Saturday, February 14, 2009

How To Do the Kettlebell Clean

So many people wear bruises on the forearms as "badges of honor." There is no honor in bruised forearms. It is just the kettlebell strongly urging you to figure out the correct form. The Kettlebell Clean is one of the basic 6 kettlebell movements and should be mastered by all who use the kettlebell. Its original purpose was to provide a safe means to get one or two kettlebells in position for other lifts. You will clean before front squats, presses, and racked squats for example. That’s still its main purpose but double cleans with hefty kettlebells feels like a workout.

Mastering the Kettlebell Clean Step by Step

  1. Start as if doing a one armed kettlebell swing but shorten the height of the triangle so move your base a bit closer to the kettlebell.
  2. Grip the kettlebell loosely with one hand and swing the bell through your crotch. Back straight, not rounded and then used “enough” hip for the work required. Don’t use too much hip. Just enough.
  3. “Tame the arc” so that the kettlebell travels the shortest possible distance. Almost as if you are zipping your jacket. You don’t want it to turn into a swing where you then pull the kettlebell towards your torso and hope for the best. Imagine a wall in front of you and you can’t smack the wall with the bell. (Please don’t use an actual wall)
  4. As you pull the kettlebell up, make sure your elbow is attached to your body. Don’t let it separate. Allow the kettlebell to “roll” over your hand so that it doesn’t crash into your forearm. If your hand moves faster than the bell as you roll it you won’t bang your wrist. Imagine a short jab. That should help.
  5. The kettlebell, the elbow and your torso should become “one.” Keep your shoulder down, (uncover your ears), triceps pressed into your ribs, armpit squeezed tight, elbow as low as possible into your hip and torso, glues and quads tight. Real tight. Also imagine gripping the ground with your toes.
  6. As you “Hard Style” it, be certain you contract your abs too. The tension you have just created gives you the power you need to proceed in what ever exercise you are about to do.

Remember to keep your 'body" under tension in the racked position.

The best,

Sandy Sommer, RKC

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