• Kettlebell Fundamentals – Part 4 of 4 -Kettlebell Clean

    Kettlebell Fundamentals – Part 4 of 4 -Kettlebell Clean

    The Kettlebell Clean

    This is part 4 of a 4 part series, if you missed the previous articles you can check them out here:

    Part 1http://primalmovement.ca/kettlebell-fundamentals-part-1-4/

    Part 2: http://primalmovement.ca/kettlebell-fundamentals-two-handed-swing/

    Part 3: http://primalmovement.ca/kettlebell-fundamentals-single-arm-swing/

    Welcome back to my kettlebell fundamentals series, this week we will be focusing on the Clean.

    Before you can attempt the kettlebell clean, you should have mastered the Swing, and single arm swing. Let’s do a quick recap:

    Kettlebell Swing:

    • Start feet shoulder width apart, keep a neutral spine and hinge forward at the hips
    • Start by hiking the kettlebell back, loading the glutes/hamstrings
    • Explosively drive the hips forward, by squeezing the glutes, and extending the hip
    • Keep shoulders pulled down and back, do not use your arms to lift the kettlebell, kettlebell should feel weightless at the top of the movement, just like its floating there.

    The one Handed Swing:

    • The free arm should swing alongside the kettlebell.
    • Avoid keeping the free hand on the hip, resting on the thigh, or hanging loosely at your side, follow the movement of the kettlebell
    • Keep the shoulders square, avoid rotating/twisting the torso
    • Wrist position can vary, but i prefer to have the thumb pointed inwards, at the bottom of the movement

    The other necessary piece of the puzzle is the kettlebell rack position. Going way back to my first article in the series, here is a review of the key points of the rack:

    The Rack:

    • Maintain a near vertical alignment of the forearm
    • Thumb of your hand coming close to the sternum.
    • Wrist should be kept in a neutral position while the kettlebell is resting evenly on the chest, bicep and forearm.
    • Keep the grip closer to the horn of the kettlebell, as opposed to the middle of the handle.

    Once you have the two handed swing, the single arm swing and the kettlebell swing down pat, you are ready to try the kettlebell clean. The kettlebell clean involves a very steep swing of the kettlebell while rotating it around, and ‘catching’ it in the rack position. The clean is a very important transitional exercise, allowing you to move from single handed swings, to any overhead or pressing position with ease. The swing is the driving force behind the clean, it is where all the power is generated, and that is how you will start the exercise:

    The Clean:

    • Start feet shoulder width apart, keep a neutral spine and hinge forward at the hips
    • Start by hiking the kettlebell back, loading the glutes/hamstrings
    • Explosively drive the hips forward, by squeezing the glutes, and extending the hip

    The Next step is where things can get tricky and it is very easy to overthink things. Essentially the goal is to pull the kettlebell into the rack position, this involves a slight outward rotation of the kettlebell while allowing it to roll over onto the back of our forearm. One of the easiest ways to get comfortable with this motion is to start in the rack position, and drop the kettlebell into a single handed swing. Try to learn to path the kettlebell wants to take on the way down, and then reverse it on the way back up:

    • Using a combination of a curling motion, and a slight external rotation of the kettlebell, pull the kettlebell in toward you body
    • Drive the handle of the bell around the body of the kettlebell, and bring the body of the kettlebell to rest on your forearm, ideally this position will be a solid kettlebell rack position.

    Mastering the kettlebell clean is a tricky exercise, but it opens up the door to countless other exercises, and will allow you to get some great value out of your kettlebell flows. Here is an example of how you can string all the exercises together:

    Killer 5 minute kettlebell HIIT workout:

    • 1 min – 2 handed swings
    • 1 min alternating swings
    • 1 min alternating kettlebell clean
    • 30s kettlebell clean and press R / 30s Kettlebell clean and press L
    • 30s Kettlebell clean and squat R / 30s kettlebell clean and squat L

    Take a minute off and repeat the flow 3 times, guaranteed to get a sweat going!

    Thats It!

    That concludes my 4 part kettlebell fundamentals series, you are now ready to begin your own personal journey towards kettlebell mastery. Keep your eyes peeled for future articles which will be covering more advanced kettlebell exercises (perhaps a Turkish get up series in the near future).

    See you all at the gym!

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