So you’ve decided to start incorporating Girevoy Sport Style training into your CrossFit Strength and Conditioning style Training. Well if you are new to an I/C style approach to training or to reading Old Country Strong you may have missed a previous writeup I did called
“In Russia practice Mean Reps…”
This is so true with the path you’re preparing to tread down with your Kettle training. Your going to be doing lots, and lots and LOTS of reps. And when you’re hitting your numbers and and times for your sets something else is happening. Your getting to know the Iron (well steel if you have comp Bells). I’m not talking about getting to know it in a “find yourself on the platform” kinda way. No, this is a metaphor for killing the Bear right now.
I mean your gonna get to know the Iron in a, “Hey Forest how bout we put our backs together, that way we can sleep sitting up and we don’t have to have our heads in the mud,” kinda way. That Bells gonna become your best friend. You may even get comfortable enough with it that you go on long walks on the beach together or maybe even see a movie together. You and that Bell are gonna share some real quality time together whether you like it or not.
What I’m getting at here is that for three 3 weeks, 3 times a week you’re gonna have long session with a Iron (or steel) ball resting against your forearm. No it’s not all that comfortable. Yes you will get used to it and no even when your used to it it won’t always feel good. This is just one of those facts of life. When you decided to train in a hard steel (or Iron, play on words there) discipline, things will not always be easy. They won’t be comfortable.
Theres only so much “suck it up” talks you can give before you realize that discomfort can sometimes (more then just sometimes really) really mess with people training. And honestly in some cases and it can be more then just simple discomfort. Sometimes it can lead to injuries. So what are some things you can get to have better success inside a GS Style training Cycle? Well I’ll break it down for you along with a few other items you should drop in your bag if you’re serious about getting the most out of your Kettle training phases.
So lets start with the real gritty part of this phase. Wrist support and protection.
Lets line up the usual suspects:
Lets take our picture to the right, these are lifting wrist wraps. They are great for lifting weights, I actually have this exact pair and I love them. I wear them all the time for lifting. Lifting BARBELLS that is, this is when you need to come into your own as a weight lifter and realize that there are multiple ways to lift things in this world and all sorts of appropriate gear for lifting those things. So sorry to say you really shouldn’t be wearing bulky strap when your dealing with kettles. If you are lifter you may understand this a bit more in Bar terms. When moving a barbell through space be it a deadlift, squat or clean. Allowing the bar path to change be it allowing your chest to dip forward in a squat or allowing the bar to travel out away from you during a pull can dramatically change the outcome of said lift.
Well now that you’re undertaking some training dealing with the world of endurance lifting, in the grand scheme of things the weights are light, you could be causing a butterfly effect with those bulky straps. If your bell placement or hand insertion is being thrown off by overly thick padding you could be placing repetitive weight and stress on a bad place on your arm. Now because you have the protection of the padding on your arm you may not even be noticing this, but aside from weight displacement on your arm what you are also doing is placing the Bell in position that is not setting you up for success in terms of endurance of grip. I’ll save the in depth analysis of this all for you for another day. But when it comes to straps, sorry boys and girls grow up and lose the wrist casts.
So what do you do? Here is a quick break down of three different options you have, lets start on the higher end protection.
This is along the lines of placing a tortoise shell on your arm. These are purchased from the World KettleBell Club, well the originals are on there, other brands are available online I’ve seen now as well. But since the first ones I saw were WKC we’ll just stick with those today. I’ve seen two variations on the kettleguard from WKC and I’d recommend both. One is a sweat band with multiple piece of plastic insert into it so the create a kind of all encompassing wrist guard. The newer versions I’ve seen are a sweat band with just one larger piece of plastic inside that covers just a portion of the forearm.
Like I said they’re both good but you have to order them if you want them, so don’t plan on walking into a store and asking for them. I would place this on the higher ends of protection as far as it goes with kettling. Roo is actually sporting a pair of these lately for some extra protection as her arm heals up after her world record set a few months back in the One Hour Kettlebell Jerks. She thinks they’re awesome as do a number of athletes I coach. For KettleGuard pricing following this link. (Click Here)
Ever since StrengthWraps first put this version of cloth wrist wraps out they’ve show up everywhere. You can get them in custom colors or designs from a number of different brands. Hell we even have custom I/C logo cloth wraps for sale that a majority of our athletes wear. I personally like to wear mine because I work with a 32kg Bell for my Sport snatch sets and since I’m not a full time kettle lifter it is nice to have a little protection when I’ve been off the bells for a few weeks.
I’d label this in the minimal protection category. They give you some relief from the Bells but they don’t give you enough to reinforce bad habits. Habits like flip the bell over so it crushes your wrist or bad hand insertion into the window of the bell (the handle opening) because you have no fear of a little bite because of heavier protections available. But if you don’t feel like buying a pair of wraps (because for the most part you’d want a rad pair which of course you would have to order) or tracking a pair down theres always another minimal protection option. I’ve seen Russian lifter have some kinda weird gauze stuff wrapped around their arms. It looks badass but I have no idea what it is and have never attempted to actually find out but if you can feel free to wrap your forearms with it.
This is what Roo use to solely use. Just tape wrap once or twice around her wrist. I like to call this it “keeping it gangster.” Roo switched to cloth wraps for her Marathon set but thought that they gave her a false sense of security and lead to some issues. But this is when one person was training to break a world record so it doesn’t apply to everyone. I still wear my cloth wraps, Roo said she will be switching back to her tape after her forearms are back to normals after wearing her kettleguards for protection. Roo wore tape when she got her Master of Sport in 2011 but as Roo constantly proves she’s a lot more badass then most everyone else on the planet so it’s up to you on what you’ll be wearing to protect your wrists. Sometimes it seems less can be more… like maybe just manning up and using the top end of a sock?
Speaking of less for more the next article will talk about conditioning gloves and hand protection for those that refuse to take care of callused before its to late.
Posted by: Z