Saturday, November 22, 2008 by Daniel

Death by Kettlebell Clean

In the final installment of his "Death by..." skill-work series, Max chose KB Cleans. I have a rocky history with these. They were part of the workout that killed my shoulder (though it was really the push-jerks that were responsible). And there's just no getting around the fact that 1.5 pood is pretty damn heavy.

With a continuously running clock do one 1.5P/1.0P kettlebell clean the first minute, two 1.5P/1.0P kettlebell cleans the second minute, three 1.5P/1.0P kettlebell cleans the third minute... continuing as long as you are able.

17 rounds + 12 RX. (165 reps)

I alternated hands on each round, but it still rubbed my palms raw. Max frequently chided me that I was "too far out in space" on the cleans - which eventually I translated to mean I was sending them out too far in front of me on an arc like a KB swing. On the reps that FELT right, the kettlebell acted like it simply being pulled up on a string in a straight line. I was able to get this sometimes. Other times it bashed the hell out of my biceps and forearms.

After I was knocked out of the running, I watched others and realized that they seemed to be twisting their bodies and using their lats more than I think I was. I tried to practice a few more after taking a break to trying using more of my back, but was too tired and raw. I'll have to try again later.

Tomorrow is the culmination of all four movements, plus a little sprinting. It looks horribly brutal. Should be fun.

4 comments:

Howie Brewer said...

Dude, you should NOT be bashing your biceps or forearms when performing cleans. They should be nice and smooth. Although it might sound crazy, practice some double cleans. They force you to use good form. Once you feel the 'groove' that you should be in, use that to translate over when you do one arm work.

Maximus Lewin said...

Actually you were getting it too far out to the side and too far back. It should end up right under your chin, like the guy in the photo above (Howie). In order to figure this out, start making contact between fist and chin on every rep.

Melissa Byers said...
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Melissa Byers said...

Twisting your body when performing a clean is bad form. It means you are either ineffectively incorporating the hip drive or... well, that's pretty much it. There shouldn't be any lat involvement in the pull, although I can see the argument for keeping the lats tight to maintain a retracted shoulder and perhaps to stabilize the KB as it hits the rack position.

Practice doing cleans facing a wall, then do them with your clean arm NEXT to the wall. That will help you from doing them in a loopy outward fashion and racking too far outside your body. Or you'll put a hole in the wall. Either way.

I often say a clean is like zipping up a jacket - the movement is very close to the body, right up the middle. And keeping your elbow GLUED to your side through the entire movement also keeps it tight.

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