Module FOUR:
The Kettlebell CLEAN & PRESS

The Kettlebell Clean and Press combines 2 exercises the Kettlebell Clean and the Overhead Press. A powerful exercise that combines upper and lower body strength. This module will coach both the clean & press individually so that you can practice each one before combining them both.

The Kettlebell Clean is another fantastic exercise which focuses on targeting the leg and core muscles.


The overall idea is essentially picking up the kettlebell from rest position on the floor (or from a hanging) and bringing it to “rack” position at shoulder height. It should be a smooth movement and no banging of the wrist, forearm or chest.

From this racked position you can then: Press, Lunge, Squat, Clean again, Do your weekly shop or just Rest.

The movement focuses on generating the power through the legs and using the momentum from the hips in order to bring the kettlebell the rest of the way up off the ground helping strengthen the lower body. 


This exercise builds on the kettlebell swings and is a good “bridge” between the kettlebell swing and the kettlebell snatch and other more complex full-body movements.


The kettlebell clean helps build the movement where we transfer power from the legs to the core (and to the upper body if we wish).

  1. Activates most muscles in the body

  2. Can be very cardiovascular if repeated correctly

  3. Is great for fat loss due to all the muscles conditioned

  4. Develops strong and explosive hips for sports


Exercise Information: The clean is initiated with a swing pattern, but the movement has a brief interruption as the kettlebells passes the knees and you elevate the trapezius (top of shoulders) to pull the weight towards the body.


For a safe landing the weight rolls around the forearm then the elbow comes to rest on the body a split second after. The elbow is close and stays close to the hip to stabilise the load and the abs and glutes are braced as the body is very slightly hyper extended to offset the additional load and combined centre of mass. This adjustment is mainly for larger and heavier kettlebells.

Equipment Required


  • Kettlebell (weight should be appropriate to ability and experience)

Before You Start


  • Ensure your training area is ‘safe’

  • Perform dynamic warm up

Start Position/Set Up


  • Feet shoulder width apart, neutral spine

  • One hand on kettlebell handle in front of the hips

How to Execute the Exercise


  • Start movement as with swing hinging hips backwards

  • Snap hips forwards projecting the kettlebell upwards

Elbow should be ‘glued’ to the side of the body and the hand slightly inverted; the bell should then simply roll around the hand and nestle into the rack position

Coaching Points


  • When lowering the kettlebell use the hips to catch and redirect. This will train force reduction or deceleration, the point at which most injuries occur

  • Prevent ‘flipping’ the bell by punching through the kettlebell

  • Use the hips to propel the kettlebell not the arm

  • Control the drop of the kettlebell to the ground to teach releasing the arm

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The Kettlebell Clean uses huge power from the hamstrings and quadriceps mainly to generate the energy needed to raise the weight from the ground up to rack position.


Because of it’s complex nature, it also incorporates a ton of other ancillary muscles.


The arms, abdominals, calves, glutes, back etc. are all used in the Kettlebell Clean as well.


  • Hamstrings

  • Quadriceps

  • Lower Back

  • Glutes


  • Abdominals

  • Biceps

  • Calves

  • Upper Back

Why You’re Banging Your Wrists When You Kettlebell Clean

The kettlebell clean, just like all the other movements, comes from the hips.

It is that explosive little HIP SNAP that sends the kettlebell up and on its way to the chest.

It is not an arm exercise.

You could have arms like tooth picks and still clean a heavy kettlebell

3 Important steps:

1) Keep the kettlebell close to the body and send it up in a straight line.

2) Always slide the hand through the kettlebell at the lightest point, this will slow the kettlebell and allow it to roll around the forearm into the rack position rather than banging your wrists and forearms.

3) Imagine clenching a towel or book under your armpit and when you clean the kettlebell up into the rack position try not to drop the towel. Get into the habit of your arm almost being superglued to the side of your body. Let your hip snap provide the power and speed.


See video below for practicing with a towel under the armpit which helps train keeping the arm super glued to the sides.

  • ​Load the rear of the body by driving from the heels

  • Keep the bell close as if facing a wall

  • Snap the hips and don’t use the arm

  • Keep the abs tight and don’t lean backwards

  • Rotate the arm around the bell and not the other way around

  • The bell moves up and down in a vertical path

  • Engage the Lat (back) muscle by squeezing the armpit at the top of the move

  • Keep it smooth and do not bang the arm


Up until 45 years ago, the overhead military press was actually the third event in Olympic weightlifting, along with the snatch and the clean and jerk. The military press was considered the main yardstick for measuring strength.


When athletes wanted to challenge each other, they did it with a military press attempt.


There was no asking, “How much do you bench?” in those days.


The press is one of the few isolation exercises and has the added benefit of internal and external rotation patterns compared to the static military press. For this reason there are numerous accounts of it actively improving minor shoulder problems due to the strength through range benefit.

Kettlebell Press Benefits

The kettlebell overhead press takes the kettlebell from the racked position at the chest to overhead and into a straight arm position.

When performed correctly the overhead press lights up almost all the muscles in your body.

  1. Activates most of the muscles in the body when performed correctly

  2. Improves overhead strength for daily tasks

  3. Develops better alignment throughout the body

  4. Increases cardio due to the heart having to work harder to pump blood to the top hand

  5. Conditions the shoulders and upper body

  6. Adds variety and spice to existing workouts and combinations


Equipment Required


  • Kettlebell (weight should be appropriate to ability and experience)


Before You Start


  • Ensure your training area is ‘safe’

  • Perform dynamic warm up


Start Position/Set Up


  • Feet shoulder width apart, neutral spine

  • Clean Kettlebell with one hand into the rack position


How to Execute the Exercise


  • Contract glutes and abdominals and inhale

  • Press kettlebell into full lock position

  • During negative phase of the movement actively pull the bell into the body using the latissimus dorsi (back muscle) until it settles into the rack position

Key Coaching Points


  • Brace abdominals, bum and hips to maintain a solid base

  • Keep an upright upper torso

  • Pull kettlebell into the body during lowering phase

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The main muscles used during the kettlebell overhead press:

  • Deltoid Muscles (shoulders)

  • Tricep Muscles (back of arms)

  • Latissimus Dorsi Muscles (back)

  • Trapezius Muscles (middle/top of back between shoulder blades)

The core muscles works hard along with the buttocks in order to maintain a strong and stable base for the other muscles to work from.

The legs and even the toes can be activated when pressing challenging and heavy loads.


The Kettlebell Clean and Press combines 2 exercises the Kettlebell Clean and the Overhead Press. A powerful exercise that combines upper and lower body strength.

Combining these 2 kettlebell exercises into one fluid movement will work over 600 muscles in the body as well as putting large demands on your cardiovascular system. This is one of 'the' best strength exercises available and yoelds phenomenol results

The two individual kettlebell exercises should be practiced first before being performed as one complete movement.

Kettlebell CLEAN & Press Benefits
  1. Total body conditioning 

  2. Overhead strength & stability

  3. Power production (hips)

  4. Positional strength for squatting

  5. Core strength workout that will challenge both novice and elite

  6. Improves grip strength


The Kettlebell Clean & Press hits most of the muscles of the body making it a huge fat burning and strength building exercise.

Just some of the muscles used during the kettlebell clean & press:

  • Quadriceps muscles (front of legs)

  • Hamstring muscles (back of legs)

  • Glutes (bum) muscles

  • Core muscles (tummy, side of body)

  • Trapezius muscles (top of back and inbetween shoulder blades)

  • Rhomboid muscles (in between shoulder blades)

  • Deltoids muscles (shoulders) 

  • Triceps (back of arms)

  • Latissimus dorsi (back)


Many years ago when I first started Kettlebell training my coach told me that breathing was fairly cutting edge when it came to kettlebells. 

At the time I couldn't get my head round it until I started learning various methods. Breathing can make a big difference. Getting your breathing right means that you can smoothly work through each set or round for that bit longer because you have better control of it.

Better control could mean that you get through a set without having to put the bell down because you're gasping for breath.


However the very basics of breathing is the best place to start when you are learning. Kettlebells are technical enough without stressing about whether you're doing 3 or 4 breaths per repetition. 

I recorded the short video below to give you the basic breathing method and also how to use this during workout routines in order to help control your breathing.

  1. Don't try to thrash out as many repetitions as possible, remember quality over quantity. Never let technique be jeopardised.

  2. Don't rush the exercise

  3. If you need to stop & rest, then stop & rest

  4. Inhale through the legs, exhale at the top of the exercise


After watching the videos and reading the technical breakdown it's all about you putting in the practice.....


Kettlebell training is all about practice, practice, practice. I cannot emphasise this enough.

When you decide to learn how to use a kettlebell, you become a student of kettlebells.

Below you will find your kettlebell workouts that you can use to practice your Kettlebell Cleans & Presses.


OK so this is important: If you have questions about anything to do with this exercise then you must ask. Fill out the contact box below and I will get back to you. 


If you would like to have your technique analysed then please submit a video of you performing the swing (from the side, as per the video below) to and I will analyse it and give you feedback. Having the right technique  ensures that you can perform the exercise safely and effectively. 

At the end of the day you want to do it properly, right?

That's what i'm here for to support and coach. So why not make full use of it.

Thanks! Message sent.


No responsibility is accepted for any injury, loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of this information or reliance upon it. it is the responsibility of users to satisfy themselves as to their medical and physical condition, in respect to undertaking the exercises, information and recommendations made. Irrespective of a user's medical or physical condition, no responsibility or liability is accepted for any injury, loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of undertaking these exercises or adopting the information and recommendations.