Keep it clean.

With the basics of the swing now embedded in your psyches and your corporeal memories for ever, or at least until I think of another annoying detail that needs clarifying, we can move on to the clean.

The clean is important, not only because it is (obvs) part of the clean and press, and clean and jerk, but also because mastering the clean takes you a good part of the way to mastering the snatch. And the snatch is ace.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the glorious kettlebell is mainly for one-handed use, and the kettlebell clean is a prime example. A great way to learn the clean is to start at the end. You get the bell to the end position of the clean, which is known as ‘the rack’ – just at shoulder height, level with and even resting on your collar bone. Here’s a picture of a nice man to illustrate.


Bell resting on forearm, wrist straight or even bent ever so slightly inwards, stern expression on face – all crucial. To get it up there, lift it any old how, with two hands; as long you end up as illustrated you’re fine. Then you drop your forearm, with a loose grip on the bell’s handle, and hinge slightly at the hips as the bell plummets earthwards, and you’ll end up in the start position for a clean – bell in one hand, arm straight, hanging between your legs as if to initiate a one-armed swing.

You’ll notice as you drop the bell from the rack that it flips over as your arm straightens. Pay close attention to this: you’ll have to get the bell to do that flip on the way up when you start doing proper cleans.

But for the meantime do no more than these ‘reverse, gravity-sided cleans’. Get the bell up to the rack, resting on your forearm, and let it drop, paying close attention to the path that the clever bell chooses on its way down. Swop sides regularly. You’re on your way.


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