What is a Kettlebell Clean?

The Kettlebell Clean is a key transitory movement for kettlebell training. It’s the launch paid for a host of other movements (press, thruster, squats, etc…). This movement is tricky at first but learning this will open up doors for other types of kettlebell movements. 

The Kettlebell Clean is a full-body exercise with an emphasis on the following muscle groups:

  • Core
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Legs

How to Do a Kettlebell Clean (Instructions):

Start with the kettlebell about 6-12 inches in front of you. Stand with your feet forward, placed a little more than shoulder width apart. As you inhale, “deadlift down” by bending at your hips, with your knees are slightly bent, until you are in a deadlift position with both hands on the kettlebell.
As you inhale, hike the bell back between your legs as if you were starting a one-hand swing. As you stand up, exhale, and raise the bell up towards your chest, keeping the bell close to your chest. As you reach your chest level, “punch through” the kettlebell handle with your right hand, which will prevent you from slamming your wrist with the kettlebell. “Rack” the kettlebell by resting it on your bent forearm, bicep, and chest. To set the bell down, allow the kettlebell to fall around your wrist, and allow the weight of the bell to guide it to the ground. 
Repeat on the other side. 

Trainer Tips for the Kettlebell Clean: 

  • Progression (make harder)
    • Use a heavier weight. Scale up in 8kg increments (16kg, 24kg, 32kg, etc…)
    • Clean with two kettlebells, one in each hand.
  • Regression (make easier)
    • Use two hands as you clean the kettlebell. If you are cleaning with your right hand, use your left hand to hold the bottom of the kettlebell. 
    • Use a lighter weight.
    • Lower your repetition count. 
  • Application:
    • Cleans are a great transitory movement. Do a clean and press, clean and squat, clean and walk, etc…
    • Cleans are also a beastly exercise. Do 100 of them with each hand… it’s a brutal workout.

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