Besides adequate sleep, rest, tough calluses, healthy foods, a great teacher and impeccable form there are a few necessary items to be successful when competing/ working out with bells. If you don’t your wrists will be super sore and bruised (maybe swollen), your hands torn, and your grip suffering. I think grip is one of the hardest things to develop, and it is the difference between the veteran lifters and new lifters like myself so anything that you can do to make it better is probably worth it.
The first thing that I invested in was a foot file. You can see one here. I do not have this particular one, I bought a cheap one at a drug store- it works fine. It’s purpose is to file any hanging skin/partially torn, rough calluses on your hands. I think it is also important to keep your hands well hydrated. I wash my hands for a living, and have discovered that when they are dry and ashy they will hurt more during a workout. Chalk does not help.
Once you are a lifting machine you may find that your wrists are sore or bruised. As you advance in weight and actual lifts the slamming of the bell on your wrist/forearm can get uncomfortable. To combat this problem an investment in some protection should be made. In the picture below you see 3 different forms of protection. First, is an Under Armour 6 inch wristband. These are great for beginners. They are soft, flexible, and I fold them in 1/2 when wearing them for more cushioning. Unfortunately they are soft, with nothing hard protecting your wrist. They are inexpensive, about $9/pair and can be found at most sporting goods stores or amazon.com. Next, we have kettleguards. These were designed by a group of lifters in California. They are okay. They have plastic inserts all the way around the band. The plastic inserts are flimsy, and I do not think that they offer much protection- but this is based on A LOT of personal preference/experience. The plastic inserts can come out, not easily, for washing. They are inserted into the inside at the middle of the band. They are also an investment, sold for about $20/pair, found here, and you can buy more inserts separately. You can read more about them here. Lastly, we have VF Kettleshields. These are the shortest bands in the group the Under Armour being the longest. They have a hard plastic one-piece insert that can be removed for washing. The nice thing is that they do not have to be turned inside-out to replace the plastic piece. My coach, actually did not like these, so he just handed them over to me. I love them. While he found their size awkward, I love where they sit on my wrist, and no longer have to double, or triple up on wrist guards. These are also, unfortunately, the most expensive, about $25/pair, and does not include shipping. They can be found here. I have also heard it can take A LOT of time for customers to receive these. You can also read more about them here.
Something, that is new to me, has been adding these cheap little finger-less gloves to my workouts. These, below, were $2/pair. Their primary purpose in kettlebell is to assist in developing grip strength, not necessarily hand protection. I love the feel of the metal handle in my hand, but if this is going to improve my grip I am willing to continue to keeping it in my workouts. I usually use them while doing a lot of swings in a workout and have started using them while working on my snatch. They are actually really nice for snatch, because that does really wreck your hands. White won’t be white for long, I also have a black pair and a pink pair. You can but the ones with fingers and just snip of the ends. I like these because they won’t fray.
So these are things I use several times a week in my workouts. I hope this gives some, or even a little insight into kettlebell “accessories.” I will be adding some of this info onto the Kettlebell Gear page.