Kettlebell Training – KettleBell Cleans - The kettlebell clean is a progression of the swing. Do not do a clean until you can do a swing. The primary muscles worked are the glutes and hamstring. Grab the bell with one arm, with the bell sitting slightly behind your heels, just like a one arm swing. The movement initiates at the hips, contract the glutes, but instead of swinging the bell forward, keep it close to the body, into the rack position. Glutes, hammies, and lower back do all the work. Do not lift with your arms.
The trickiest part about the clean is to have the bell roll around so it sits in the rack position. To do this we do a cheat curl, where you do use your arms, just to get used to the roll pattern. To do this, set yourself up like you would with a normal clean, bring the other hand around the back. From there, use your arms to bring it up to your chest. This will get you used to the roll around the wrist. Once you have that, you can move into the actual clean.
With the actual clean, keep your elbows tucked into your body. This will ensure the bell doesn’t swing out in front, and it comes into the rack. For the rack position, your hand should be in the centre of the chest, neutral wrist position, and the bell will sit between your forearm, bicep and chest.
For a long cycle clean and do it continuously, bump it forward slightly, swing it through your legs, and back up. Keep your elbows close to your body and as soon as the bell comes up through the legs, put it into the rack position. Cleans are a great exercise in itself, but it also gets you ready for some of the upper body exercises for later.
Always alternate your arms for symmetry. Once you have become more experienced, you can do double handed exercises for double cleans, and that will further increase your strength. With one handed cleans, you can do multiple reps using a single arm, or you can alternate using a hand to hand swing into a clean with the opposite side.
Nick Jones – World Bodybuilding Champion & Andrew Boyle - Founder of the Australian Kettlebell League