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Kettlebell Tips to learn kb clean

Halfakneecap

Level 5 Valued Member
So, I’m trying to learn the kb clean. I have a barbell, and while I haven’t spent a lot of time with it, the barbell seems a lot more smooth/natural. The kB, wow, I’m hopeless haha. Right side ( I’m right handed ) feels ok, but my left hand side it just feels odd, no timing etc. I’ve been trying gunslinger swings, but I’m even hopeless at those haha. I’ve got “Enter the Kettlebell “ which explains the movement but do you guys have any cues you use ? Or regressions to learn the movement?
 

Steve W.

Level 8 Valued Member
There are a lot of fine points to the clean. I actually think the one-arm clean is harder to learn than the double clean.

If I had to choose two key cues for the clean, they would be:​
  1. Keep the upper arm in tight. Your want to keep the bell in close, not swing it out away from you on the upswing or cast it out away from you on the drop. So keep that elbow locked down to your torso. This also facilitates power transfer from the bell to the hips and vice versa.
  2. On the upswing, keep the arm straight as long as possible. The tendency is to pull with the arm, but this wastes a lot of power and will tend to get the bell swinging out in front. As I extend my hips, I think "Arm down!" It's a little counterintuitive because you are thinking arm down when your intention is to get the bell up. But there's a saying in Olympic weightlifting: "When the arms bend, the power ends." So you want to keep those arms down and straight as long as possible. I also think "Long arms!" to remind myself to keep the arm straight (or arms in double cleans), or "Chains!" to remind myself to think of my arms as chains just connecting my shoulders to the bell, and to not actively pull with my arms.
As your hips fully extend and the bell starts to float up, keep the upper arm pinned down and allow your elbow to bend along with the bell. Don't pull, just let the bell float up and passively bend your elbow with it. Think of the rhythm as arm down, float, catch. Get your hand under the bell while it's floating and just catch it in the rack. If I just think "float and catch," I don't have to worry about what my arm is doing. it just happens because I'm not guiding or exerting any force on the bell. I'm just quickly getting my hand into the catch position while the bell is floating weightless.​
 

Halfakneecap

Level 5 Valued Member
Cheers guys, much appreciated. I have watched lots of videos but I still seem to get it wrong. A kb coach would be good though I think the closest is 90 mins away.

I will try the above cues and see how I go.

I tried a double kb clean, it seemed a lot more smooth doing them together but I still have plenty of things to practice.
 

solarbear

Level 5 Valued Member
In the Strong videos, Neupert teaches this really well. The tip that helped me was the idea of a 'Jersey chest.'

Stick your chest out start and with it stuck out at the bottom when you lift the weight off the ground. Finish with it stuck out at the top. I am a bit wide so I just tuck my upper arm into my lats and then stand up with my chest out. Sounds simple but it works.

I can recommend the Strong videos for learning the double kb lifts. Helped me tremendously. The couple of programs in the book that everyone talks about, Strong 1 2 3 and the One, are just icing on the cake.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 8 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Cheers guys, much appreciated. I have watched lots of videos but I still seem to get it wrong. A kb coach would be good though I think the closest is 90 mins away.

I will try the above cues and see how I go.

I tried a double kb clean, it seemed a lot more smooth doing them together but I still have plenty of things to practice.

Given that distance is an issue, the next option is to schedule a virtual session.

I can say that it works. I've seen someone go from hobbyist to SFG instructor using virtual training with a coach
 

Halfakneecap

Level 5 Valued Member
I have been doing dead stop cleans, as part of Strength Aerobics. I’m not sure if it’s the reasonably high amount of reps, or I’ve just gotten used to it, but I’ve gone back to trying them from a swing, not continuously, re setting every time but it seemed to go well this morning. I also went up to a 24. I find a little extra weight also helps to feel the movement, a lot like a barbell clean I suppose.

Some great tips here, much thanks everyone, it’s slowly coming together
 

DannyHoj

Level 2 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
One tip that I saw work well when I attended a recent SFG - start with the bell on the ground and slightly behind your heels. From there perform a dead clean (no backswing) and return the bell to the ground. With the bell starting on the ground and a bit behind you it forces you to keep your arm tight to the body.

As others have mentioned, an online SFG coach would also be able to help.

Good luck!
 
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