There are still some people out there that will call a kettlebell a “kettleball” (which is wrong), however, there is a meaning to the word kettleball, and it involves how you grip the weight.
Just in case there is still any confusion, this implement is called a “Kettlebell,” not a “KettleBall” or any variation of that incorrect name. Think of it this way: would you call a “Dumbbell” a “Dumb-Ball?” How about a “Barbell” a “Bar-Ball” at any point? No! End of story. Kettlebell, that’s it.
There is a meaning to “kettleball” that relates to the use of the kettlebell. There are two primary components of a kettlebell, the handle and the “ball” of the kettlebell (the part that looks like a cannon ball). Pretty simple.
This versatile tool can be gripped in a variety of ways, one of which is called the “Palm Grip” or what we’ll call the “Kettleball Grip.” The Palm Grip is a one or two hand method of gripping a kettlebell by the “ball of the bell.” There are several reasons why you would use this grip, and here I’ll discuss a few.
Increased Range of Motion
Cast iron kettlebells get taller as they get heavier. If you want to do some double keavy kettlebell deadlifts, this means that your range of motion might be limited if you’re simply gripping the handle. If you want to increase your range of motion, wrap your hands around the ball of the kettlebell (just watch your fingers when you put it down).
Enhanced Concentration on Balance
The kettlebell palm grip (aka kettleball grip) can be used for a variety of lifts like Strict Presses, Lunges, and Front Squats. While each of these exercises usually utilizes the standard kettlebell rack position, holding the kettlebell in the palm of your hand (again by the ball of the kettlebell) will reinforce your form. Any deviance from a completely vertical forearm position will make the kettlebell fall. Be sure to try this on a piece of ground where you can safely drop the kettlebell! No tile or wood floors please! Try sand, grass, or dirt instead.
Improved Crush Grip Strength Work
The kettlebell 2-hand palm grip, also called the crush grip, involves holding the kettlebell by the ball in between both hands. To keep it in place you’ll be required to crush the kettlebell in between your hands which requires additional chest and shoulder strength. Simply hold it in this position or make it more challenging by walking, squatting, or lunging at the same time.
Proper kettlebell form requires that you “stack” your joints on top of each other. For a kettlebell press, this means that your wrist is stacked on your elbow which is in turn stacked on your shoulder joint. Ideally, a properly stacked overhead press will be evidenced by a completely vertical arm with your shoulder packed. The palm grip (or kettleball grip) reinforces this position by clearly showing you whether you are deviating from the vertical position. If you are not vertical, the kettlebell will fall (again, do this in an area where you can safely drop the weight).
Example Kettlebell Palm Grip Workout
This kettlebell workout utilizes the palm grip in a number of different ways. If you are going to attempt it and haven’t master the art of kettlebell catching, please exercise extreme caution. Start with a light weight, try it in an area where you can safely drop the kettlebell, and be prepared to get out of the way if you miss a catch or if the kettlebell starts to fall in any way.