When I first began training for the level one RKC certification, I was doing a few things wrong. Not only was I performing with less than optimal technique with some of the movement's causing me to work more; I ended up ripping my hands during my snatch test training which forced me to take a few days off from my scheduled training. Well I have more experience now and I want to share my four tips to help you not rip your hands so you can keep kettlebell lifting day in and day out.
Use Minimal Chalk
Too much chalk dries out the hands and causes more friction between the kettlebell and the palm. Only use chalk for the exercises that warrant it. Ten reps of swings or even clean and press will probably not need chalk at all. Long snatch sets will most likely require some but only use as much chalk as needed, and usually it's not much.
Pamper Your Hands
Doing some high rep kettlebell work will require some extra hand maintenance on occasion. You actually want to keep the palm calls from becoming too tough and raised or else they are great candidate for being ejected during your training. After a warm shower shave them down and then file with a pumice stone or get a special filing tool. I occasionally used a tip from Master RKC, Brett Jones, who touts using cornhuskers lotion to “toughen and condition the skin.” I bought both my filing tool and cornhuskers lotion at my local Rite Aid.
When It's Not Looking Good; Use Protection
If your hands start getting raw while training and you can not afford to take multiple days off of training from firing your hands you may cover the palms for protection. In an article by Master RKC, Mark Reifkind, he explains how his wife Tracy cut the necks of some athletic socks (2-3 inches) and placed them around the base of the fingers to protect the hands and calluses. I actually had to use them used them on the last day of the level one RKC weekend (not during the snatch test) and I found that a cut thin sock worked well. If you take care of your hands you should not need to use the sock sleeve, but just in case, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Focus on the Technical Details
It is advantageous to consistently tweak and refine your technique. Two tips that I picked up from John Wild Buckley of the Orange Kettlebell Club saved my hands during long kettlebell sets. First of all you want to grab the kettlebell and have the handle in the fingers above the base of the fingers, this will minimize pinching of the calls during the swings and other movements. Another tip during the long cycle and snatches is to learn to cast the kettlebell forward during the appropriate moment of the backswing, approximately when the kettlebell is parallel to the ground. This casting motion moves the handle from the palm to the fingers bypassing the base of the fingers where the calluses are. This takes a lot of practice and refinement and it's suggested to start with a light kettlebell and progress appropriately.
There you have four tips to help save your hands and keep you off the guidelines so you can keep training.