Swinging a weight between the legs and then cleaning it up to shoulder level. The clean is an exercise in tension control—tense, loose, tight.
The clean is also pulling against a dead weight so my hands and forearms have gotten stronger. In fact, I feel a whole new level of strength in my box carrying region—which would bode well for grapples, boxers, or anyone in the public who doesn’t like struggling with groceries, carrying kids, or even shoveling.
Since I’m just doing one side at a time, I’m getting a great stomach workout. I reread Pavel’s description of the press in his Russian Kettle bell Challenge book and apply all the tension techniques—in particular on the last set when I really need them.
The overhead movement is weak in a lot of people, particularly those who started lifting in high school where the bench is overemphasized. The clean combined with the press is making my whole arm feel strong and well-connected to the body.
The ladder lets you lift heavy weights and minimizes fatigue which thereby allows good form and concentration throughout. When I do my 40 reps each side with squats down in my 63 degree basement, I end up with my shirt off and sweating.
Here are some great benefits of other top-notch exercises: The key is to put them into a program that targets all aspects of your body.
If you’re looking for some help in that department, check out the Lean, Healthy, Strong. It hits the posterior chain, teaches intramuscular coordination, and helps speed and power production.
Sometimes you don’t have years to work with an athlete to help them reach their peak. The squat is obvious and if we replace the other three exercises — snatch, press, and clean — with a bar there’s no self-respecting strength junkie who wouldn’t tell you how great those three are.
The first time I heard the expression “steering strength” was from Stuart McGill, and he was speaking about the get up and how both halves of the body are forced to learn to work together, linked through a stiff midsection, while a weight is steered through a variety of angles. This is a useful skill for grapples, extreme athletes such as motocross riders, and even people moving house.
I believe the kettlebellclean is a better choice to teach someone in a hurry for one simple reason — since we can focus on one hand, instead of the hands being locked together on a bar, we essentially halve the amount of coordination needed to learn the move. Not only is this ability to dynamically steer force important athletically, but the other benefits of the clean are still there — posterior chain recruitment, speed, and power.
And with the addition of the extra plane of movement that the bell provides you get large doses of coordination thrown in, too. When a heavy bell hits you for the first time and almost knocks you off your feet you’ll understand why.
It’s a blocked roundhouse to the body (and its rack position is almost exactly like your guard in stand up fighting). Many big name strength coaches will get their athletes to work from the hang position, either from mid-thigh or the knees.
The hang position has some other benefits for upper body dominant athletes like wrestlers or throwers, as well — while the posterior chain is still used heavily, the lift becomes upper body dominant and forces the athlete to be even faster to drive the bar from start to the rack. It’s as easy as ordering a copy of Enter the Kettle bell off Dragon Door and getting started.
As long as you’ve got a safe understanding of the swing, you will be able to clean and reap all the benefits of this powerful exercise, too. My favorite way to work the single clean is easy — 5 × 5 with a heavy bell.
An extra bonus is that when you go back to your normal press weights that they will feel light and easy to steer into the rack. How can a cannonball with a handle create one of the most effective fat burning, time efficient workouts imaginable?
It’s true that kettle bell weights may look a little odd to those who aren’t used to them, but there is an excellent reason why they have been around in one form or another since ancient times and why they have become all the rage in homes, exercise classes and gyms. Kettlebellbenefits add up quickly by creating a synergy between large muscle groups that is very hard to match in any other kind of workout.
It turns out that holding a lot of weight by a handle engages your arm, shoulder, back, abdominal and leg muscles all at the same time. In addition to the strength training benefits you would expect, the nature of movements with these kinds of weights can also improve your posture since your back muscles need to straighten up more to counteract the bell which tends to pull you forward.
All kettle bell exercises combine the benefits of cardiovascular, strength, balance and flexibility training at the same time while generating tremendous amounts of muscle activation. It is the beginning of many other kettle bell exercises and is fantastic for weight loss and burning fat because it activates nearly every major core-body muscle group.
The finished position should have the elbow in close to your body, the wrist straight, and the bell resting across the back part of your arm just below shoulder height. If you were only doing the kettlebellclean exercise, you would then simply reverse the motion to swing the bell back down between your legs, and then repeat for a number of reps, and then do the other side.
The kettle bell press technique starts where the clean left off, with the bell in the rack position just below the shoulder. A good kettle bell press requires perfect alignment of the body from head to toe so that you create a strong stable base for the upward thrust.
As you can see, the kettlebellclean and press lights up almost all the major muscle groups in the course of the exercise, and will burn a tremendous amount of fat over the course of your workout. Kettle bell exercise routines are based on full body movements and work 100’s of muscles at the same time which is how it can burn so many calories so quickly.
Dumbbells are typically used to isolate specific muscles like bicep curls or tricep extensions. A heavier bell encourages proper body dynamics and a more complete muscle synergy as a part of each rep.
The one-arm kettlebellclean delivers many of the same benefits of the Olympic weightlifting clean, but is less technically demanding. Because you work one side at a time, the one-arm kettlebellclean trains you to resist rotation at the torso, which makes it an excellent core strength exercise.
DurationFrequencyExercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest 30 second sup to 7x per week strength training steady, deliberate3-5 repetitions varies by workout Step 1: Place a kettle bell on the floor in front of you. Now actively screw them into the floor so you feel your hips and glutes fire up—imagine twisting up turf beneath your feet, or using them to spread a bunched-up carpet apart.
Step 2: Draw your shoulder blades back together and down—think: “proud chest.” Push your hips back, as if trying to touch your butt to the wall behind you (hinge your hips). Your head, spine, and pelvis should form a straight line as you descend.
Step 4: As you transition back into an upright stance, harness the momentum of the swing and make an uppercut motion with your right arm while keeping the kettle bell close to your body. Step 5: Allow the kettle bell to rotate to the outside of your wrist and halt its upward movement at collarbone height to finish in the front rack position (forearm close to vertical, kettle bell under your chin) as smoothly as possible.
Step 6: Reverse the motion by unraveling the kettle bell around the forearm, straightening your arm, and hiking the bell between your legs quickly to begin the next rep. Two or three sets of 3–5 reps can help you better recruit musculature for a strength and power workout.
Bringing the weight from the floor to the rack position sets you up for overhead presses, squats, lunges, and so on. You can also increase the core stability demands by trying the kettle bell rotational clean and then the kettle bell rotational clean to bent press (see the video HERE for both exercises).