Prevent Kettlebells From Bruising Your Forearms

If you’ve ever cleaned a kettlebell, odds are you bruised your foreams at least a few times.

It’s practically impossible to learn the kettlebell clean without banging and bruising your forearm. This is doubly true if you use a deep handle kettlebell in a typical 36 pound size.

The reasons for this are:

  • Smaller/lighter kettlebells don’t hit the forearm quite as hard as a 36 pounder
  • Larger/heavier bells are less rounded and distribute the force of impact across a wider area of your arm

Don’t let instructors lie to you

Kettleguard forearm protectors for kettlebell training

Protect your forearms, avoid bruises, and work out with more intensity

When you talk about forearm bruising during kettlebell training, you might get some misleading information coming back at you from the usual suspects. To whom am I referring? The answer is: celebrity kettlebell instructors.

Lots of kettlebell instructors over-complicate things. Their goal isn’t to get you self-sufficient and on your way to better fitness and performance. Rather, they aim to keep you feeling inadequate and insecure about your knowledge and abilities. They want to be your guru instead of your teacher and eventually your colleague. If they have their way, you’ll always feel like there is more to learn.

What does this have to do with forearm bruising caused by kettlebell cleans and other kettlebell moves?

Here’s the thing: kettlebell instructors will tell you that bruising is a sign of incorrect technique. They say, “If you will just learn how to clean the bell properly, it’ll land feather-soft on your forearm and you’ll never get a bruise again”.

This is hogwash.

Valery Fedorenko cleans a kettlebell while wearing forearm protection

Valery Fedorenko, the most decorated kettlebell athlete, demonstrates a kettlebell clean while wearing forearm protection.

Nobody is perfect every single time. Everyone slips up once in a while. And when you move up in weight or when you get fatigued, your form suffers. That’s a fact of life in every sport or athletic activity; it’s not limited to kettlebell training.

Even the very best kettlebell athletes in the world – guys who compete at the highest levels of the sport – feel the need to protect their forearms during kettlebell training. In fact, the only time you won’t see them wearing some forearm protection is during staged photo shoots or (sometimes) during strict competition.

But wait – I’m a tough guy!

Ok, you’re a tough guy. You’re not afraid of a few bruises. Good for you.

If you work out with kettlebells regularly, you need forearm protection. Don’t believe all the “warrior” nonsense that some people try to feed you. Protect yourself and you’ll be able to work out harder and with more intensity. Bruises are not badges of courage; all they do is limit your ability to work out at 100%. And they’re totally preventable.

And guess what? You can still work on perfecting your form while you’re protecting your forearms and taking other sensible precautions.

If you’re going to train, do it right

Face it: some people view every problem as an opportunity to make you feel inadequate and unprepared. But at some point you have to stand on your own and take care of your own problems. It’s not a lack of knowledge that’s bruising your arm, it’s the kettlebell. Wear forearm protection and your workouts will be better and more productive, there’s no arguing that fact. Are you prepared to tell Valery Fedorenko that he needs to work on his techinque and form instead of wearing a forearm guard? I didn’t think so…

Here’s the forearm guard I recommend: Forearm guard for kettlebell training. Unlike regular wristbands, this one has removable plastic guards that let you dial in just the right amount of protection. You can even wean yourself away from using it over time if you wish. Get it from Amazon and do away with the excuses and self-doubt.