How To Do The Kettlebell Clean And Press

Kettlebell Clean And Press
(Image credit: Unknown)

Sometimes when you try to combine two exercises into one, it just doesn’t work. Trying to do biceps curls at the same time as press-ups, for example, is only going to result in you falling flat on your face. However, most of the time, creating a hybrid megamove ramps up the benefits and makes for a great way to get more done in limited workout time.

The kettlebell clean and press is a superb example of this. The clean hits your lower body, the press works your upper body, and the combination is a full-body monster that targets so many muscle groups it’s going to be ridiculous when we list them in the next sentence. Deep breath: hamstrings, glutes, quads, hip flexors, abs, upper back, traps and lats, shoulders, chest and triceps. TL;DR – most of the muscles.

It’s also an exercise that does wonders for your stability and co-ordination, and working with a kettlebell in one hand at a time helps to iron out any strength imbalances that might have developed in your body from crushing too many barbell workouts.

All these benefits, however, rely on you nailing the form. It’s an explosive exercise that requires constant control of the kettlebell, so pay close attention to our form guide. Oh, and it’s probably wise to take off your fitness tracker or watch for this one, unless it can handle a hefty weight repeatedly swinging into it.

How To Do The Kettlebell Clean And Press

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hips to reach down and grab the kettlebell with one hand. Swing it back between your legs and then use the momentum created to swing it forwards and up, driving your hips forwards and straightening your back. Once the kettlebell gets above bellybutton height, pull it back and move your hand under it so the bell rests against the back of your wrist. This is known as the rack position, and it’s also the moment which will make you regret forgetting to take your watch off.

At this point in the kettlebell clean exercise, you’d reverse the movement and swing it back down, but we’re only half done here folks, get ready for the tough(er) bit.

In the rack position the kettlebell should be just below shoulder height and your elbow should be tucked in to your chest. Press the kettlebell straight up above your head until your arm is straight, then lower it back to the rack position. Finally, reverse the clean movement and take the kettlebell down to swing between your legs.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.