Kettlebells Before Christmas. No Slack For The Holidays.

I took a few days off since the IGX Challenge, and have been dealing with some personal issues as well, so 9 days had gone by since I picked up a kettlebell. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but there it is.

I’m determined to continue to train at least twice a week before the end of the year. No breaks for Christmas (Except on Christmas day. I’m not that hardcore and my family would kill me besides.)

On the 15th, Val joined me for a Kettlebell Fitness workout, concentrating on the clean, the press, and the half-snatch.  She started out with the 12 kg for the cleans and transitioned to the 8 kg for the remaining exercises.  We worked 1:00 sets with 1:45 rest periods.  She finished with 15 rep sets for the cleans, and 13 rep sets for the press and the half-snatch.

My exercises were the double jerk (with 16 kgs), the long cycle clean and jerk (with a 20 kg), and double cleans (with 24 kg bells).  Again, 1:00 sets with 1:45 rest periods.

The numbers weren’t pretty but looked like this:

Double Jerk:  11, 7, 11, 9, 10, 10

LCCJ: R-8, 9, 7; L-8, 7, 8

Double Cleans: 8, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10

I took a day of rest and then on the 17th did the following with a single 20 kg kettlebell:

Snatch: 2:00 sets, 2:00 rests L-28, 25, 22; R-26, 27, 28

Clean and Press:  1:00 sets, 1:00 rests L-10, 10, 10; R-10, 10, 10

Push Press:  1:00 sets, 1:00 rests L-14, 11, 12; R-12, 10, 12

I have to say that my weak spot right now is my forearms.  After I finished my snatch sets, my forearms were roasted and really put a dent on my ability to hold the bells through the remainder of the workout.  The same was true for the jerks on Monday. 

Has anyone else had this issue?  I’m wondering if my hands aren’t in the right position in my lockout or something.  I’d like to hear from other coaches or gireviks who’ve run into this and who might have suggestions to fix it.  I contemplated direct forearm work but I’m worried that it will create too much muscular fatigue and affect my kettlebell training days.

As an aside, I just ordered a 20 kg AKC Pro-Grade kettlebell and plan to use that and the Perform Better Elite 20 kg kettlebell for some of my double kettlebell work in the coming year.  My PB bell has been suffering numerous small dings and tiny chips which have exposed the material under the silver paint.  It’s really only an aesthetics issue and doesn’t affect the performance of the bell.  But nevertheless, I will continue to let you know how each bell fares as I progress through my training.


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4 Responses to Kettlebells Before Christmas. No Slack For The Holidays.

  1. Hey Jim,

    Are you allowing your wrist to break backward at the top of the snatch? I stress to people I teach that the top of the snatch should look no different than the top of a jerk or press. Handle should be angled down across the hand and the wrist bent backward to release the forearm muscles.

    I wouldn’t suggest grip work just yet. Sounds like they are already fatigued and any more work might make it worse.

    I’ll be training through the holidays as well. Keep it up!!

    And Merry Christmas!!

  2. Earlier today, I skimmed Jared Savik’s article on GS assistance exercises. One of them I recognized was the roller with weights to strengthen the forearms. Not sure if I’m ready to do those yet.

    I just finished 2 sets of 1min on/1 min rest of cleans, half-snatch and push presses. My forearms are still tight after 4 hours.

  3. OK. Howie, I’m not sure what my wrists are doing. I’m going to have my wife video me snatching and see what I’m doing right/wrong.

    I have that same article Mark. I actually made up a wrist roller with some pvc pipe a few years ago, and slipped it over one of my standard size bars, which I put in my squat rack set at chest height. It does a great job at torching your forearms without fatiguing your shoulders at the same time.

    I’ve read that smaller muscles like those in the forearms shouldn’t be trained as often as larger muscles, so I figured that the amount of work they were getting from the kettlebell work is probably sufficient.

    Either that or hit it hard and invest in a 2 gallon jar of Tiger Balm!

    Thanks guys.

  4. Hey Jim,

    It was about one year ago that I had developed some really bad forearm pain that limited much of my kb work. I tried the wrist roller Mark mentioned, as well as other forearm work, like “hammer” rotations and rubber band forearm extensor work. Nothing helped. What I learned was that I was snatching too heavy (snatching with 24kg and 32kg in pursuit of RKC cert) and because I was training in my house I was decelerating the bell on the downswing so as not to lose control of it. This caused the extreme overworking of my forearm muscles. Once I attended the AKC Fitness Cert, I stepped back and started retraining with the 12kg on all my lifts, then to 16kg, (then hurt my back) and now still working with 16kg and dabbling with the 20kg (swings and push presses).

    Although I might not be able to snatch the 32kg today, I feel I am in much better shape and health. Hope this helps.

    Looking forward to the video!

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