The Single-Arm Kettlebell Clean: Techniques, Benefits, and Variations
A foundational movement, the kettlebell clean is a full-body movement that builds power and explosive hips.
We'll dissect the single-arm kettlebell clean so that you can improve your technique, performance, and training.
- The kettlebell clean is a dynamic movement that requires strength, mobility, explosiveness, and proper technique.
- The kettlebell clean takes the bell from the floor to the racked position in one fluid motion.
- A more advanced movement, proper technique is needed to perform the kettlebell clean correctly to improve training and reduce the risk of injury.
- There are many variations of the kettlebell clean that can be used to build strength, mobility, and coordination.
KETTLEBELL CLEAN TARGET MUSCLES
Commonly mistaken as an arm exercise, the kettlebell clean is a full-body exercise that works the upper body as well as lower body and specifically targets these major muscle groups:
HOW TO PERFORM THE KETTLEBELL CLEAN
THE RIGHT WEIGHT
Choosing the right kettlebell weight depends on your:
- Strength and Mobility
- Experience and Expertise
- Training Program
If you're new to kettlebells or the kettlebell clean, choose a lightweight bell to practice your form and focus on punching through the kettlebell to avoid the bell clanging on your wrists.
If you're experienced with kettlebells, the weight you choose depends on your rep ranges.
STRENGTH TRAINING: Grab a heavy kettlebell and bang out 1-6 reps.
HYPERTROPHY: Choose a medium-heavy kettlebell for 8-12 reps.
ENDURANCE: Grab a medium kettlebell and pump out 15-20 reps
*Advanced athletes can benefit from double kettlebell cleans to improve explosiveness and power.
THE STARTING POSITION
*This is the starting position for a single-arm dead clean.
Stand with your feet at a shoulder-width distance. The kettlebell will be placed directly under you, centered between your feet.
Slightly bend your knees, hinge at the hips, and extend your arm to grip the bell.
In this position, your hips will remain high. Make sure not to bend too much at the knees and drop your hips.
Use one hand to grip the kettlebell handle with an overhand grip.
(Four fingers in front with your thumb wrapped around the back.)
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell directly under you and centered between your feet.
Slightly bend the knees, hinge forward at the hips, extend one arm, and grip the bell.
Engage your core and glutes, keep your arms long, and back strong.
In one fluid motion, push through your feet, explode your hips forward, while simultaneously lifting the bell up towards your hips.
Punch your elbow into the side of your body and get your forearm in an upward position.
The kettlebell will revolve into the rack position.
Like many kettlebell exercises, the kettlebell single-arm kettlebell clean should be performed in one controlled movement. If you are unable to do so, lower your kettlebell weight or start off with the standard double hand kettlebell clean before advancing to the single-arm clean.
KETTLEBELL CLEAN BENEFITS
Single-arm kettlebell cleans have ample benefits that include:
- Full Body Workout
- Aids in Fat Loss
- Benefits Cardiovascular Health
- Improves Explosive Power
FULL BODY WORKOUT
The kettlebell clean is a dynamic movement that works the entire body to improve full-body strength.
Although there are certain muscles groups that the clean puts more emphasis on, it is considered to be a full-body exercise because of the number of muscles worked in one single movement.
AIDS IN FAT LOSS
Another benefit of full-body exercise is that the more muscles worked, the greater the fat loss.
BENEFITS CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Single arms cleans can be used to build cardio and get that heart rate pumping.
Choose a medium to heavy bell and increase your reps to hit your cardio.
Single-arm kettlebell cleans can also be added to circuits and flows for cardio work.
IMPROVES EXPLOSIVE POWER
It's all in the hips.
Remember, the kettlebell clean is not an arm exercise. You need to explode your hips for a proper clean.
Build your explosive power by loading the weight and increasing reps over time.
KETTLEBELL CLEAN VARIATIONS
Whether it's single, dual, or added to a flow, there are many variations of the kettlebell clean. Here's a few of our favorites:
- Kettlebell Clean and Press
- Kettlebell Clean and Jerk
- Kettlebell Clean Squat Press
- Kettlebell Clean - Reverse Lunge
CLEAN AND PRESS
A combination of the single-arm clean and strict press.
*Remember when performing the strict press, keep your core engaged, legs planted, and only use your arm to punch the bell to the sky.
CLEAN AND JERK
The clean and jerk combine the single-arm clean and jerk motion.
Unlike a strict press, after cleaning the bell into the front rack position, slightly bend at the knees to generate power, push through your feet to ascend, and punch the kettlebell overhead in one single motion.
CLEAN SQUAT PRESS
Three movements combined into one, the kettlebell clean, squat, and press is great for cardiovascular work.
- Clean the kettlebell into the racked position.
- Descend into a deep squat with the bell racked.
- Push through the ground into a long press.
CLEAN REVERSE LUNGE
The trickiest of them all, the clean reverse lunge requires strength, coordination, and single-leg mobility.
THE BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING
First, kettlebells are efficient and portable - all you need is a bell.
Kettlebell workouts can be used for strength, cardio, mobility, grip strength, and functional fitness.
No matter your goals - you won't regret picking up a bell.
Don't have a kettlebell? Try these alternatives:
- Dumbbell Cleans
- Barbell Cleans
WANT MORE KETTLEBELL EXERCISES?
Give these articles a look:
KETTLEBELL MOVEMENT BREAKDOWNS:
KETTLEBELL TRAINING AND WORKOUTS:
Check out these articles for free workouts!