How to do the perfect double kettlebell clean and press?
The Double Kettlebell Clean & Press (DKC) is one of the most popular exercises among powerlifters. Its main purpose is to develop explosive strength, which will allow you to lift heavier weights during your training sessions. However, it can also be used as a great way of improving your overall physical fitness level.
It’s a very simple exercise. You perform two identical movements with the same weight, but one of them involves the use of a barbell while the other involves using dumbbells. The difference between these two types of exercises is that when performing the KC, you’re not only lifting weights; you’re also doing so without any assistance from your hands or feet. That means no straps, no plates, no anything!
So how does it work?
When you perform the double kettlebell clean and press, you’re actually performing two separate movements: a regular single-joint movement and a compound movement involving multiple joints. When performed correctly, both movements are equally taxing on your body.
In order to fully benefit from the double kettlebell clean and press, you need to understand what makes each type of exercise different.
The Single-Joint Movements
As the name suggests, this type of movement involves one joint only. For example, the barbell curl only involves your elbow joint. During the barbell curl, you’re isolating a single muscle group and making it work against resistance (in this case, the weight of the barbell). Basically, this type of exercises allows you to develop a particular muscle group or strength in a very isolated manner.
The Compound Movements
This type of movement involves multiple joints. For instance, the deadlift involves your hips, knees and ankles all working against resistance (in this case, the barbell). This exercise is great for strengthening your whole body, as it places a huge amount of stress on most of your muscles groups.
The Kettlebell Clean & Press
The kettlebell clean and press is not a single-joint movement nor a compound movement. It is, in fact, a complex movement that involves multiple joints. During this exercise, you’re not only lifting a single weight, but you’re also lifting your own body weight in the process.
To perform the kettlebell clean and press properly, you have to move the kettlebell from its starting position (at shoulder level), straight up to over your head in one fluid motion. Additionally, you also have to press it above your head at the same time.
In order to do this, you have to perform the single-joint movement (the kettlebell must go over your head), and you also have to perform a compound movement (your shoulder is involved in this exercise). This is what makes it such a great exercise.
The Muscle Groups Worked
While the double kettlebell clean and press involves multiple muscle groups, it works on strength and power more than it works on muscular endurance or size.
The muscles involved in this exercise include the trapezius, deltoids, biceps, brachialis and forearm flexors. If you want to target a particular muscle group more than another, you can do so by changing the weight of one of the kettlebells. For instance, if you want to work on your deltoids and biceps more than anything else, you can perform this exercise using one heavy kettlebell and one light kettlebell.
But of course, you can also choose to use two equal-weight kettlebells. As far as the amount of weight is concerned, it all depends on your strength levels and how much you want to challenge yourself.
How to Properly Do It
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of this exercise, it’s time to learn how to do it.
First of all, you’ll need to prepare your exercise area. You’re going to be lifting a kettlebell above your head, so there is a risk that you will hit something if you lose balance. For this reason, you should choose an open space where there are no nearby objects which can get in the way of a wayward kettlebell.
Next, you’ll need two kettlebells of equal weight (or one heavy and one light kettlebell). Grab them both, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the kettlebells at your sides.
To begin the exercise, quickly lift the kettlebells to your shoulders. Catch them here for a second while you get used to the weight. Next, bend your knees and hips as you dip down into a partial squat. Keep your back straight and don’t let it hunch over.
Then, drive the kettlebells up above your head while keeping your arms straight. Next, bring the kettlebells back down to your shoulders before repeating the process.
Important Tips for Safety and Effectiveness
During any type of weight lifting, it’s important to pay attention to the amount of weight that you’re using. Especially if you’re just getting started, you don’t want to start with too much weight and risk injury.
Instead, start small and increase the weight as you get stronger.
Also, don’t let your head drop down when performing this exercise. It’s important to keep your neck straight so that the weight doesn’t strain it or cause injury.
Finally, it’s important to keep your back straight as you bend your knees and hips. Don’t let them bow in or out.
The snatch is another kettlebell exercise which works on explosive power and fast movement. The snatch involves swinging a kettlebell up from between your legs to above your head in one motion. When the weight gets heavier, the swing can get longer and more exaggerated as you pull it up.
This exercise is fantastic for sports where you need to have quick, powerful movements such as basketball or soccer. It also helps to improve your strength, endurance and coordination.
How to Do It
There are different ways and techniques you can use when performing this exercise. However, they all have the same basic concept. You’re going to start with a weight between your legs, then you’ll swing it up over your head, down in front of you and finally back between your legs again. The whole sequence is one repetition.
The style most people are familiar with is the one where you ‘snap’ or ‘pop’ the weight up. To do this, you’re going to squat down and grip the kettlebell against the bottom of your feet, then quickly pull it up while snapping your arms straight and popping your hips.
Here’s a video that demonstrates a slow and controlled snatch:
The other style is called the ‘swing’ snatch.
Sources & references used in this article:
Injury Problems in Kettlebell Sport by ES Sotnikov – spartantraining.se
Kettlebells for sport, strength and fitness by S Shetler – 2009 – books.google.com
Official blog of the RKC kettlebell tutorial by M Beecroft, RKC Master, M Bos, A Du Cane, A Gala… – rkcblog.dragondoor.com
The Ultimate Kettlebells Workbook: The Revolutionary Program to Tone, Sculpt and Strengthen Your Whole Body by D Randolph – 2011 – books.google.com
Kettlebell training by S Cotter – 2013 – books.google.com
Kettlebell training for basketball by T Kuivalainen – 2010 – theseus.fi
Effects of weightlifting vs. kettlebell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition by WH Otto III, JW Coburn, LE Brown… – The Journal of …, 2012 – cdn.journals.lww.com