How To Fix „Bruised Forearms“ From Kettlebell Cleans – (INSTANTLY!)

Written by Gregory Dzemaili

16. June 2022

We call them rainbow colors around here. 

They take on beautiful shades, shapes, sizes – and they’re necessary – when you’re starting out! Because your soft tissues have to adapt – and this might be a little uncomfortable at first.

Yet, just like my Sensei Steve Cotter said: “inconveniences force us to grow”.

However, if you have been cleaning for a longer time – imporved technique should have fix the crashing on the kettlebell on your forearms- by now. 

If it didn’t , this is the perfect post for you!

Before I present to you the solution, I need to show you the cause. 

In 99% of cases, your flaw in the Swing is the problem that seeps into your Clean.  

It’s the fact that you haven’t learned yet how to relax your arms. 

This leads to another problem – unrelaxed arms mean, that you don’t generate enough drive from your hips. 

We human beings are handsy creatures. 

So instead of moving and pushing the kettlebell with our hips in the Swing – we use our arms exclusively.

You might have already felt this by feeling a pump or worse – a cramp in your forearms.

And the next day, you felt muscle soreness right in that spot. 

That’s a tell tale sign of the problem.

Ripping It & Gripping It

We „rip it and grip it“ – the logical conclusion is that if we do this in the Swing, we also do in the Clean.

Because the Clean is nothing less than a logical progression from the Swing.

Just like the Snatch is the logical progression from the Clean. 

So step one is the fix your Swing – by learning how to relax your arms. 

Your hands are the hooks and your arms act as a pendulum.

So instead of gripping your kettlebell with your palm – like you would a barbell for a deadlift.

You grab the lower part of the arch of the handle – with only your fingers. 

We call this the „Finger Grip“

Your palm should not make contact with the handle. 

It will if weights get heavier – which may cause problems for your palm skin – but that’s another topic for another video.

So now, try a few Swings with the Finger Grip and see how it felt.

If you feel like your arms are a bit more relaxed, you’re off to a great start!

Now let’s check out the crucial part in the Clean. 

There is a phase that we call „Acceleration Pull“.

This is where we pull the kettlebell out of its horizontal plane into the vertical plan. 

It’s crucial that you keep your arms close to your body. 

If you’re swinging the kettlebell too far away from you, the increased size of the arch will increase the velocity of the kettlebell.

The bigger the arch, the harder it will crash. 

There is still an arch though. 

If you try to zip it vertically, you don’t get that „flowy“ feeling. 

Hand Insertion

Now here comes the secret that you have to learn, to stop bruising your forearms.

Remember the finger grip? 

This is where the kettlebell should be in. 

Now once the acceleration pull is complete, you switch from the finger grip, into a so called hook grip. 

The hook grip connects your first webspace to the upper part of the arch of the handle – and your forearm bone to the lower part of the arch of the handle. 

You essentially spear the kettlebell. 

Now here’s the moment where you have to brace your arm muscles to catch the bell. 

This serves to decrease the velocity from the arch. 

Then you pull your arm close to your body and try to place your elbow on the iliac crest of your hip. 

That’s that bony structure you can feel in your pelvis. 

This scenario is like parking your car.

You have to park the car, stop the tires from rolling – before you turn off the engine. 

A powerful drill is the Assisted Clean. 

You use your free hand to catch the bell, allowing your leading hand to perfect the hand insertion. 

This drill slows down time – which is a great way to learn the movement. 

Here’s a bonus tip when you drop the kettlebell. 

Lean back a little bit, turn your palm towards you, create a forearm’s length distance to your hip, catch the bell in the finger grip – and go into the back swing. 

Perfecting the drop will teach you how to use your hips – and don’t burn out your arms or have the kettlebell rip your shoulder out of its socket. 

It takes time to practice and perfect this lift – so be patient. 

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