Kettlebell Forearm Guards and What They Are

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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.

Pinched Skin

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.

Proper Protection

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.

Flexible Inserts

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 thekettlebell guard insert 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.

Removable Inserts

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.

My Conclusion

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.

22 thoughts on “Kettlebell Forearm Guards and What They Are

  1. Hi I think this is a very useful review and anyone of any experience level should pay attention to what you’re saying. Even the most seasoned gym goer can get hurt. As you say it only takes a moment. You also do a great job describing what they can and cannot do. I think I will be visiting again for more honest and insightful product reviews. Thanks Kenny

  2. I haven’t done kettlebell for a while for that reason.  I liked the workouts, but hated hitting myself.  I thought I was just doing something wrong and eventually gave up on it.  But I’ve wanted to get back into it as it is fun and I did enjoy it, minus the bruises.

    Good to know that I can get something to protect myself so I can do something that I enjoy again!

    Thank you 🙂

  3. Using the kettle bell for my training is intense.I also spent a fair amount of time with a large goose egg of a bruise on the forearm. My technique of using the kettle bell is not good and I will whack myself a number of times. It is a part of the learning curve for kettle bell training. This forearm guards are really helpful. I will use it until I have master the techniques.

    • Great idea.  No one wants to walk around with sore bruises on the backs of their arms when a simple plastic guard will prevent that.

      Glad you use kettlebells.  They are a great fitness tool.

  4. I have injured my left arm quite a few times due to Kettlebell cardio workout. I didn’t know that a guard can really protect my hand from the injury so well. Thanks for the information. I would definately buy one soon and lets see how it works for me. Where can I find a good quality guard online?

  5. Kelltebell Forearm Guards with plastic inserts seem to be the best way to go to protect being bruised if the Kettlebell should hit your arm during exercise. It is easy to become fatigued while exercising an get hurt. If there is a way to prevent injury it makes sense to use the best available product. 

    Often,  when exercising,  you don’t even realize how fatigued you are becoming until something like this happens. Why put yourself in harms way, when it is preventable.

    The person writing this article is obviously knowledgeable about the subject and I would be glad of this type of advice if I was involved in this sport.

    • Thanks for that great comment.  Much appreciated.  I do Crossfit daily and have used kettlebells in every way possible it seems.  I’ve also walked away with very sore arms from getting whacked by a 73lb ball of steel.

  6. After reading this post and knowing how easy it is to lose concentration or overdo it when doing any exercise I feel very strongly that anyone involved in this sport who doesn’t take heed and take the proper precautions to protect their arms, when there are protectors, is being unwise.

    The person who wrote this post obviously knows of the dangers and has done his homework finding the best Kettlebell Forearm Guards to enable one to protect their forearms.

    Were I involved in this sport, I would heed his warnings and buy the best. Ones that can be cleaned, in cold water, as not to damage the plastic inside.

  7. I’ve been to the gym so many times and never knew that all along i was looking at kettlebells!! I’ve never really used them but I appreciate you underscoring Protecting yourself from unnecessary injuries. I practice boxing and wrapping my wrists and wearing gloves are vital.

  8. I know someone who uses kettlebell as part of their workout routine and I’ve often heard him say that while it is a great way to workout, they do at times get some of the things you had mentioned such as pinched and skin and from time to time, bruises. It is nice to know that there are forearm guards for this that will help protect against those. It’s also good to know that some brands out there have inserts. I will certainly share this article with him. Are there any particular brands you recommend?

    • Thanks for the comment first off.

      The guards I would recommend are KettleGuard.  They are probably the best on the market today

  9. I work on the kettlebells once a week and I wish I had perfect form, haha 🙂 So unfortunately yeah, I know what your talking about.

    Because I saw some guys in the club using these forearm guards, I decided to look for some reviews and that’s why I landed on your page.

    You give some solid advice as I was already looking for some cheap ones. Don’t go cheap you say! Duly noted. Also recommending the thinner guards. So thanks to your review I know exactly what to get.

    Thanks! 🙂

  10. At 68, kettlebells and heavy workouts are waaaay beyond my ability.  I so admire those that can train with various types of equipment that were probably not even invented (or only for male use) at the time I could have really benefited from using them.  But as with any physical activity, I was very pleased to see that you focused on the safety and upkeep of equipment topics.  Your presentation was very well-written and I encourage you to keep up the good work – in the gym and online!

  11. The all too well known kettlebell forearm bruise, I can relate very well. I’m glad I came across this article today. The kettlebell is always tucked in and into my wrist but I can never seem to master a good position when doing a snatch. I have problems bending my wrist inward too often and I don’t correct it. This year I started using more kettlebells than I have done ever before, and while they are a great workout, watching your swing is paramount. I like the idea of using protective wear and not having to opt for something less heavier, but focusing on your form is all. If it’s not a flexible piece, I’ll definitely turn to one that is, so I don’t cause any pain. Thank you for sharing, this was very helpful!

    • Great.  Kettlebells are a great workout without bruised up arms and I am glad you stopped by and read the article.  


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