The kettlebell clean and press is a great functional exercise for strength, balance and coordination. This tutorial includes the proper technique to perform it for improved stability and higher upper body strength.
The kettlebell clean and press is a great functional exercise for strength, balance and coordination.
Before attempting this exercise, it is essential to master the necessary skills of kettlebell training, including correct grip, kettlebell deadlift, and proper clean to rack position (front of shoulder). With this mind, use a lighter kettlebell before progressing to heavier loads.
In a standing position with feet hip/shoulder-width apart, position the kettlebell between the feet.
Engage the core and set the shoulders and bend down to grab the kettlebell. Straighten the legs as you lift the kettlebell upwards. When the kettlebell is just above knee level, drive the hips quickly forwards and upwards. Simultaneously pull the shoulders back and clean the kettlebell to the rack position (front of shoulder).
Regain your balance/foot position before pressing the kettlebell overhead.
Return the kettlebell to the rack position (under control) and gently lower to the ground.
Repeat for reps or time before switching sides.
One of the biggest causes of injury is the asymmetry of movement. We live in a world where we are regularly required to bend, lift, carry loads that are not equally balanced. Regular gym programs tend to be symmetrical, mainly if they are machine-based. Therefore, when activities require us to load asymmetrically, we are unable to do so with excellent stability and balance.
Kettlebells and other free weights that require unilateral loading can help to address these imbalances and allow us to develop balanced strength, power and control quickly. Also, the unique shape of the kettlebell allows for higher demands on mobility and core control.
The kettlebell clean and press is a whole-body exercise, and as such will produce a significant increase in heart rate. Combined with the high level of skill it requires, it should initially be drilled at lower reps – for example, 4-6 reps. Once you have mastered the technique and have developed good cardiorespiratory capacity, you can start to increase the load and reps.