Tips for Smooth Kettlebell Cleans


The Kettlebell Clean:

The Kettlebell Clean is a powerful exercise that has the potential to build a stronger body or trash your forearms if you’re not careful. There are many regressions that will help you understand the path the kettlebell takes and the timing required to avoid bruised arms. The two hand cheat curl clean is the easiest way to take that kettlebell on the journey from hanging to the rack position with as little momentum as possible. I used this with great success on new clients. The next regression came out of necessity and to fill a much needed step on the path to great cleans.

The Cheat Curl: 

The cheat curl is great for learning the trajectory of the bell, but does nothing with hip speed or the timing of the pull. Once my client understands the pathway it’s time to kick it up a notch. Once you’ve tried this under complete control adding some speed will help add more parts to the movement, but too much speed can break you.


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 Two-hand hang clean:

That’s when it’s time to add the two-hand hang clean. In this case we’re adding some more movement in the form of a hip hinge. This will be the initial driving force. Once you hinge and extend the hips immediately follow up with a two hand pull to get the bell into the rack position. Now you’re working the timing of the hips combined with upper body engagement. The other hand will make sure you still have control.

 I love this variation as a way to reinforce the path of the kettlebell while making it more lower body-centric as it should be. I’m all for a good arm pump, but this isn’t the time. The upper body is still involved, but not nearly as much. As part of the regressions to the clean you can’t beat this one. You can even program it into your training (assuming you understand the amount of core tension and breathwork required to move heavy things) and work with significantly heavier bells.

 Give it a go and let us know what you think! Even if you’re extremely well-versed with kettlebells put yourself in the beginner mindframe, empty your cup and give it a try. As a coach it will benefit your clients the more often you can do that as you’ll be able to look through their perspective far more easily. If you’re a fitness enthusiast it will help you understand what you do to a greater degree or add something slightly different to enhance your current technique.


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