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Avoid the kettlebell flop

Expert insight:

There are a couple main factors that determine how the bell lands, says Colleen Conlon, kettlebell specialist and group fitness instructor at Equinox locations in New York City.

First: the curve at which you raise the kettlebell to shoulder-height. If you swing the bell too far in front of you, the excess momentum will inhibit a smooth transition to the top of your wrist, Conlon explains. Control the arc by keeping your elbow tucked to your torso for as long as possible throughout the movement.

Second: your grip. Squeezing the handle too tightly will interrupt a smooth flip, Conlon says. Always maintain a loose yet sturdy hold so the handle can shift positions without getting stuck.

Sometimes, the culprit is a too-light weight, she adds. Choosing a heavier bell increases resistance and therefore, your control throughout the swing. If you feel like the weight is moving of its own accord, without full-body engagement on your part, it's too light; if you need to lean to one side to muscle the weight up, it's too heavy. 

The bottom line:

The above is true for any kettlebell exercise that involves both a hip hinge and a change in hand positioning, such as the clean and the snatch. If you have trouble making these adjustments on your own or you notice bruising on your wrists, work with a coach or trainer to perfect the skill.