Kettlebell Clean Tutorial


“Cleans are a swing that ends in the rack” - Iron Tamer Dave Whitley

The kettlebell clean is a movement to bring the kettlebell from the floor to a racked position ready for pressing or squatting. Heavy cleans also make for a great arm workout. 

You can simplify the idea of the kettlebell clean by likening it to a one arm swing with an elbow hinge which allows you to catch the weight in the rack position. Despite this simple explanation the clean can be tricky movement to learn. Often the timing and grip is wrong so the kettlebell comes crashing down on the participants forearm. Watch my youtube video or read the description below to sharpen up your kettlebell clean  to make it smooth, crisp and pain free. 

Remember before you attempt the kettlebell clean make sure you can do the kettlebell swing first. Here's a link to the kettlebell swing blog if you missed it.  Kettlebell Swing Tutorial

1. Set Up

Use the same set up position as if getting ready for the kettlebell swing with just one arm. 

Single arm Swing Set up 45.jpg

2. Hike pass

Hike pass the kettlebell behind you as if it were a rugby ball.

Once the kettlebell has gone between your legs use the hip drive to project the kettlebell forward for the up swing.

3. Up Swing

After the hip drive there are three movement skills to consider.

First, on the up swing allow the hand to rotate 90 degrees from palm down to palm facing to the side.

Second, as the hand rotates allow the elbow to hinge without tension.

Third, keep the grip on the kettlebell loose enough so that the kettlebell can move freely.

When master these skills with perfect timing the kettlebell should end up resting painlessly on your vertical forearm with upper arm attached to your body and wrist straight. When you don’t get it right the kettlebell will coming crashing onto your arm . 


rack position

4. Rack Position

Let out a hisss as you breathe out and brace your body when catching the kettlebell in the rack position.

From the rack position gently project the kettlebell away from you allowing the kettlebell to float back down to the loaded position.  Repeat for the required number of repetitions.


Coaching tips

  1. Brace yourself in the rack position to help maintain stability.
  2. Feel the upper arm connected to the body.
  3. Think of the rack position being like a boxers guard.