Back in June, I hosted a hybrid training workshop called the “Strength Unlimited” seminar. The premise being that the info covered revealed the principles to accomplish any strength goal. [Read more…]
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“Not really. Let’s move on.”
This is how my first few sessions of trying to learn the clean went.
The clean took me even longer to “get” than the more technical kettlebell lifts like TGUs and snatches.
Indeed, most people seem to struggle with this seemingly straightforward lift.
The Problem with Kettlebell Cleans
Cleans require a quick and efficient “pitch and catch” – pitching from a powerful hip snap to smoothly catching into a strong rack position.
This can create a lot of confusion in the kinesthetics of a trainee who has been diligently practicing hardstyle swings with a focus on HORIZONTAL displacement of the kettlebell.
The clean demands directing that power into VERTICAL displacement!
Jumping into full cleans is a recipe for bruised forearms and shoulders so let’s break it down…
Step 1 – Bury the Rack
Two-hand clean a kettlebell into a strong rack position. Your quads, glutes, and abs are engaged and your wrist is straight.
You’ll probably need to wiggle the kettlebell around a bit in order to find the most comfortable angle between the handle, arm, and bell.
Once you’re set – Hold it. Know it. Ingrain what the rack should feel like. Bury it into your muscle memory. This is the “goal” position with every clean.
Step 2 – Drop and Catch
Again, the trick to a swing-style clean lies in negotiating horizontal and vertical movement. We need the hip hinge (a back/forth move) to power the clean into the rack (an up/down move).
In the drop & catch, you’ll practice the first half of the equation – down and back.
The Clean Drop – The kettlebell clean is deceptively tricky and often glossed over in favor of other foundational lifts like swings and snatches – Spending some extra time getting the pattern just right will make your presses stronger and allow you to take full advantage of this armor-building lift – The Clean Drop is a pre-gression drill that will get you comfortable with moving the bell from the rack position into a hip hinge. – Two-hand clean the kettle into a strong and comfortable rack position – Guide the bell straight down to the zipper and load the hip hinge just like a swing – Park it and reset – This tip is part of a full article on the clean coming later this week on the blog – Enjoy! Any questions, just leave them below – #strongfirst #kettlebell #kettlebelltraining #kettlebellexercises #hardstylekettlebell #kettlebellclean #kettlebelltips #kbcorechallenge #nashvillekettlebell #musiccityfit #mymyles #fitspo #fitfam #fitness #fitnesslife #fitnesstips #workout #workoutflow #workoutmotivation #rkc #crossfit
Step 3 – Dead Stop Cleans
Setup in the same way you would a swing. Get a good backswing and clean up to the rack position. Drop and catch into the backswing as you practiced in the previous step and reset on the ground.
This is a full rep and as long as you’ve diligently practiced finding a good rack and the drop, there should be few if any issues.
Step 4 – Cleans ‘n Swings
A great workout and progression to solidify your cleans is to simply mix them into a swing set.
3 swings / 1 clean
1 swing / 1 clean
The idea here is that the swing reinforces the deep hip hinge and encourages more hip power into the clean.
Step 5 – Repeated Cleans
Back-to-back cleans are an oft-forgot way to build total body strength and resilience. They’re kinda like squats – tough, but you can always do one more rep.
Again, if there is any banging of the forearm or low back fatigue, go back to Steps 1 & 2!
Also, keep these two cues in mind:
📍The Kettlebell Clean 📍 🔎 The clean is one deceptively tough lift. It requires the ability to quickly generate, then absorb force. Here are 2 cues that seem to help clean up the clean: ☝🏼”T-Rex” It – Think about making your arm shorter by keeping the elbow glued to the side while tightening the triceps against the lats. ✌🏻Zip Your Coat – The thumb should stay close and follow a straight line up the center. For more kettlebell fun, check out the Free 21 Day Kettlebell Core Challenge in bio #strongfirst #kettlebell #kettlebellclean #kettlebelltraining #nashvillekettlebell #kettlebellnashville #nashvillefitness #nashvillepowerlifting #nashville #nashvillestrengthcoach #musiccityfit #fitnesslife #fitfam #fitnesstips #mondaymotivation #workout #crossfit #evolvefitnashville #kbcorechallenge #kettlebellchallenge
The kettlebell clean demands some attention to detail, but the process need not be a painful one!
Work these drills daily and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the powerful magic of cleans.
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Julie Booher is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Certified Nutritionist. She helps women from around the world realize their fullest potential, not only in their body, but in every area of their life. She believes diet and exercise are only a small part of the equation to living your best life, and is an advocate of balance, happiness, and joy!
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