Wrist pain with competition kettlebells, but not with cast irons

Herp Derp

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
I first started training with 35lbs cast iron kettlebells and have no wrist pain or bruises (other than the first week or so trying to refine the rack position). When it came time to get new kettlebells I decided to go with competition style (KBUSA pro elites) and I noticed that the rack position for them hurts the crap out of the back of my wrist right where it rests. This is not true of the cast iron bells.

Now I know there are hundreds of resources and videos on the proper rack position as well as info on how cleans if flipping the kettlebell over directly can causes bruises. However this hurts just to rack, not even performing a clean.

I noticed that with competition bells, the hand can be inserted very deeply often with the opposite horn contacting the distal ulna, where as with the case iron bells the handle is still across the palm at a 45 degree angle, but the opposite horn doesn't normally make contact with the wrist. When forcing myself into a deeply inserted position "properly" on the comp bell, it seems to rub over the the distal radius tendon where extensor pollicis brevis and longus travels. I currently have two large bumps as a result on the radial side.
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Herp Derp
I have the same kettlebells, but have not experienced this problem.

I tried just now and I can reproduce the position you describe, with the opposite horn contacting my forearm below the wrist, but only with the KB lying on its side on the ground and taking a very extreme angle, gripping way down on the horn instead of the corner of the handle. By the way, I could do the same with my cast iron KBs of various sizes too.

In use, I have never had this happen with either style of KB, and couldn't even make it happen purposely while doing some cleans and snatches.

Without seeing you, I infer that the problem is more likely the way you are gripping the bell, and not the bell itself. There are some KBs that just sit in a bad place on some people (for instance, some smaller cast iron KBs are hard for me to use for arm bars for this reason), but I have never seen the problem of the opposite horn hitting the forearm.
 

taikei

Triple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
I can't speak for competition bell because currently I don't have one.
But with cast iron over 36kg, because of the diameter getting large, this might likely to happen. So to analyze my behavior:
1) I don't deeply insert the handle (handle diagonally crossing palm from thumb to pinky side wrist), instead handle crosses the palm horizontally when bell gets heavy. Suppose I do a 44kg getup, inserting handle deep into palm would be a nightmare.
2) If I rack a huge bell, I allocate the weight toward my deltoid to keep less burden towards forearm. I hear that some GS guys with chubby stomach stab their elbow to stomach to stabilize the rack position for time competition. There are ways to ease your forearm.
3) For hard style kettlebell, your forearm during rack position needs to be vertical as possible. Not that it needs to be, you can angulate if needed but for pressing it's advantageous to be vertical. If you can "lose" the arm wrestling match with the kettlebell until forearm gets vertical, is the forearm pain still there? If you "win" this match the kettlebell will likely to punish you by compressing your forearm.

Clean and rack require technique and bunch of practices.
 

Herp Derp

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
@Herp Derp
I have the same kettlebells, but have not experienced this problem.

I tried just now and I can reproduce the position you describe, with the opposite horn contacting my forearm below the wrist, but only with the KB lying on its side on the ground and taking a very extreme angle, gripping way down on the horn instead of the corner of the handle.
It looks like this


Which I see a lot of competition kettlebellers do. I have yet to see anyone do that with a cast iron, at least not very often.

As oppose to this where there is just minor space away from the bottom horn and the wrist.

 
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Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Herp Derp
I understood what you meant from your description. I just haven't encountered the problem, and I can't even purposely get the bottom horn to hit my forearm with the KB in the rack. Notice that in the top photo, he is not actually holding the KB in the rack position.

Maybe someone more experienced and knowledgeable about GS technique can chime in about whether this is a common problem in that sport.

In any case, it would seem wise to find a technique that is comfortable for you.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I first started training with 35lbs cast iron kettlebells and have no wrist pain or bruises (other than the first week or so trying to refine the rack position). When it came time to get new kettlebells I decided to go with competition style (KBUSA pro elites) and I noticed that the rack position for them hurts the crap out of the back of my wrist right where it rests. This is not true of the cast iron bells.
Buy what you know works for you. Return or sell the others.

-S-
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
Personally I prefer fitness hard style KBs for general KB work. I do find them more comfortable.

That said, I get a fairly deep hold on my one Comp 28 kg bell and have never had it it grind the ulna.
 
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