Kettlebell Clean and Press Exercise

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Kettlebell Clean and Press Exercise Guide

The kettlebell clean and press is one of the most popular moves because it works so many muscle groups and it’s also very fun. It does take a good amount of strength so it’s best to do this move with a lighter weight of kettlebell when you are new and are not in great shape. Perfect form is therefore essential here to avoid injury.

Before trying to perform this great kettlebell exercise be sure that you have completely mastered the following kettlebell exercises:

Once you have completely mastered these two exercises you are ready for the next step – the kettlebell clean and press. This is due to the fact that this exercise is simply a combination of the two already mentioned exercises.

Kettlebell clean and press: exercise instructions

To do the kettlebell clean and press, combine the kettlebell clean and the kettlebell shoulder press by following the earlier instructions for each kettlebell exercise. Perform a clean, and, from the rack position, press the kettlebell up and bring it down to the rack position. Then re-clean the bell and perform another press, repeating for the recommended number of repetitions on each side. One complete clean and press equals one repetition.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to perform the one-arm kettlebell clean and press.

one-arm kettlebell clean and press

one-arm kettlebell clean and press

  • Use the exact same motion as described in the clean (one-arm or two-arm kettlebell clean).
  • Once the kettlebell is in a racked position, instead of bringing it back down, continue to press the kettlebell up overhead.
  • In other words, press the kettlebell directly above your shoulders until your arm is completely straight.
  • Continue down from the press to racked position; from this position continue right back down to perform your next set of a clean to press.

Additional tips

  • To perform the press you must begin from the rack position, achieved by doing the kettlebell clean.
  • Do not curl up the kettlebell. Remember it’s not a curl; it’s a clean.
  • Do not bang your wrist with the kettlebell; the motion must be seamless.

Muscles worked

This is a powerful exercise that combines upper and lower body strength and power. The clean and press is a complete workout, hitting nearly every muscle in the body.

Muscles engaged: shoulders, biceps, quads, core, triceps, middle and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, outer thighs.

Exercise variations

Double kettlebell clean and press

double kettlebell clean and press

  • Use the exact same motion as described in the double kettlebell clean.
  • Once the kettlebells are in a racked position, instead of bringing them back down, continue to press the kettlebells up overhead.
  • For the second part of the exercise use the same exact form as illustrated in the double kettlebell shoulder press step-by-step instructions.
  • Continue down from the press to racked position.
  • And finally, from the racked position continue right back down to perform your next set of a clean to press.

Closing thoughts

The kettlebell clean and press adds a more dynamic element to the plain military press. The clean is typically thought of as a ballistic kettlebell exercise, while the kettlebell military press is a grind movement. Put the two together and you have a very challenging exercise that literally works every major muscle group in your body.

Furthermore, the kettlebell clean and press is a superb developer of the upper body (especially for the shoulders) and, when done for volume training, can be pretty taxing on your cardiovascular system.

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