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Why You Should REALLY Clean

We have made great strides in getting people to realize that the movement is more important than the individual muscle. Yet, the exercises we select to represent that movement are crucial and with all the tools we have available to us it can be overwhelming. After all, aren’t all exercises the same if we just simply change the implement?

At a very base level the answer would be yes, but as we delve into the benefits that performing the same exercise with different tools offer we should see that there are unique features and reasons we should be using one form or another.

The example that immediately jumps out to us is the idea of a one-arm kettlebell clean. Ironically, over 15 years after the re-introduction of kettlebells to mainstream fitness, many are still apprehensive about the use of the one-arm kettlebell clean. Is this because we misunderstand the technique and purpose?

Before going into the how’s of the one-arm kettlebell clean, establishing strong why’s is important. Most incorrectly assume that because the kettlebell doesn’t go as heavy as the barbell, it isn’t a worthwhile lift for someone looking for serious strength. Unfortunately, that is a very short sighted in our thinking.

The kettlebell has us gripping away from the center of mass which is different than a barbell or dumbbell. This makes the same weight feel significantly heavier. Kettlebells are independent moving implements which requires us to react to the load moving quite differently and when we use them in a singular manner we increase the benefit of asymmetrical loading.

Ironically, experts like Dr. Stuart McGill and Mike Boyle have long touted the need and benefits of building anti-rotational strength and asymmetrical loading patterns. Using the one-arm kettlebell clean for this reason would definitely alone make it an important variation on the classic power clean.

The other less discussed idea is that of optimal force generation. Typically we think that people train slow or really fast. However, in most sporting and real world situations force gradation is more representative of how we move. So, you can just heave against the kettlebell, you have to find the “right” amount of force.

With all these benefits we wanted to take this month’s Metabolic Stability to focus on how heavier one-arm kettlebell cleans can be a great benefit to your clients’ training. As we always do we aren’t going to show you just the lift, but how you can build strength in an actual functional workout plan with Ultimate Sandbags and suspension exercise.




Rest Intervals

A1. One-arm Kettlebell Clean


6-8 per side

30 Seconds

A2. Ultimate Sandbag Lateral Drag with Iso-Pull


3-5 per side

30 Seconds

A3. Ultimate Sandbag Lap Up Lunge



30 Seconds

A4. Suspended One-Arm Row


6-8 per side

30 Seconds


*Perform as a circuit

Tools Recommended


*16-20 kg Kettlebell

*30 pound Power Ultimate Sandbag

*Suspension Straps


*28-32 kg Kettlebell

*50 pound Strength Ultimate Sandbag

*Suspension Straps