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Dude My Forearm Hurts

How to Do the Kettlebell Snatch Without Forearm Pain

Many people interested in strength and fitness are turning to kettlebells in order to accomplish their goals.

Unfortunately, many are also experiencing pain because of it.

It’s common for new kettlebell practitioners to develop serious pain in the back of their forearms due to improper form in the kettlebell snatch.

You see, to the eye of the beginner, when watching a more experienced athlete perform movements such as the kettlebell snatch, many think that at the top of the movement the kettlebell spins freely in the hand.
What this turns into when beginners try the movement is a ballistic pin wheel effect where the bell travels around their hand in a big circle and then crashes to a halt on the back of their forearm.

This intense pain is more than enough to frustrate a beginner and make them quit after just one workout.

And guess what – I was one of those beginners who misunderstood the technique when I started and walked around with a swollen and bruised forearm after first getting my hands on a kettlebell.

So, I am writing this post for all of those people who have felt this pain, and hopefully I will be able to prevent it for dozens if not hundreds more.

First off, it is important to understand that when performing kettlebell cleans and snatches, the bell’s spin is not focused around the center of the handle. The movement is actually centered more closely around the center of the bell itself.

In other words, at the top of the movement, you shouldn’t just let the handle spin in your hand and crash down, or else you’re in for pain.

Check out the video below. First, I show BAD snatch technique where the bell smashes my forearm and then I show PROPER technique directly afterwards.

Here’s your mental checklist for performing the pain free kettlebell snatch…


    – Be passive with your arm
    – Let the handle spin in your hand
    – Let the bell crash on your forearm


    – Be active by punching with your arm
    – Make the bell spin on its natural axis in the middle of the bell
    – Take your forearm to the bell

Hopefully this post and video has been helpful and makes a difference for you in your kettlebell training.

Now before you go, I want to ask you a question…

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What questions do you have about kettlebell training?

Is there a technique you are having trouble with? Something you can’t figure out about kettlebells?

Put your questions into the comment box below and we will answer your questions in future posts here on our blog.

Thanks and all the best in your training!


P.S. Check out our Advanced Kettlebell Training eBooks ==> Serious Kettlebell Training

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9 Responses to “Dude My Forearm Hurts”

  1. Adam L Says:

    Ahh a good punch yes! KBells kick ass just purchased my first personal ones and use the punch method you speak of, so true.

  2. sidharth Says:

    Hey Jedd,
    That punching tip (in fact all the do’s and dont’s )worked like a charm, until now I had been avoiding swings and been irregular with it, with this technique modification , I also feel the grip challenge to decelerate the bell at the top.Now getting addicted! Thanks for the tip.
    Anything you have in mind for the bottom half of the swing?

  3. Jedd Says:

    Awesome guys. Glad the tips helped you out, Sid.

    Sid, what exactly do you need to know about the swing at the bottom?



  4. Jerry Shreck Says:


    I remember the first time I got kettlebells and I played with them for like 3 hours-not really knowing what I was doing. Forearms hurt for a week!

  5. coach mike Says:

    Your hand needs to travel around the bell not the bell around your hand. A large dose of High pulls (thumb to the ear)until the person tires then have them snatch again. Telling them to pull and punch is good advice but if they still under rotate the bell have them face a wall(concrete) and have them swing. Then have them move in until they have to pull in or hit the wall. Let the bell slide up the wall (close not touching)until it is shoulder high. Never fails! All of a sudden they have perfect form just add the punch!

  6. AK Says:

    Hi Jedd,

    I am pretty confused about the kettlebell snatch for the following reasons:

    I have always understood a snatch as being the vertical acceleration of the bar coupled with receiving the bar either in a full OL deep squat or power snatch style.

    And yet, I see videos on the net of kettlebell snatches where the bell is moved in a curve (elliptical movement), which for me is just a high swing with a catch tagged on at the top. Some practioners like LondonKbs and Art of Strength encourage the dead snatch; the progression for which is the high pull, both of which use the vertical acceleration method. So just what the hell is a kettlebell snatch?

    I don’t buy into using the momentum of the swing as this means you don’t have to work as hard as in the dead snatch and the arguements over rate of work and reps is hardly valid as you can dead snatch just as quickly if not marginally slower than with the swing method.

    So what do you think?

    cheers AK

  7. Norman Says:

    Hi Jedd,

    My question is somewhat related to the article you posted. Instead of the snatch and forearm pain, my question is about the clean and elbow pain.

    I found that the cleans hurt my elbows (people been telling me it’s tendinitis). At present if i get into the clean position (even without any weight), I feel some discomfort on my elbow; but if i further rotate that neutral grip/position into a supinated grip/position .. well, that’s just downright painful.

    My questions are: do you find this occurring with other people (whether they are beginners or seasoned KB experts); and do you have grip training tips that may help with this issue (i.e. to rehab and then to strengthen the elbow to make it more resistant to elbow pain).

    Finally, I just want to say that I’m a huge fan of the Diesel Crew, and have been following your work through your e-books (Sled Dragging, Combat Core, Advanced Kettlebell, and my favorite, Chaos Theory 🙂

  8. Wazzup Says:

    What I notice is that there’s a great deal of timing involved as well.. you have to punch through while the bell is still in ascent, just before it comes to a stop in the end. Be late and punch when the bell is at the top (or worse already descending) you still end up with a sore forearm. That way when you’ve punched through your forearm meets the bell when it’s in it’s utmost top position and “hanging” still in the air and you just softly put your forearm against it and support it at that position

    Also retract the shoulder a bit and then punch from the shoulder.

  9. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks for posting. Yes, timing it right is very important as well. Great point and thanks for commenting.


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