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  1. #1
    Sara_Cheatham is offline Member
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    Fort Bragg, NC
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    Default Stop beating yourself up: Clean tips

    The clean is a finesse drill, meaning the difference between a solid, safe clean and a bruising clean, is in the details.

    Step 1: Starting Position
    From the quarter-squat position, reach out and grip the bell with one hand. The bell should be placed about a foot in front and center of you. With one hand on the bell, do not be tempted to place the other hand on your leg or hip. Leave the non-working hand free, out to the side. Look straight down at your bell, keeping the neck in line with the rest of the spine. The starting clean position is the same as the starting swing position.

    Step 2: The Loading Phase
    You should feel the hamstrings and glutes load as you hike the bell back, between your legs. The forearm should be close to the groin, even touching the inner thigh, on the back swing. Keep your neck elongated as the bell moves back. As soon as the bell clears your hips, quickly reverse the movement.

    Step 3: The Rack Position
    Snap the hips forward after the hike pass, just as you would in a kettlebell swing, only, do not over power the movement for the clean. Do not under power the hip snap either. An over-powered hip snap on a clean will surely give the bell enough energy to bruise your forearm. An under-powered clean will not give the bell enough energy to make it into the rack, and will result in more of a cheat curl than an effortless clean. As you progress, you will find just the right amount of power to get the bell from the hiked position to the raked position.

    As the bell swings forward from the hiked position, keep the upper arm attached to the upper body. The upper arm should stick to the rib cage in order to keep the bell from arcing too far away from the body and incidentally banging the wrist. A tighter arc results in a much less painful clean.

    Another technique to keep from banging the wrist is, as the bell reaches belly button level, aggressively pull the bell toward you then immediately punch through the kettlebell handle.

    The bell should land comfortably in the ‘V’ made by the upper and lower arm. As the bell lands in the ‘V’ of your arm, brace the abdomen as though someone were to punch you in the gut. Your glutes should also be tight at the top of the racked position to protect your low back. Bracing the abdomen and squeezing the glutes will help absorb the shock of the bell.

    In the proper racked position, the bell should rest low and comfortably in the ‘V’ of your arm with the shoulder sunken and relaxed and the wrist straight.

    Conclusion
    Finally, DO NOT OVER THINK THE CLEAN. Also do not over work the clean. If you are not getting the movement down, do not beat yourself up. Set the bell down and walk away or do a different drill. Improperly performing the clean is a painful experience. You may be surprised by the simplicity of clean and how easy it is, once you “get it.”

    Sara Cheatham M.S., Sr. RKC, Z-Health Master Trainer
    http://SaraCheathamsblog.blogspot.com
    http://RedStarAthletics.blogspot.com
    SaraCheatham@hotmail.com
    Facebook: Sara Cheatham
    "Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary." Warren Bennis

  2. #2
    sruiz is offline Senior Member
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    Oklahoma
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    Default

    Very nice explanation and corrections of a movement that is often "over-thought."
    Stephen "Steve" Ruiz, RKC, Z-Health Movement Performance Specialist (R,I,S)
    www.agelessathletics.com
    steve@agelessathletics.com

  3. #3
    Sara_Cheatham is offline Member
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    Default Thank you Steve!

    I couldn't agree more! It took me a full year of clean work to finally "get it." You have to catch the bell with your torso really, as opposed to the actual rack.
    Sara Cheatham M.S., Sr. RKC, Z-Health Master Trainer
    http://SaraCheathamsblog.blogspot.com
    http://RedStarAthletics.blogspot.com
    SaraCheatham@hotmail.com
    Facebook: Sara Cheatham
    "Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary." Warren Bennis

  4. #4
    Adam T Glass, RKC is offline Senior Member
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    Minot, ND
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sara_Cheatham View Post
    I couldn't agree more! It took me a full year of clean work to finally "get it." You have to catch the bell with your torso really, as opposed to the actual rack.

    Sara

    very precise, thanks for posting!

  5. #5
    dbt1959 is offline Member
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    S.F. Bay Area
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    Default

    Thanks for posting this clear concise description of what seems like a simple drill, until you start banging up your forearms. Also like Lauren Brooks video for its simplicity. Thoughts on this vid ?

    YouTube - Kettlebell Clean

  6. #6
    Peaceful John is offline Member
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    Nov 2008
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    Default

    Sara, that was a great post. Most helpful to me was your advice ("The upper arm should stick to the rib cage ...") to control arcing.

    Great job!

  7. #7
    specialk is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Hehe, I saw that video for the first time a few months ago, and I could safely say (even in the company of my wife) "geez, this woman looks like she belongs on Mount Olympus." Anyway, the wife's abs don't have to stand back for Ms Brooks's abs these days—big part of the reason why I don't buy into it when someone says "it's not about the kettlebell."

  8. #8
    dbt1959 is offline Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by specialk View Post
    Hehe, I saw that video for the first time a few months ago, and I could safely say (even in the company of my wife) "geez, this woman looks like she belongs on Mount Olympus." Anyway, the wife's abs don't have to stand back for Ms Brooks's abs these days—big part of the reason why I don't buy into it when someone says "it's not about the kettlebell."
    o
    Yes, Lauren has great abs (which I am sure have as much to do with diet as kbells), and is a good person to boot. Generous with her time and you have to hand it to her for emphasizing recovery post-pregnancy. Doing a lot of people a world of good there.

    But what I like about the vid is the brevity of the explanation, kind of like Sara's original post, and was looking for input as to Lauren's technique on the clean, because to me, it looks damn close to what Sara has written.

  9. #9
    mozz64 is offline Member
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    Apr 2009
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Default

    Hey Sara, you have DVD as well don't you? Can I assume it has more technique gems like this one?

    Cheers

  10. #10
    Chasonh is offline Member
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    Apr 2010
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    30

    Default Question re clean technique

    When I grip the KB in the clean position it doesn't reach the V of my elbow, but rests with its side against my mid forearm. Am I gripping it incorrectly or did I get the wrong size KB? It is a 16 KG. As such it is nailing me in the bony part of my foream, as opposed to the fleshy part by the elbow. The only way I can keep it from really hurting is to squeeze the handle with my grip really hard which decelerates the rotation of the KB and unloads it somewhat. This doesn't seem right intuitively and it seems that I must be doing something wrong. The pictures show the KB resting in the crook but the only way I can get it there is to completely bend my wrist back and open my palm, and I know that isn't right. If the way I am doing it is the way it is done, I don't see how I will ever get to heavier weights because of the demand on my grip.

    I am an experienced olympic lifter new to KBs, so I am very familiar with how to receive weights. The problem is not with using my body, but with the contact area.

    Please help.

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