Wrist Guards for Kettlebell Training?

Kettlebells and Wrist wraps
Woman wearing wrist protection performing Snatch at Kettlebell competition. Solomon Macys

“It is better to look good than to feel good “

-Fernando Lamas from Saturday Night Live 

Joking aside, I want to remind you that exercise is not a fashion statement and the gym or courage corner where you do your kettlebell training is not a runway. In training, it's probably better to feel good than to look good. After all, appearance is merely reflection of one’s self-image. 

You may have a great sense of style and that is marvelous.

Just remember the objective of kettlebell training is to get stronger, fitter and to feel better, in addition to look better. 

With the performance objectives always in mind, it’s worth considering if wrist guards or wrist bands are needed when training with kettlebells.

With consistent practice, your technique will become more polished and the kettlebells will float into position on your arm when inserting the hand during Clean or Snatch. You may prefer to not wear any wrist wraps or guards at all. But it's an option for tender arms. You will eventually get tougher, developing a “thick-skin” in the forearms. However, there is no sense giving yourself bruises if they can be avoided. 

Certain exercises like the Clean and Snatch with one or two kettlebells have a steeper learning curve because they are more technical. It takes lots of practice before the hand can insert smoothly into the handle and the correct position on your forearm.


There may be occasions when you execute bad reps and the kettlebell crashes onto your forearm. This is part of the learning process. Like all things in life, success will be preceded by multiple failures. As long as you do not make the mistakes of doing too much too soon, or too heavy, you can recover from the imperfect reps long enough to develop the skill needed for perfect, smooth reps.

Time and practice will develop more muscular forearms and a more experienced kettlebell lifter may not feel any discomfort at all. However, before the experienced kettlebell lifter discovers the perfect reps, she will have to learn from the imperfect ones.

For delicate or otherwise painful forearms when practicing kettlebell Clean or other exercises, some lifters prefer to wear some wrist wraps or wrist bands, for an added layer of protection against the steel. 

If you opt to use wrist bands or wrist wraps during kettlebell training, be sure not to get a pair that is too thick. A very thick pair of wraps will interfere with hand insertion by getting caught against the inside of the handle. Don’t let your wrist wraps negatively impact your practice. Select a pair of bands or wraps that are comfortable and offer some added protection to the skin, but are still thin enough to be able to adequately insert your hand(s) fully into the handle(s).

In place of a wrist band or wrist wrap, some lifters will use a simple Ace bandage that can be found in any pharmacy.

You can buy one long Ace bandage and cut it into two halves of equal length, one for each wrist. Wrap one bandage around each wrist to cover an area of about 6 inches from the base of the palm, then tuck the loose end into the bandage. You’re ready to attack the kettlebell Clean and Snatch without fear of banging your wrists. Just remember to keep polishing and improving your technique so that you can eventually move the hand easily into the handle with or without the extra padding.  

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