Anyone who has ever spent time learning the kettlebell snatch has probably also spent a fair amount of time with a large goose egg of a bruise on the forearm. It is inevitable that until your technique is good you will whack yourself a number of times. It is for this early part of the learning curve that I see the most use for the HumanX Kettlebell Arm Guard.
While some might say that such a product shouldn’t be necessary if you’re performing a snatch properly, the fact is it takes practice to perfect your form, and people might be more inclined to put in that practice time if direct and immediate pain were not associated with it. I know as a trainer that the pain factor was an objection I heard frequently from kettlebell newbies. I have no doubt that at least a few of my clients would have jumped on these armguards had they or something like them been available.
The HumanX arm guards are five inches in length and consist of a series of plastic plates covered with terry cloth. The plates are flexible, so the guards conform to your size and shape, but they allow more protection than a simple terry cloth wristband. Yet since the arm guards are terry cloth, you can also wipe your sweaty face on them.
The HumanX packaging also asserts these arm guards are useful for protection from “rope burns and plyo box bashing.” I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who hurt him- or herself in such a way, and I’m not sure I can even picture such a scenario, so I can’t speak to the usefulness of the arm guards in that manner. That being said, I do think the guards could have some application for odd lifts or strongman-type training, given the abnormal shapes and surfaces you may encounter there.
I used the arm guards while doing a kettlebell snatch workout and was impressed with the cushioning ability. I even tried to get really sloppy and instead of the usual smack into my bones, all I felt was a little poof. I had my husband try them as well, who was using a much larger kettlebell and he had the same experience. These arm guards really do take the pain out of the bad snatch experience.
The arm guards are one size fits all, easily slide on and off, and come in pink, purple, teal, and black. As they do absorb sweat, it is nice that they can be washed. HumanX recommends hand washing them in cold water and laying them flat to dry. Personally I do wish they came in multiple sizes as these feel rather large on me and cover most of my forearm. (I mean, seriously, I don’t get that crazy with the kettlebell, even on a bad day.)
As I said, these guards won’t be a necessity for everybody and they may only be a temporary necessity even for those who purchase them. But I see how they could be very helpful in helping people overcome the resistance to practicing kettlebell snatches and getting past that painful point in the technique-learning process.
HumanX Kettlebell Arm Guards are available for $20.36/pair at Amazon.com.