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Kettlebell Are kettlebell snatches dangerous for the wrist and forearm bones?

joemac

Level 2 Valued Member
Hi.

My long run goal is to achieve the SFG1 kettlebell certification. I am now practicing the snatch movement, which is the most difficult.

I can do the basic movement, but the kettlebell hits my wrist/forearm each time, so I am learning now to perfect the movement.

I understand that the movement is a subtle one such that your hand stabs the sky above and slides the kettlebell into place along your wrist and forearm just as your hand hits the 12 oclock position, instead of banging the wrist and forearm.

I have seen different youtube videos arguing for different way of learning it. My StrongFirst coach has me practicing it by trying the stabbing motion with a 10KG bell at the 9-oclock, 10, 11, and 12 positions, one after the other, and then repeated in 3 sets in a row. At 12-oclock he says the bell was correctly sliding along my wrist/forearm instead of banging them, and that I should continue to practice the movement to perfection without even thinking of raising the weight. I'm fine with that.

But I am very nervous. Assuming I will one day complete the SFG1 certification with 100 snatches at 24KG in 5 minutes, that will require thousands of snatches before then. And that will imply thousands of continued snatches in the years afterward.

How do people manage to make it through years of snatches without eventual bone degeneration or arthritis in the wrist/forearms, which sounds horrible? It was explained to me that in practice if I continue with snatches that I may experience some loss of nerve feeling and/or to develop calluses in the wrists/forearm. I'm find with THAT, but not to bone degeneration or arthritis.

I can tell you right now I feel some "tension" or "stiffness" in my wrist/forearm after practicing snatches, even after 24/48 hours. But its not pain and I can't tell if its "good" or "bad" feeling. It could be a portent of dangerous things to come, or just a new feeling coming from performing a new physical movement.

I recall in an interview with Joe Rogan, Steve Maxwell mentioned that he no longer does kettlebell snatches because he saw saw it break so many arms. But other experts seem fine with it.

What are your thoughts? Thank you.

Ilya
 
How do people manage to make it through years of snatches without eventual bone degeneration or arthritis in the wrist/forearms, which sounds horrible?
What are your thoughts? Thank you.
I had some forearm contacts while learning the movement.
after getting the timing down even the 32kg bell lilts onto the forearm like a curious butterfly.
I wear sock sleeves to mitigate calluses.

I've snatched up to 100 reps a day most days a week for months at a time.
 
I’m relatively inexperienced with snatching but I never bang my wrist. High reps might cause fatigue, but I stop before then
 
How is your clean technique, do you smash your wrist in the clean as well?
Bad, I can't do it without banging my forearm either. The kettlebell just flies onto my arm. The clean and snatch are my trouble spots in that sense.

I am also practicing the clean as of this week. When performing kettelbell presses, my trainer instructed me to practice the clean but with two-handed wrists on the kettelebell. The idea is that in time this will automatically get me clean correct with two hands and then eventually automatically correct and with one hand.

I had some forearm contacts while learning the movement.
after getting the timing down even the 32kg bell lilts onto the forearm like a curious butterfly.
I wear sock sleeves to mitigate calluses.
This is a good idea. Are sock sleeves fine, or should I buy some special sleeves?
 
I have seen different youtube videos arguing for different way of learning it.
There's loads of StrongFirst content available.
I'd recommend Geoff Neupert's Big Six as a starter. He outlines four methods of snatching. One approach will surely resonate.
 
Hi;
SF standards for KB snatch is towards the end of the video. Actually, not banging the KBs to your forearms is a requirement.

The so called “cheat clean” is a move I can’t get the feeling of, and I bang the kb directly to my arm funny enough, I somehow learned very quickly how a clean should feel, so I can do a normal clean without banging my forearms. Tough I don’t practice cleans yet, every now and then, I “play” w my kbs …

We might all have our blind spots. For me, after one arm swings, the parking of the bell is a challenge.

KB cleans, KB snatches are loved by so many great coaches that I would be hard pressed to see them as inherently dangerous.

May I ask how is your swing? How is your TGU? At what stage/strength you are with those moves?

 
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I recall in an interview with Joe Rogan, Steve Maxwell mentioned that he no longer does kettlebell snatches because he saw saw it break so many arms. But other experts seem fine with it.
I've never heard of a broken arm from kettlebell snatches.

Kettlebell snatches can be irritating to hands and wrists, particularly if technique is off or finesse is missing, but I wouldn't say harmful even then. You would stop raking leaves before your hands bleed, right? Or you would make some sort of adjustment so you could continue. Just do the same with kettlebell snatches - stop or make an adjustment if you can, if/when you have something that gets your attention.

I've done many thousands of kettlebell snatches from 10 kg all the way up to 32 kg and I'd say my arms and hands are better off for it, if anything.
 
Bad, I can't do it without banging my forearm either. The kettlebell just flies onto my arm. The clean and snatch are my trouble spots in that sense.

I am also practicing the clean as of this week. When performing kettelbell presses, my trainer instructed me to practice the clean but with two-handed wrists on the kettelebell. The idea is that in time this will automatically get me clean correct with two hands and then eventually automatically correct and with one hand.


This is a good idea. Are sock sleeves fine, or should I buy some special sleeves?
Keep searching here for tips for learning the clean, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be fine. It will work for snatches as well. Many different cues, one will work for you. Try a few and see.
 
Done properly, they are safe..

Perhaps it would be best if you can upload a vid of your snatches and cleans so we can give you some feedback??
Perhaps you can upload a video of yours :) you make heavy cleans look like butterflies :) Just joking but seriously I looked for your video in the forum to repost but could not find it so I posted the SF standard video.
 
How do people manage to make it through years of snatches without eventual bone degeneration or arthritis in the wrist/forearms, which sounds horrible?

A tourist visting New York City has gotten tickets to a concert at the world's most famous classical concert venue, Carnegie Hall. But he has gotten lost while walking on his way there, and he hopes that the person he sees coming towards him, who is carrying a violin case, will know Carnegie Hall and be able to direct him.

Tourist: "Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?"

The violinist scratches his chin for a moment, then says ...

Violinist: "Practice, practice, practice."

And that is also the answer to your question. We have certified thousands of instructors and have many more people who practice the kettlebell snatch as we teach it. You are the first person I have ever heard voice this particular concern, and what you attribute to Steve Maxwell about broken arms is just plain nonsense. If we gave you a barbell with 300 lbs on it and told you to squat with it, bad things would like happen unless you were experienced with the lift, and so it goes with the kettlebell snatch.

Work with your StrongFirst Certified Instructor - trust them, and if you don't trust them, go find a different one. If you don't feel ready to learn the kettlebell snatch, then stop training it until you feel ready. If the SFG is your long-term goal, don't be in a hurry, attempt it when you're ready, and don't force yourself to get ready by a particular date.

-S-
 
Perhaps you can upload a video of yours :) you make heavy cleans look like butterflies :) Just joking but seriously I looked for your video in the forum to repost but could not find it so I posted the SF standard video.
Appreciate the kind words .

Which video are you referring to?
 
I'm *highly* skeptical of this broken arm claim.
Yeah, same.

To the OP, others have already said so, but a video of your cleans and snatches w. a lighter weight and from a front and side angle would probably be more than enough for people to give you some pointers - the impact should be negligible unless you have bad technique and you're going too heavy.
 
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