Exercise: Clean

The CLEAN is sometimes used as an exercise for strength or endurance: however, it is more often used as safe means to get the KB(s) to your shoulder(s) for other drills.  This is a basic, traditional drill that every kettlebell lifter needs to master.


  • All the points that apply to the SWING apply to the CLEAN, minus the straight-arm requirement.
  • The kettlebell, elbow and torso must become “one” on the top of the clean.
  • The shoulder must be pressed down. (Figure 1)
  • Keep the wrists straight; no flexion!
  • The arms must stay loose, and the hips must do all the work. (Figure 2)
  • The kettlebells must travel the shortest distance possible – following a vertical rather than arching path. (Figure 3)
  • The KB should “roll” up and over onto the forearm on both the negative and on the positive.  Do not allow the KB to flip up and “crash” on your forearm. (Figure 4)
  • Upon impact, tighten the abs and let our a little bit of air (similar to a boxer exhaling with every punch).


  • Master the clean in reverse:  place the KB in the “rack” position, then drop to the bottom position before attempting the proper clean.
  • Even with perfect technique, build up the volume very gradually; give your elbows and forearms time to adapt.
  • “Receive” the KB; don’t let it bang your forearms.
  • Ladies should not allow their arms or the KB hit their breasts.
  • Contracting your glutes and abs hard will generate the power necessary to project the KB.


  • Clean with one KB.
  • Clean with two KBs simultaneously.
  • Clean two KBs alternating like a “See-Saw”.

Rack both KBs and clean one, then the other (each side taking a turn).