The Kettlebell Clean

How to Use and Place the Kettlebell Clean

Here is a workout where we are using the clean to transition to a variety of moves from a fixed kettlebell position:

The clean is a fundamental kettlebell motion that often serves as a transition to other motions. When you clean the kettlebell, you are swinging the kettlebell back using the form of a kettlebell swing, but you will be breaking the motion the moment the kettlebell begins to come up from behind the legs. As the motion “breaks,” you are going to corkscrew or rotate the kettlebell up to a racked position at your chest.

  • Hold the kettlebell in a single-arm swing position.
  • The thumb should be facing the body (facing down/back, not facing up).
  • You will use a mini swing (the traditional swing form applies—remember to hinge!).
  • Start the mini swing, but break the motion of the full swing and rotate the kettlebell around the forearm as you bring it up to racked position at your chest.
  • At the top, the upper arm should be tight to the rib cage.
  • The kettlebell should be resting firmly and easily between the upper arm, forearm, and shoulder against the body (not out in any way).
  • The racked position of the bell should feel comfortable and natural; you should not be straining wrists or elbows, and the kettlebell should feel like it is resting on your forearm.
  • With a slight lift at the elbow, the kettlebell will drop between the legs as the hips move back in a hinge and you continue to the next rep of your clean.
  • Make sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of the clean, just like you would in your kettlebell swing.


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