Why Kettlebell Forearm Guards?
How many times have you done a class with a lot of kettlebell work especially from kettlebell snatches and come away with bashed up for forearms or wrists. Sure, if you have really good form you can get away without a kettlebell slamming down on the outside of your arm, but most of us aren’t perfect. One good bang from a heavy steel kettlebell and you will with you were wearing kettlebell forearm guards. If this happens 4, maybe 5 times in a WOD you end up with a pretty banged up arm.
The argument will still remain the same in that if your form is good the kettlebell shouldn’t hit your wrist or arm.
Even with the ‘why are you wearing them’ attitude, look at the expert kettlebell competitors and you will see them wearing them.
When doing snatches or cleans, the kettlebell is kept very close to your wrist and inevitably your skin will get pinched against the kettlebell and you will end up with redness and even blisters. Wearing a kettlebell forearm guard will protect your skin from being pinched so you can keep your form without having to alter it.
Stop the Bruising
Back to the beginning when I say that proper form will prevent the kettlebell from becoming airborne and instead roll around your wrist in a snatch, we all don’t have that form all the time. Crossfit workouts of the day (WOD) always have multiple components with high numbers of reps. Fatigue sets in and at times form may falter.
Even if you have great kettlebell form, it is still good to use a kettlebell forearm guard just in case. Have a look at the video and you can see the kettlebell landing on the forearms of these athletes over and over again.
Preventing Wrist Strain? No, Not Really
Wrist wraps are your go to accessory for wrist support and protection, not kettlebell guards. They both wrap around your wrist and because they have plastic inserts, some people try to use them as wrist wraps.
These are not wrist wraps and weren’t designed to support the wrist. They have flexible plastic inserts that act as a shield against the kettlebell when it hist your arm or wrist. They are flexible because your wrist needs to be flexible in order to do kettlebell movements.
Choosing Kettlebell Forearm Guards
Be careful when looking at which guard to purchase. There are many cheap guards that are just that. They have a cheap design and may have a guard in only one place and not all the way around. Being as they have a soft sweatband material, the cheap guards tend to be just that, a glorified sweat band.
Just like a loose wrist wrap or sweatband, kettlebell forearm guards tend to spin around your arm with your regular wrist movements. Because of this a good guard should have a contoured protective plate that wraps partially around your wrist preventing it from spinning.
The first time I used Kettlebell guards I borrowed them from a gym buddy, but they were so uncomfortable that I kept on adjusting them and they were actually painful. This was because the protective plastic plate wasn’t at all flexible and would jab into my wrist when by wrist bent back.
Check out the guards and make sure the protective plate is flexible or you are in for a frustrating workout.
Amount of Padding
Here’s the thing, some guards have thick heavy plastic inserts making you look like you have a bionic arm or something. They offer maximum protection and you probably won’t even know you were hit with the kettlebell. Others have thinner plastic plates that offer plenty of protection.
If you find yourself needing a thick bulky guard, you may want to revisit your kettlebell form. Most people should only need the thinner flexible guards. Work on your form with the lightest kettlebell so you don’t need a big arm guard.
Some brands have the option to remove your plastic guards to add heavier or lighter ones. Having the option isn’t a bad idea, but I always preach good form.
How to Wash Kettlebell Wrist Guards
Kettlebell guards need to be washed just as your knee sleeves or wrist wraps do, but not in hot water. Hot water tends to loosen the fabric up a bit causing the plastic inserts to shift around.
If you have read any of my other posts you will see that I advocate protecting yourself so you don’t get hurt and can continue to hit the gym. I’m certainly not someone who collects gym stuff to make my gym bag larger and heavier for all to see. We have too many of those people out there already. Protection is what I preach.
I use these when we do cleans and snatches and a lot of reps of them in combination with other things. I do because at some point I’m going to bang my arm and probably more than once and yes it does hurt.
Me, I’ve been an active fittness buff for as long as I can remember and 5 years ago I put all of my efforts into the great sport of CrossFit. This sport has elevated my fitness to new levels through a lot of hard work and dedication and I want to share this with you. Fitness keeps us healthy so get out there.