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Kettlebell A case for the heavy clean?

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Opiaswing

Level 5 Valued Member
I really don't see much info on heavy cleans around here, which is strange because I actually find them quite a lot harder than high swings with the same weight.

I'm curious as to what the communis take is on heavy single cleans as a strength and power exercise. I myself always thought heavy swings were the epitome of a manly exercise, but when I was finally able to clean the same weight I realized they seem like quite an understated exercise - lots of power, full body strength and stability muscles activated. My chest hair grew about two inches the day I cleaned the 64kg.

What are your takes on the heavy clean? Is it worth implementing into a routine if I am already doing heavy swings? (Training for no other reason than fun/fitness/strength)
 
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NoahMarek

Level 6 Valued Member
Do you like doing heavy cleans? Then do them! I have really been enjoying low rep heavy kettlebell snatches because I find them to be very satisfying and fun as well as conducive to my goals. I also prefer the clean and snatch over the swing for heavier lifting because there is a definite finish position so it has a more satisfying feel.
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
What I always liked about heavy cleans is that they either rack - or they don't

What I tended not to like was my tendency to "defend" my elbows by bending them a touch on the drop world lead to the bell straightening the elbow eccentrically leading to significant elbow tendinitis.
 
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Maine-ah KB

Level 7 Valued Member
cleans are good. if my clean is good then pressing/squating goes way better. also I really like the double clean! they're a great movement for hypertrophy, its great for your heart and lungs. +they make your soul stronger if you do a lot. :)
 

apa

Level 6 Valued Member
1-arm Cleans have taken a backseat because they are paired with a Press which limits the amount of weight used. (this is mentioned in EtK.)
 

Marc

Level 6 Valued Member
Cleans are great, no doubt about it. Especially double cleans since they teach you how to rack properly.
I think the swing is more popular because it is less technical and more of a "flowing" ballistic as opposed to the clean being more of a "stop-and-go" ballistic.
I remember that Pavel wrote somewhere about the 2x32 clean being a real monster even for experienced weightlifters. Geoff Neupert also approves them big time so you are in great company.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
At about halfway through “Dry Fighting Weight”, I have developed a healthy respect for double cleans. I will definitely include heavy (heavier than I can press) in variety days for future cycles of RoP - such as 5 clean + 1 getup with +4 or +8kg pressing bell.
 

Marc

Level 6 Valued Member
At about halfway through “Dry Fighting Weight”, I have developed a healthy respect for double cleans. I will definitely include heavy (heavier than I can press) in variety days for future cycles of RoP - such as 5 clean + 1 getup with +4 or +8kg pressing bell.

I think that sounds good
 

Marcus Aurelius

Level 5 Valued Member
I've been using the clean with a bell heavier than the one I'm doing presses with to get my brain/body used to the weight.

So I'm pressing a 20kg but I practice twice a week cleaning the 24kg.

I think it's worth practicing because it's the foundation for so many exercises.
 

q.Hung

Level 6 Valued Member
it gets 2 thumbs from me. actually, i learn proper clean from heavy clean first. i tried to clean 20 k bell one arm and its flied around and hit my foreams badly. heavy one arm clean is better, but double clean 20kg bell was the one for me. after i can do 10 double clean with 20, my one arm clean improves sharply
 

Mike Torres

Level 6 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
+1 to everything said here about the value (and fun) of heavy cleans. I've found that heavy cleans are one of the best ways to "get comfortable" with heavier bells in general, and frequently include it in programming for the 1RM military press.

When I was training for my 1/2 bodyweight press, one of the keys for me was just getting comfortable cleaning & holding a super heavy bell in the rack (and not rushing it up). Doing sets of 2 CL/3 SQ with a single bell 4-8kg heavier than my press bell made all the difference for me. As you can imagine, that press bell started looking & feeling smaller and smaller every day.
 

Opiaswing

Level 5 Valued Member
+1 to everything said here about the value (and fun) of heavy cleans. I've found that heavy cleans are one of the best ways to "get comfortable" with heavier bells in general, and frequently include it in programming for the 1RM military press.

When I was training for my 1/2 bodyweight press, one of the keys for me was just getting comfortable cleaning & holding a super heavy bell in the rack (and not rushing it up). Doing sets of 2 CL/3 SQ with a single bell 4-8kg heavier than my press bell made all the difference for me. As you can imagine, that press bell started looking & feeling smaller and smaller every day.
Thats very interesting actually. And 1/2 bw press is impressive.

I actually only have a 48kg and a 64kg. And can press neither atm. I dont train press, but do you think cleaning the 64kg would aid it potentially pressing the 48kg (with no pressing weights to practise on before that)
 

Mike Torres

Level 6 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Opiaswing Those are some serious bells. Cleaning the 64kg alone will likely not be enough to press the 48kg (unless you are just a supernaturally strong person - it's definitely happened!) Pressing heavy is a skill, just like everything else, which means you will probably need to press a lot too. And of course, you'll have to start somewhere reasonable using your 1RM as a guide - whatever that means for you - and find the right groove, dial in the tension, etc. before building it up.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
A heavy clean is similar to a snatch, just ended at chest level. In other words, it's a power move followed by rigid stability, and definitely worth doing. I think the fact that the snatch and the swing are larger movements makes them desirable because of the movement benefits whereas the clean is a smaller movement describing a tighter arc. Given that I have to clean the 32 to press with it, I'm getting some cleaning practice daily by default.
 

rebelshrug

Level 4 Valued Member
In other words, it's a power move followed by rigid stability, and definitely worth doing.

What’s the benefit of doing a “power move followed by rigid stability”? I’ve read some articles suggesting that athletes focus on the power generating portions of Olympic lifts (high pull, etc...), and ignore the catch. I get where they’re coming from, but I feel like absorbing the impact is beneficial.

Not trying to argue that, say, the swing is better than the clean- just trying to understand how the catch affects/benefits a girevik.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
What’s the benefit of doing a “power move followed by rigid stability”? I’ve read some articles suggesting that athletes focus on the power generating portions of Olympic lifts (high pull, etc...), and ignore the catch. I get where they’re coming from, but I feel like absorbing the impact is beneficial.

Not trying to argue that, say, the swing is better than the clean- just trying to understand how the catch affects/benefits a girevik.
It's the same idea as for the TGU - rigid stability under pressure. I find this kind of strength very important in judo. This is one of the principles of SF philosophy - generating high levels of tension, and through the tension generating and increasing strength.

Evidently, doing military presses is generating rigid tension, or doing TGUs or completing snatches, (let alone deadlifts etc with a barbell!) so the need for cleans if one is doing one of these is a bit questionable. Of course, the other aspect of the clean is the lifting motion, like a mini swing. Again, if you are doing swings or snatches you are getting this already. I think it's like has been said here several times that if you do double cleans, this is a strength building exercise on par with any other standard "big six" kettlebell exercises. For a time I did double cleans, with the 32s if you can believe it, followed by double presses. I don't think that was a bad exercises for all that is written on the advantages of asymmetrical load. Now, a mere single side clean as an exercise - I don't know if I'd want to do that considering other better exercises - maybe as a clean&rack then a carry for when my shoulder is too sore to press or do TGUs - I've done a lot of that!
 

sizzlefuzz

Level 6 Valued Member
Ya, this is a tough thing for me, I'm working my way through @Hector G's BJJ strength secrets which is focused on the dbl C+P, however I'm currently running 2x24kgs... I'm only beginning week 3 of 12 now but I have the sense the limiting factor in terms of progressing the technique if I run it back to back for the full 12 weeks would be the clean and not the press. Getting the "catch" in the rack with 32s seems to be a tough task, and I don't want to buy an additional 28kg to go 2x28s.... Tough call, but I'm going to start mixing in some low rep single clean work with heavier bells this week & beyond in an effort to tap into the neurological strength and overall confidence of seeing one heavier bell go up, I singled 32 and 36 when I was finished with my session this morning quite easily actually (left 40 in the tank), but I attempted a 2x32 and it was an adventure, although I was able to rack one rep with it it wasn't stable by any stretch.
 
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