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Common Kettlebell Mistakes that Lead to Elbow and Forearm Pain

Avoiding Arm Pain from Kettlebell Training

Kettlebells continue to become more and more common in gyms and more popular these days.

And no wonder – they have proven to be very useful tools that can help you accomplish your strength, muscle and fat burning goals.

But, even with all their awesome benefits, if your form is off, kettlebells can cause some issues if your not careful.

Here are three very common errors in kettlebell training that can lead to elbow pain if you don’t correct them.

1. Grip in the Rack


When you hold a kettlebell near your chest/shoulder, it is called the Rack. This is a starting point for lifts such as the Kettlebell Press and Jerk, so it is also a common position to be in.

Unfortunately, this can also be a very annoying position if your technique is off. The kettlebell can sit on your forearm in a way that cause pain.

This pressure can later cause further issues in your elbow if you don’t correct things right away.

Luckily, this can usually be corrected by adjusting how you hold the kettlebell. By changing where and how your hand is positioned, you can reduce a lot of the pressure (you’ll see it later).

2. Crashing on the Snatch


New Kettlebell lifters often experience brutal forearm pain when performing Snatches, because they catch the kettlebell incorrectly at the top of the movement.

Usually, this comes from being too passive at the end of the Snatch. Lifters get into the habit of letting the kettlebell handle swivel in their hand. This may be what it looks like should be going on, but it is not.

When the kettlebell handle spins in the hand like this, the giant belly of the KB will smash with full force into the forearm, and this can cause deep contusions, surface bruising, and even knock the forearm bones slightly out of whack.

Having a tender forearm is bad enough, but when bones are starting to get moved around, that can throw up every press, row and curl movement you do in the gym.

Instead, what you need to do when finishing the snatch is allow the kettlebell to turn on an axis in the center of the bell itself.

This video shows exactly what you should do:

3. Bottom Portion of the Swing


The Swing is one of the foundational movements of Kettlebell lifting. It is a lift in itself, plus it the initial stage of many other lifts, such as the Snatch and Clean, because it is the most efficient way to bring the kettlebell from the floor to the shoulder or overhead position. Remember that word – “Efficient.”

When many lifters are starting out, they develop a habit where they keep their hand and forearm pronated at the bottom of the swing. That is, at the very bottom of the Swing, their palm is facing to the sky and the back of their hand is facing the ground.

In the true spirit of efficiency, this is not what should be done. Mechanically, during this follow-through portion of the swing, you should allow your forearm and hand to actually turn over BEYOND pronation. Otherwise, you are essentially resisting this rotation and fighting the bell.

Considering the number of repetitions that are possible with Kettlebell Swings, fighting the bell like this could potentially add up to a great deal of stress on the common flexor tendon in the forearm and result in pain that can be very irritating and get in the way of a great deal of your other training as well.

Correct Your Technique with This Video

These 3 areas of kettlebell training are easily fixed, once the lifter is made aware of them. The problem is that most people don’t even realize they are setting themselves up for injury to their forearm and elbows until it is too late.

For more information on how you can correct and prevent injuries and pain in the forearm and elbow, check out Fixing Elbow Pain. This program has helped hundreds of lifters get back to pain-free workouts and healthy lower arms.

Pick it up today => Fixing Elbow Pain

All the best in your training,


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4 Responses to “Common Kettlebell Mistakes that Lead to Elbow and Forearm Pain”

  1. Bill Says:

    Yo Jedd, Awesome tips on fine tuning one’s kettlebell technique. I have dozens of dvd’s on KB training and have not seen these demonstrated before. Big props and Thanks!

  2. Jedd Johnson Says:

    You have got to be kidding me! These are the basics dude. That statement blows me away. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Michael John Encarnacion Says:

    Just one word fully describes this video: Awesomeness!!!!! You hit it right on the mark Jedd. You are a blessing to all of us. Thanks Hermano. GBU

  4. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thank you my friend.

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