of snatches, whatever your goal! Steve Cotter is a well acomplished kettlebell lifter and competes in Girevoy sport (GS) where an athlete will snatch for as many times as possible in ten minutes with only one hand switch. Due to these condtions the GS style of snatching differs somewhat from the hardstyle method and is kinder to the hands. In the video link below Steve Cotter explains more.
If the above methods don’t work for you then you may want to consider keeping your hands in good condtion with a moisturiser. The most popular choice is corn huskers lotion, I haven’t been able to find this in the UK so unless you have relatives that can buy and post it over for you I don’t know how you would get hold of some. I’m sure there are other good moisturisers out there, one that I came across is kettle balm. This product has been specifically made to repair calloussed and torn hands due to kb training. I use this balm and can tell you that it works surprisingly well, you can see a noticeable difference in the appearance and feel of your hands the very next day.
Some purist kettlebell lifters will frown upon the above methods and call you a girlie man for using them, that is fine and to each his own, if Master RKC Mark Reifkind suggests tape is ok then that’s good enough for me.
I hope these have helped you out and you are able to continue training hard.
Until next time comrades, train safe!