Kettlebell Cleans and Variations


The kettlebell clean is important because it gives us a great starting point for a lot of other kettlebell movements to explore and build strength with.

The Basic Kettlebell Clean

When the kettlebell swings forward past the knees, the hips are at full extension, retract the shoulder blade and pull the bell in towards the body (0:40). This brings the bell to the rack position which is the starting point for a number of variations (demonstrated in video below).

The Kettlebell Clean to Goblet Position

Repeat the movement from above and as the bell rises, turn it over so you catch the bell by the horns on both sides with both hands (0:58) with the bottom of the bell facing upward. Make sure you are using a weight you can control because you do have to release the weight in the air to clean it to the goblet squat position. When in chest position you can squat, lunge, overhead press, do a thruster or a halo.


Kettlebell Clean to Bottoms Up

Make sure to use a weight you can maintain the bottoms up position. Clean the bell as above but hold onto the bell and turn it over so that as you clean it to the rack position it is upside down being held by one arm by the handle not the horn (1:50). This is a great starting place to challenge yourself with presses, windmills and Turkish Get Ups. We have published before about how simply changing your grip on the kettlebell you can make the same weight harder or easier. The Bottoms Up method definitely makes any movement more challenging.


Kettlebell Clean to Open Palm Catch

Perform the basic clean movement mentioned at the beginning, but as you pull you are going to release the bell entirely and catch the bell upside down on the spherical portion of the kettlebell in your palm (2:30). Make sure to use a weight you can control and practice your coordination with first. This is a tough movement, it can help build skill transfer and coordination but it is a tough movement so make sure you have full control of the bell. From this position you can press as well as lunge.