Remember this picture….
That was the massacre that were my hands when I was preparing for my RKC snatch test last summer.
A few torn callouses. Some torn blisters. A little bit of blood.
The unfortunate thing about high-rep kettlebell training is that your hands WILL take a beating. I don't care how "expert" you are or how perfect your technique is. When you get to the point when you're pushing and you feel good, you'll sacrifice a little pain in the hands to get your snatch numbers.
It's kind of similar to a runner's high….When you're at a point in your kettlebell training session where you're in a groove, you're dialed in with your technique, your heart and lungs feel like they can go forever and your muscles – despite the fact that you're on rep 94 – feel like they can do 100 reps more.
Why bother stopping just because you feel a callous starting to tear, right?
I've been there many a time, and thanks to the advice of many from the RKC world, I've gotten countless tips on how to keep my hands healthy so that it doesn't negatively affect my training – because having torn hands will usually mean lost training sessions for most.
I've seen RKC Tracy Reifkind's Sock Sleeve – where you cut the band of a crew sock to fit over your palm. This didn't work for me as the sleeve kept on slipping out of place but I know many that swear by it. So give it a shot.
Some people use chalk to limit the amount of moisture build-up and "stick" that the bell may have. The problem with chalk, however, is that with smooth kettlebell handles with glossy paint (like the ones they have at the gym I sometimes train at), sticking is inevitable.
If you are seriously considering doing high-rep snatch work, I suggest you look into getting Dragon Door Kettlebells because they have, by far, the best handles for high rep work that you can find.
And then there's the Blackburn Tape Pads (and I'm calling it that because I learned this trick from my buddy, RKC Ryan Blackburn, who was one of the RKC assistants on my team). I think this taping concept is similar to what you'll see on the hands of gymnasts who use the uneven bars, parallel bars and rings.
It involves you taping around your middle & ring finger and then creating long strip pads that extend to cover your palm (adhesive side down) to cover the most vulnerable area of your hand.
I've found these to be great because the bell slides nicely and doesn't "catch" at all.
Obviously that description didn't do the Blackburn Tape Pads any justice, so before my high-rep snatch workout – which I'm doing instead of stupid cardio – I filmed a quick video of how to make them below…