Cleaning up your Clean
This week at BHKC we are focusing on The Clean. The Clean is a fundamental kettlebell exercise that sets up a good squat, press, or any number of kettlebell swings and complexes. The Clean is also one of the more difficult and complex movements that we perform. The most important thing to remember when you clean is that you want to keep the bells close to your body. If you let the momentum of the bells take you forward, they will inevitably come back towards you in the form of nasty bruises on your wrists. Instead, you want to take any forward momentum and absorb it by pulling your elbows straight back behind you, and then guide the bells to your shoulders.
In a hang clean, the movement on the left, the bells hang between the knees. They then travel in a straight line from the knees to the shoulders. The elbows move back with an explosive pull, the hips snap forward just like a swing, and the bells fly to the rack position, where you catch them with a quick, uppercut motion. You want to throw the bells to the top, with a loose grip, not lift them. It's not a bicep curl.
In the swing clean, the video on the right, your job is harder because the forward momentum of the swing is much harder to contain and change direction. It makes the pull back with your elbows much more important, but the fundamentals are all the same.
In both movements, the bells should come to rest gently in the rack position at the same time your hips and knees lock out. Own that top position. Squeeze your glutes, core, and quads. make sure your forearms are vertical, your wrists are straight, your elbows are hugging your ribs, and the bells hang outside your mass. Pull your shoulder blades down in back and quiet all of the motion into a tense, coiled spring. This will make your press or squat stronger and safer.
I wish I could take credit for Michelle's clean, but alas, she learned from another StrongFirst certified trainer. :)
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