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Examining The Kettlebell Clean

Examining The Kettlebell Clean

The kettlebell clean is one of the first movements you can perform with the iron bell because it is a prerequisite point of position for many other movements. I mean if you’re going to lift the bell from the ground to start with then you’ve got to be able to perform the clean. The thing is that there are many aspects to this lift that are missed which results in it commonly being done wrong with many lifters.

Kettlebell Clean

Every strong professional lifter understands the vital importance of technique. Technique is so crucial that it is literally the difference between a successful lift and a failed lift, or potentially an injury and a non-injury.

The problem I see with many folks starting out today is that everyone wants to hurry up. Hurry, hurry, hurry seems to be the theme of nearly every individual I come across and have the opportunity of training for the first time.

The problem with getting anxious is that it usually causes sloppiness and rapidly worsens an already bad situation. Once you can be patient and accept this then you can ease anxiety and perform a subsequent task without failure and without worry that you’re making an already bad situation worse. How many times have we all been there?

The thing is that both in life and when in training we should learn to slow down and get it right the first time. For whatever reason when it comes to the kettlebell clean in my experience it seems that first time lifters just want to hurry to pull the weight off the ground almost without any thought or seamless execution.

It’s as if they are thinking more about the next move rather than the clean itself which is why I’m placing emphasis solely on the kettlebell clean today. Of course, as a coach it’s my job to force them to pump the brakes and slow them down to think about what technical aspects of the lift they are speeding by because they’re in too much of a hurry to notice.

The thing is that solid execution of the kettlebell clean is crucial because it does often set us up for presses, snatches, and other movements. The problem with missing it though is that if it’s off then the lifter potentially bleeds him or herself of energy causing other subsequent lifts to be done in subpar fashion. Like with any other lift the focus should be on getting the clean right if we’re going to train with a purposeful goal in mind.

Now in the video I’m performing a continuous clean, or swing clean motion with the bell, but the point is that the move is being done to demonstrate the smooth transition of the bell to the rack position so that I could set up another potential lift if so desired.

Other technical issues people have with the kettlebell clean often involves the breaking back, or bending of the wrist at the bell causing the sphere of the bell to compress the forearms and even cause bruising. Additionally this causes an awkward position and stability and control are thrown out of whack when such a thing happens. It’s like throwing a wrench into a gearbox.

Once again the point of control is by making a smooth transition with the bell. I mean why even bother attempting a press, or front squat if your kettlebell clean isn’t properly handled? It would be pointless and interestingly enough when the clean is not accurate after a lifter makes a sloppy attempt at a press or front squat they usually misplace their focus by addressing whatever lift they did after the sloppy clean attempt.

The thing is that many folks would find that a great deal of the fix would come from cleaning up their clean! Nice choice of words, right?

Besides being a beacon towards technical mastery the kettlebell clean offers many other physical benefits to the lifter as well. Kettlebell cleans are great for coordination, core stability, shoulder stability, and overall just being able to place the body into optimal position before attempting to lift.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if you have any questions please feel free to post up in the comment box below. Stay strong and keep training smart.

Related Articles:

The Obliteration Of The Shoulder Press

How To Apply Minimalist Training For Maximal Results

The Kettlebell Snatch: How To Get It Right!

An Examination Of The Burpee Calisthenic

Training For Symmetry And Performance

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Great post with great information and instructional videos. Mastery of technique should your number one priority when working with kettlebells.

    1. Thanks so much Brian! Yes, you are spot on my man! So many people butcher the technique and are quick to move on to other lifts before handling the initial lift with confidence and skill. It takes time to do this, but so many people are quick to want to “move on” before they should be moving on. Thanks for the feedback and please don’t be a stranger.

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