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Kettlebell Anyone experience discomfort using the v grip on doubles vs inverted v?

Babyubop123

Level 2 Valued Member
I’ve gotten comfortable with the v grip but after kettlebell strong, wondering if I should switch to inverted v during double kettlebells.
 

John Spezzano

Level 6 Valued Member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
It is personal, to a large degree. The issue with the V is the internal rotation, which can (emphasis on "can") lead to loose lats and therefore unpacked shoulders and therefore increase the risk of injury. @Analisa Naldi has a great test for whether you're physically able to use a V grip. As I recall (hopefully she will chime in here if I get it wrong), you assume an externally rotated elbow position with one arm, then grip your triceps on that side with the opposite hand and see how much internal rotation you can get before losing the lat and packed shoulder position. Most people I've trained are unable to use a V and still get adequate shoulder packing. This might not seem like a big deal but one thing leads to another. Years ago, probably around 2006, I was cleaning double 32k bells and used a V grip at the time. I weighed 175, so it was a decent percentage of my body weight. One loose drop and my right SC joint (sternoclavicular...spelling?) popped out of position. As a guy who's separated his AC joints on more than one occasion in a lifetime of martial arts, I can tell you the SC joint separation was WAAAAAAAAY more painful and longer to heal.

I'm sure many people use the V grip well, but in my opinion it's a somewhat advanced method and should be used once a solid foundation has been built with the Inverted V.

My .02...
 

Halfakneecap

Level 5 Valued Member
I like Geoff’s V position. I thought I’d struggle with it but i think I do feel more tightness in my lats and because there’s a lot less forearm and elbow rotation, my elbows are happier.

I also find there’s a lot less effort when doing cleans, the bells have less twisting to do and so don’t bang as much

For me anyway


Geoff’s V position for me is, looking down at the bells, it’s an inverted V for clarity
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
As I recall (hopefully she will chime in here if I get it wrong), you assume an externally rotated elbow position with one arm, then grip your triceps on that side with the opposite hand and see how much internal rotation you can get before losing the lat and packed shoulder position.

Maybe I'm not doing the test right, but I can go all the way from maximal external to maximal internal while keeping my lat on the rotated arm packed?

Or maybe it's all the overhead squatting and almost never benching?
 

John Spezzano

Level 6 Valued Member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
You could be someone with the range of motion who can do it properly.

I just reread my post and noticed I forgot to mention that the gripping hand should not let the upper arm of the externally rotated arm rotate. That's the point of grabbing it. Hopefully @Analisa Naldi chimes in here soon because I'm probably describing the test poorly.
 

Analisa Naldi

Level 5 Valued Member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Iron Maiden
Sinister
@John Spezzano - thank you for the heads up! I think you're describing a drill that somebody else might've shown (I'm intrigued (y) ) and for clarification, we have done a simple variation of what you're describing without restricting the humerus (upper arm) from rotating.

In exploring which position might be optimal for an individual's set-up, we've used the top of the swing position (vertical plank employing all tension principles, breathing behind the shield, actively fully-extended arm(s) with a swing hook grip position at the end) to explore if the V, Barbell, Inverted V, or Pistol feel better for a student.

1. Start in vertical plank / top of swing position

2. Maintaining breathing behind the shield, swing hook grip, and actively fully-extended arm(s) (TRICEP action!), close the back of your armpits or pull your armpits to hips, noticing as you create more tension in those armpits, your arm(s) will start to externally rotate
(assuming you maintain neutral wrist position, actively fully-extended elbow, and action is happening up in shoulder (AC, GH, SC joints) as well as increased tension feeling through lats, teres minor, thoracolumbar fascia, and down to glutes (if we're lucky and feeling connected ;))).

3. NOW, while enjoying all of this tension and maintaining it (especially the back of those armpit closed!), slowly internally rotate your "elbow pits" while maintaining all other principles above, until you feel a change in the tension you're able to maintain. This tends to occur either back in/near neutral range (Barbell Grip) or more internally rotated (Inverted V) position, which is why most students, especially as beginners / intermediate practitioners, tend towards the Inverted V in both single and double KB movements. HOWEVER, if you've got ownership of the space, movement, and strength in your shoulders, scapulae, and spine, you might be able to maintain this tension in either position, in which case the Inverted V might be an option for your body. @watchnerd - you might be in this category!

4. THEN, keeping your arms in whichever position felt most stable, connected, and TIGHT (visualize a heavy KB at the end of your arm(s)), pull down into set-up position to check and see how it feels at the bottom.

*Geek out on external rotation: when the humerus externally rotates in the shoulder joint, the lat stretches (lats originate in multiple places along the spine, rib cage, and thoracolumbar fascia and insert on the intertubercular groove of the humerus; think of up and underneath your armpit, towards the front), helping create more space in the hips (thoracolumbar fascia connection for the win!), and a deeper athletic hinge position.
For those of you that are SFG I, @Geoff Neupert has a simple, detailed explanation discussing these nuances beautifully at the end of the Clean section in your SFG I manual. I believe he also discusses in KB Strong and possibly KB Muscle; I'll have to go back and check.

@Halfakneecap - YES! Your biceps are getting a breather from needing to supinate the forearms every rep (go from thumbs down V to either Barbell/Neutral or Inverted V), which means happier elbows! And that leaves those elbow flexors (biceps!) more juice to help your lats with the mid-pull (row) of your clean, both supporting a shorter arc, closer to the body, and safer shoulder position for the long haul. AND that lat tension helps protect your spine and supports your scapula(e) doing its part as well! Awesome that you're feeling more efficiency in your movements!
 
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