Get a Grip!


I read a post this week about kettlebell grip, and I came away convinced that this is the simplest and most urgent subject for any lifter – without optimum grip we cannot hope to lift successfully – and keep on lifting. Our callouses (which should in fact help us to lift longer) will rip, our overhead fixation will suffer if the hand isn’t firmly settled in the handle of the bell. and we will be unable to get into a really solid rack hold.

What surprised me about the post was the assertion that there are three grips. In my view, there are just two: hook grip, and the wrist threaded through the handle and comfortably settled so there is no gap between forearm and bell. In this second position we can achieve rack hold and overhead fixation. If we press from rack position, the hand does not need to move within the bell.

I had two new lifters start training with me a few weeks back, and it was interesting to see how each tackled the hook grip. One client was very nervous, and felt she couldn’t release her vice-like grip on the handle or else she would certainly drop the bell. The other client was at ease straight away with a loose grip, relaxed hands, and loved performing a hand to hand swing in the first session. I can see now the value of spending more time on this first movement with nervous clients – ┬áthe grip is going to be key to everything else.

In a class setting it is difficult to observe every movement and assess hip motion, but grip at least is something I can watch across the group, and step in tactfully and help clients to adjust their hand placement where necessary, knowing that this will make an immediate difference to their technique. It really can be that simple.


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