When used consistently the Kettlebell Clean and Jerk will develop strength, power, and help you condition your body.
When used with a lighter weight it is a great way to burn a high number of calories.
The first thing we are going to cover is the difference between an overhead press and the Jerk.
When you are performing an overhead press, your feet stay firmly planted. You will then use your shoulder and arm power to move the weight overhead.
When you are doing a Jerk, you will first use your legs to create momentum to drive the bar upwards. Then you will either Split or Squat under the bar. You only use the arms to help push your body under the weight.
To perform this movement, you need to have good shoulder mobility, overhead stability, and leg strength.
In this article, we will detail how you perform the Kettlebell Clean and Jerk exercise with video and image Demonstrations.
A step by step walkthrough describing exactly how to execute the movement.
Its difficulty rating and the different equipment you need to perform it.
The different muscles that get worked. Benefits you get when adding it into your training routine.
The article will also cover some training tips to help ensure you do not make some of the more frequent errors commonly made.
Finally, we will provide some different exercise that uses similar muscle groups as this exercise.
Kettlebell clean and jerk How to Guide
Step by Step Description
Step 1: Place a Kettlebell on the floor between your legs and grab the handle. Your feet should be approximately shoulder width apart or slightly wider.
Step 2: Clean the kettlebell to your shoulder by pushing your hips backward while looking forward. Grab the handle of the kettlebell with an overhand grip.
Extending through your legs and hips creating momentum to pull the kettlebell towards your shoulder. When the kettlebell is near chest level, rotate your wrist and move the kettlebell into the racked position. Your palm should now be facing forwards.
Step 3: Keep your body upright and bend at the knees to dip your body downwards.
Step 4: Now quickly reverse direction. Drive through your heels, in essence jumping to create an upwards momentum. The energy created by changing direction is what you are going to use to lift the kettlebell upwards. Use your arm to move under the weight and press the kettlebell extending your elbow to the lockout position. Remember it is the momentum created earlier that should be moving the weight overhead.
Step 5: Now receive the weight overhead by using a squat position under the weight.
Step 6: With the weight still overhead return to the standing position. Return the weight back to the floor.
Congratulations you have just completed your first repetition of the Kettlebell Clean and Jerk.
Two-Arm Kettlebell clean and jerk Video
It is rated at an intermediate difficulty level.
This movement is a Compound lift and is used to create total body power and can also help to condition your cardiovascular system.
To condition your cardiovascular system and endurance, use a lighter weight that allows you to perform 15 or more repetitions.
If you want to use this lift to develop explosive power, and strength, you should use a weight where you can only complete 3 to 5 repetitions.
Balanced lifters clean & jerk approximately 120% of the weight they can snatch.
If you are looking for some training to help you progress to this lift, you should start with the Push Press.
The Push Press will teach you how to start using momentum to help get the weight over your head. It will also build the foundation for strong shoulders and a stable core.
Once you are comfortable using momentum and having a heavy weight overhead, you will progress to the Push Jerk.
Push Jerks use a more advanced movement pattern. You will need to re-bend the knees after using momentum to drive the weight up.
The Push Jerk will train you on how to catch an overhead weight with your legs.
For this variation of the Clean and Jerk, you will need a kettlebell.
The Kettlebell Clean and Jerk is a full body exercise that will test most of the muscles in your body.
The primary muscles that get trained with this lift are your Shoulders, Traps, Glutes, Hamstrings and the Quadriceps.
The lift will also help to train your calves, and triceps but to a much lesser degree.
It also uses your core muscles to stabilize your body when you are performing the lift.
Benefits of the kettlebell clean and jerk
Allows you to perform shorter workouts and still strengthen your whole body, increase muscle endurance, and improve your overall conditioning.
Like many other Olympic lifts it is shown to increase sprinting speed and jumping ability. These improvements translate into better athletic performance in many different sports.
Using kettlebells gives you the option to perform this exercise with either both arms at once, or you can alternate the arm that gets pressed overhead.
Using Olympic lifts allows you to train your entire body as a unit.
If you are first starting out with this exercise, use a lightweight to limit your chance of injury. You need to focus on your technique in the beginning and slowly increase the weight.
Keep your core engaged when you are performing the exercise
Focus on moving the energy from your squat into the kettlebell to get the weight over your head. Using the momentum from your squat is the only way you will be able to get under and catch the weight with a locked arm. Otherwise, you will be pressing the weight using your shoulder and triceps (also known as the push press).
Variations of kettlebell clean and jerk
Barbell Clean and Jerk
Dumbbell Clean and Jerk
Use the Kettlebell Clean and Jerk to develop explosive power and strength.
Many CrossFit centers like to use this exercise with a lighter weight and include it into an HIIT form of training.
If you plan to use this exercise with an HIIT training routine try out our free online HIIT Timer. There is no registration required for you to use it.
This exercise is not for beginners. You should have several months of kettlebell training before adding it into your training routine.
If you are new to Kettlebell lifting, you need first to learn the big six before progressing to this lift.
- The Swing
- The Squat
- The Turkish Getup
- The Clean
- The Press
- The Snatch
After you are comfortable with all of these lifts, then you can start adding the Clean and Jerk to your lifting routine.
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