One of the great parts of working with kettlebells is the challenge that comes in holding them, particularly from the front rack position. The grip is not the chill position some guys make it out to be—done right, it’s a killer complement to your exercises that attacks the entire body.
“[The front rack] is a position of work and a position for which the user should and must constantly fight for tension,” says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. Samuel recently went over the most common problems that lead men to front rack like crap, along with Don Saladino, NASM, who uses kettlebells in his programs for celebrity clients like Ryan Reynolds and David Harbour.
First up, wrist position. Most of the time, guys let the kettlebell hyperextend the wrist, with the palm of the hand falling toward the forearm, Saladino says. This weakens the position while potentially aggravating the joint and contributing to damage over time.
The right way to hold your wrist is straight, and completely locked out. Think about keeping the opening of your fingers and the kettlebell handle stacked directly over your forearm. To maintain this position, try to crush the handle with your grip, tensing your forearms.
Next, focus on the elbow. Where is yours? Hopefully not flared out to the side. Keeping it tucked down by your ribs, though, will be more comfortable on your shoulder. That position will tense your lats for greater stability and overall strength, while also aligning the kettlebell, wrist, and elbow in the same plane. With the joints completely vertical, you’re in the most biomechanically advantageous position to perform strong overhead presses, according to Saladino.
“If you start implementing these techniques, you’re going to notice that your strength is going to get better, you’re going to burn a lot more body fat, and you’re just going to feel better,” he says.
Want to try out more exercises and workouts from Saladino? Check out his Men’s Health Superhero Shred program, which is designed with the same principles he uses to get his star clients in shape. You can also find Saladino’s program, alongside a ton of other fitness content, on our new All Out Studio streaming app.
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