The Kettlebell Clean is often overlooked as an essential exercise because it lacks the “sexiness” of the Swing and Snatch, the power of the Squat and Press and it does not stimulate the intrigue of the Turkish Get-up. However, couple your Swings with Cleans or perform a chain with a Swing, a Clean and a Snatch and you’ll have some great routines. Also, if you want to perform your Presses and Squats, how will you get your Kettlebells into the Racked position? You got it, The Kettlebell Clean.
In all of it’s simplicity, the Clean is more often performed incorrectly. This results in bruised wrists, strained biceps, elbows or forearms as well a faulty rack incapable of providing a stable starting point for your Press or Squat. Also, casting of the Kettlebell on the decent will place undue stress on the low back and possibly result in a face-plant!
Simply put, a Clean is nothing more than a Swing with your elbows pinned to your sides. There is no jerking up into the position, nor is there an“curling” of the bell into the rack (try to use that method to rack the Beast and let me know how many pieces you shred your bicep into). I have also found that teaching people how to Clean two kettlebells at once is easier. The students don’t have to be concerned with over rotating one hip and they are also psyched about using two Kettlebells at the same time. Once they have the idea that the Clean is identical to the swing at the start point, exhale and hip movement, the Clean becomes easier to perform. Pay particular attention to the breathing aspect. The breath of the Clean occurs at the exact point as your exhale while performing the Swing – at the top of the hip motion when your knee caps are drawn into you quads and your legs are locked. The sharp exhale does not occur when the Kettlebells are in the Rack, it happens slightly before. This simple tip will significantly reduce the the amount of “smashing” that occurs on your wrists. At this point, the top of the Swing portion of the clean, you stop pulling and allow the Kettlebells to “float” into position. The float will occur only when your breath is timed correctly and you allow the bells to achieve the Rack position without using your arms to pull.
If you find that you are “curling” the bell during your Cleans, use a heavier bell. This will cure many issues because you will not be able to “curl” a heavier bell into position. Once your technique improves, you should be able to execute proper form of your Cleans with any sized bell. For one to attain mastery of the Clean, the technique should look identical, regardless of the size of the Kettlebell.
There are also several extremely beneficial variations of the Clean. Alternating Cleans provide an incredible core workout, Bottoms-up Clean and Hold are one of the best grip development exercises available. Have Cleans as part of any Chain or Complex for a transitory or additional movement to enhance the circuit.
The Kettlebell Clean is not only essential for transitions from one movement to another, but it is an incredible exercise for going from ballistic to static to ballistic again. The athletic application from the Clean is is beneficial for development of power for strikes, throws, synergy of upper and lower body movements, not to mention the incredible way it develops superior core strength.
Good luck with your Training!
Strength & Honor
The Dirty Dozen Exercises: Move #2, The Bridge
The Kettlebell Swing: Often to referred to as the “Mother of All Kettlebell Exercises” and is the root of all Kettlebell Training. The Kettlebell Swing is not only the basis but one of the biggest differentiators between Kettlebell Training and other strength and conditioning systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by the development of the hip hinge, hamstring and glute recruitment through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly. In addition, the incredible rooting effect for power transference through the body is applicable to improved performance in virtually all sports and strength performance.
The Kettlebell Swing has so many benefits, yet many go untapped through poor execution. I’ve had people walk into my studio claiming “I love to swing, I do tons of them all of the time.” Then I watch them swing – Ooof! I don’t know where the heck they learned to “swing”, but now I know why they thought that swings were easy! No eccentric/concentric motion, shoulder’s not packed, no rooting, legs bent at the top and to much at the bottom, chicken necking so much that I thought was I hanging with Frank Perdue, lats not engaged, power leaks all over!
Now that we’ve looked at the poor examples, how do we execute the swing? Step one, find a quality instructor or at least purchase some DVDs or get your hands on a video program from one of the top flight RKC Instructors. I will mention, no matter how good a video is, nothing replaces working under the scrutiny of a qualified Kettlebell Instructor.
Starting from the ground up, let’s consider our feet. First make certain that your feet are the correct width apart. If they are too close, you’ll never be able to swing the bell between your legs. If they are too far apart, you won’t be able to completely fire your gluteus, thus leaking power. Additionally, you will tax your hip flexors more which could result in injury. Rooting with the floor is key. Take advantage of the feedback from your feet with the floor. Establishing that that intimate contact with the floor creates a map of you body’s nervous system and helps facilitate feedback and feedforward of movement. Draw your kneecaps up into your quadriceps as you lock out your knees. This should happen simultaneously to the driving of your coccyx to your naval and the contraction of your gluteus. While all of this in occurring, you need to shorten your abdominals by “zipping up” and exhaling a short, hard purposeful breath. Pack your shoulders and engage the lats as the power of the swing travels from the ground, through your feet, into your legs and through you hips and gluteus, up into your lats, passing through your arms and shoots out of the bottom of the Kettlebell. When you are swinging, think of “hips and grips”. It’s also very important that you go between full relaxation and full tension. This is how to develop incredibly useful strength!
There are quite a few swing variations. There are the two hand swings, the one hand swing, hopping lateral swing, hand to hand swing, dual bell swing, dead start swing, walking swings and the much maligned bottoms up swing, to name a few. All of the same principles apply to all of the swing variations, however there are certain unique benefits to each variation. Check out the accompanying video demonstrating some of the variations of the swing.
Now its time to get off of the computer and start swinging!
Zack Fox began his Martial Arts training here at American Eagle MMA in June of 2012. However, Zack arrived at the AEMMA Academy with quite a solid list of athletic accomplishments. Zack was a High School All American Lacrosse player for Don Bosco Prep and an NCAA Division 1 Recruit for St. John’s University. Zack was also a Jr. National Power Lifting Champion and now at a weight of 195lbs, has a bench press of 520, a squat of 680 and pulls another 680 in the dead lift.
Despite having no wrestling experience or any other prior combat experience, Zack began competing in Jiu Jitsu after only 5 weeks of training at the AEMMA Academy. He placed second in the White Belt Gi Division after training only 9 weeks and after only 3 months of training he secured his first Championship at the NAGA North American Championships on November 17th, 2012. We are anticipating a lot of achievements from this young competitor. Zack is also HKC Kettlebell Certified and is a personal strength & fitness trainer at the AEMMA Academy.
On April 20th, 2013, Zack Fox added a NAGA World Championship to his list of accomplishments. He won the Cruiserweight, Beginner Title in the No-Gi Competition.
American Eagle MMA’s Chief Instructor, Master Phil Ross won two First Place Awards in one day while competing in the NAGA Battle at the Beach competition in 2010. He was crowned champion in the Executive No-Gi competition and after only training with a Gi for 3 months, bested 48 competitors in the Gi competition. Master Ross was almost 48 at the time and competed in the 18 to 29 age bracket. He went undefeated and unscored upon throughout the competition and secured two submission victories.
After having won well over 300 fights in various disciplines, Master Ross no longer competes and focuses his energy on training his up and coming fighters, students and conducting seminars.
A Worldwide Neckademic is coming!
There will be Neckademic in this country and maybe worldwide as well. I’m on my way to train with one of the world’s premiere experts on physical fitness and strength this weekend. I am taking the train to the plane and I see a great deal of people hunched over their PDA’s, laptops and other devices. Their eyes down, necks bent forward as their slumped shoulders end in fingers rapidly sliding on screens or pounding on keyboards. Their postures are horrible as they tune out the rest of the world while immersed in their little cyber world. Does anyone else see this?
I’m not espousing the elimination of electronic devises by any means whatsoever. However, use them responsibly. Just like you should not text while driving, take care of your neck and spine as well. Every inch that your head protrudes past your median point doubles the amount of weight placed upon your neck. If you have your head jutting out a few inches past your chest, you could have up to 40 pounds or more hanging off of your neck! That’s quite a bit of stress on your cervical spine.
How do we combat this?
1) Be conscious of your neck and alignment and where your head is positioned.
2) Avoid the “hunched over” position or at least do not stay in it too long.
3) Develop neck strength through exercise and stretching.
4) Activate your rhomboids through scapular contraction. This will help keep your shoulders back and your thoracic region in line which will also help your cervical spine keep alignment.
5) I have included a link to a youtube video that I put together with some neck exercises. These exercises are a good place to start.
Be sure to visit www.kettlebellking.com for S.W.A.T. Kettlebell workshops, classes and both online and video training on DVD.
My Best Friend: Are you a fitness enthusiast that takes their running shoes on trips, only to feel uncomfortable road running in unfamiliar areas? Are you tired of endlessly waiting for cardio equipment to free up at your gym, only to feel like a hamster running on a wheel? Do you love to run outdoors, yet shy away from putting on five layers of under-armor and sweats on in order to brave the sub arctic temperatures?
Well, let me introduce you to my “Best Friend”, the jump rope. You can take it anywhere, you do not need much space, it does not matter what the weather is like outside, you do not need expensive equipment ($2.00 to $20.00 for a rope, my favorite costs $8.00) and you can vary the routines and movements to keep it interesting. My Grandfather was a boxing trainer in Paterson, NJ back in the 30’s, 40’s and into the 50’s. He instructed me on how to jump rope as a teenager as a means to improve my foot speed and endurance for wrestling and football. I then began to realize the incredible benefits of jumping rope.
If you jump rope at a good pace for 5 minutes, it’s equivalent to running a mile! The coordination of your hands and feet moving in rhythm with each other is essential for a fighter. All of my martial arts classes begin with 3 to 5 minutes of jumping rope. In addition to the coordination development, jumping rope is an incredible means to warm up the body.
Even if you are a beginner and you miss on your jump, keep moving your feet. To learn how to jump, here are a couple of tips:
1) Play some music that you like with a good beat. You should put together a playlist for at least the same amount of time that you want to jump for. Use your favorite, upbeat songs & make a mix. Or, for those with obsessive, manic personalities, repeat the same song as an extended version. This also helps you jump rope longer. You basically fool your self into NOT thinking that you are jumping that long.
2) To initially get your timing, watch as the rope hits the ground. That’s when you time your jump. It may take a few weeks to get your timing, but keep working, it will eventually happen.
3) If you are still having issues, try putting the rope in one hand and jump up and down while rotating your wrist. This will help you to find your timing.
4) Remember the less movement of your arms, the better. Your wrists are the primary focus of the rotation. Try also to keep them in the same spot, approximately at the level between the bottom of your chest and the top of your hips. This does not hold true when you are doing more advanced movements, like crossing the rope or double jumps.
5) You do not have to jump very high. You only need to jump high enough to allow the thin rope to pass under your feet. Get your rhythm and all else will fall into place.
If you’d like to workout the rest of your body, try performing push-ups and abdominal exercises in a rotation with jumping rope. You can start with 100 jumps, 20 push – ups and 30 abdominals. Start with 3 rotations and then increase to 5. You may also execute additional push – ups or abdominals. What a great way to start the day!
Victory Favors the Prepared!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach me at HYPERLINK “http://www.philross.com” www.philross.com.
Phil Ross/ American Eagle MAA
500 Barnett Place
Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey 07423 United States
Mailing Address :
P.O. Box 220
Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey 07423 United States
Phone : (201) 612-1429
Contact : Philip Ross