Get a Grip: Master the Art of Kettlebell Lifting with These Tips and Tricks and Improve Your Technique!

How To Properly Grip Kettlebells

Are you new to kettlebell training and struggling to maintain a proper grip? Or maybe you’re a seasoned kettlebell enthusiast looking to improve your grip strength and technique? Whatever your level of experience, understanding how to properly grip a kettlebell is essential for maximizing your workout and avoiding injury.


A proper grip allows you to maintain control and stability during kettlebell exercises, ensuring that the weight is evenly distributed and reducing the risk of dropping the kettlebell. Additionally, a strong grip can increase your overall strength and power, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform more challenging exercises. Bonus points for avoiding bruises due to a bad snatch or clean grip.


In this article, we will explore the importance of a proper grip, various grips, basic and advanced techniques for gripping a kettlebell, tips for improving your grip strength, and common grip mistakes to avoid.

Understanding the Importance of a Proper Grip

You gotta understand the importance of a proper grip when it comes to kettlebell training, or you’ll be in for a painful and ineffective workout. A proper grip ensures that the kettlebell stays in your hand throughout the entire exercise, preventing any accidents or injuries.


Additionally, a good grip also allows you to control the kettlebell better, leading to a more efficient and effective workout. Make sure to grip the handle tightly, but not so tight that your hand starts to cramp up. Your thumb should be positioned slightly away from your fingers, allowing for a secure hold on the kettlebell. Another key factor in achieving a proper grip is maintaining a neutral wrist position. A strong wrist is a straight wrist. The bell should always bend to your will; you should never “bend” to the bell.


This also means that your wrist should be in a straight line with your forearm, rather than angled up or down. A neutral wrist position helps distribute the weight of the kettlebell evenly throughout your hand, preventing any unnecessary strain on your wrist and minimizing the risk of injury.


With a solid grip and neutral wrist position, you’ll be able to perform kettlebell exercises with confidence and ease.

Basic Techniques for Gripping a Kettlebell for the Swing

First, it’s important to get comfortable holding the kettlebell in your hand before starting any exercises. To grip a kettlebell properly, start by placing your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bending your knees.


Next, hinge at your hips and reach down to pick up the kettlebell with one hand. Make sure to keep your back straight and your core engaged while lifting the weight. From here, place your grip palm down with the elbow of the bell in the webbing between your index finger and thumb. This is considered the inside elbow and keeps the weight balanced as you perform a single handed swing. 


Another variation is the Double Top Grip for the two handed swing. The body set up is the same, but now we adjust our hands evenly with index fingers and thumbs together in the middle of the handle.


Once you have a comfortable grip on the kettlebell, focus on keeping your wrist straight and your fingers wrapped tightly around the handle. Avoid letting the weight of the kettlebell rest on your wrist or fingers, as this can cause discomfort or even injury. Instead, use your grip strength to hold the weight securely in your hand.

Basic Technique for the Rack and Overhead Work

To achieve a proper grip for overhead work, start by placing your hand through the handle of the kettlebell so that your palm is facing up. Your hand should be positioned so that the webbing between your index and thumb is touching the horn of the bell. Once you have this position, wrap your fingers around the bell and bite down with your grip.


Basic Technique for Goblet Exercises

For the Goblet squat/hold, both hands grip on the horns of the bell. This can vary depending on the size of the bell and the size of the hands. For smaller bells, I usually let my pinkies relax around the bell if I cannot get all four fingers on the horn.

Advanced Grip Variations

One variation for the Swings, Farmer Carry, Row, etc. is the hook grip, or monkey paw, where the thumb is beside the index finger, increasing the grip strength by opening the lock between the thumb and index. 


While most grips focus on the action of the closed fist, the Atlas Hold or Carry focuses the weight on the palm of the hand with open fingers. For this hold, we palm the kettlebell either in the center of the palm or towards the distal portion of the fingers like the shot put in Track and Field.

Tips for Improving Your Grip Strength

To enhance your kettlebell performance, it’s crucial to develop stronger and more enduring hand and forearm muscles. This can be achieved with these tips for improving grip strength.


Firstly, incorporate grip-strengthening exercises into your routine, such as farmers walks, dead hangs, and plate pinches. These exercises target the muscles in your hands and forearms, helping to improve your grip strength over time.


Secondly, try using grip-strengthening tools such as grip balls or grip trainers to work on your grip strength. These tools can help you to build up your grip strength gradually, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform more advanced kettlebell exercises.


Lastly, make sure to give your muscles enough time to recover in between workouts. Overworking your grip muscles can lead to injury and hinder your progress.


By incorporating these tips into your training regimen, you can improve your grip strength and take your kettlebell performance to the next level.

Common Grip Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common mistakes in your grip can significantly enhance your kettlebell training experience and prevent injury. One of the most common mistakes is gripping the kettlebell too tightly. This not only causes unnecessary tension in your hand and wrist, but it can also tire out your grip more quickly. Instead, aim for a firm but relaxed grip on the handle.


Another mistake to avoid is gripping the kettlebell too far towards the outside end of the handle. This is the elbow closest to the pinkie. This can throw off your balance and make it harder to control the weight. Gripping towards the thumb side of the bell will also help distribute the weight more evenly across your hand.


A final mistake to watch out for is allowing your wrist to bend back too far during your movements. This can put a lot of strain on your wrist and lead to injury over time. Instead, keep your wrist in a neutral position throughout your exercises, with your hand in line with your forearm.


By avoiding these common grip mistakes, you can improve your technique and get the most out of your kettlebell workouts.


The first step of any kettlebell exercise is grabbing the bell. Congratulations! You now know how to do it properly. I hope you practice these tips and work towards getting those gorilla grips we all want. If you would like to learn more on this topic check out my book:  Simple to Savage Kettlebell For a personalized approach to grip work, shoot me a message and we can set you up with a fast and effective training program.

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