yesterday – was traveling for a workshop. And the carpet
people are coming today so yesterday was spent painting
the baby’s room.
Anyway, was teaching an OS workshop this weekend
and I’m always surprised at how hard it is for people to
keep their heads up and chest out when we first start
some of our basic fundamental reset regressions.
Which is an important point, because if you can’t keep
And that’s important because lots of people have a difficult
time with the Clean.
Why does that matter?
Because the Clean is the “delivery system” to get your KBs
into the rack AND equally as IMPORTANT –
To load the hips in the backswing from the rack.
Not only that, but without a strong, seamless Clean anything
that’s supposed to go overhead won’t go up as easily as it
Because a strong Clean “loads” the body with force that
is applied to the overhead portion of the lift.
A “shockwave” of energy from the bells landing on the
body is literally absorbed into the body the moment the KBs
land on the body – moves down the body to the ground,
hits the ground and springs back up ready to be re-directed
into the KBs to go up overhead.
So let’s take a quick look at the 4 common Clean mistakes
AND more IMPORTANTLY how they rob you of your results.
1. Banging the arms/wrists/shoulders
You know this problem – your bells crash onto the backs of
your wrists at the top of the Clean or roll around your wrists
and crash into your shoulders.
It’s painful and a momentary mental distraction.
For some it can be a painful anticipation – a necessary evil.
The problem is that the distraction causes you to lose
focus and that “shockwave” is usually dissipated and dispersed
which makes it a) harder to stay tight and b) therefore harder
to direct your energy to whatever is going on overhead.
2. “Scooping” with the hips.
“Scooping” refers to rebending the knees as the hips move
forward during the hip snap. Here’s a pic –
Like the banging of the wrists, the force is not directed
and and the bells come crashing into and onto the body.
It means that you cannot stay tight and worse yet, there’s
a pretty good chance that as you scoop your hips under
that you can hyperextend your lower back possibly getting
a lower back injury. Not good.
Not only that, but scooping causes a mental distraction –
Turning the Clean from something that should be confident
to something that’s chaotic, making it less than fun and
hard to recover from in order to do the next thing – like
go overhead or into a Front Squat.
3. Rounding the upper back.
This is especially noticeable on the backswing.
It’s a problem because when you round the upper back
your hips more often than not will be partially inhibited.
(It also usually coincides with not keeping the head up
on the backswing – which is tough for a lot of people to
do either because they were taught to do it or they have
the inability to do it.)
This is because the upper and lower spine work in
synchrony with each other – round the upper back and
the lower back wants to naturally round.
This causes the hips to shut down. Worse yet – with that
rounded lower back – you can actually get hurt.
4. Pulling with tensed arms.
This comes from either a) not knowing the proper mechanics
for loading your hips or b) not having enough confidence
in those mechanics.
This usually means that the elbows will remain bent on
the backswing (tough on the elbows), and the shoulders
will shrug on the Clean proper.
And then the KBs crash into the body.
Again, like the others, this makes you lose the “shockwave”
associated with a strong Clean, that’s necessary for
safety of your lower back and increases your performance
If you’d like to know how to fix these 4 common mistakes
and fine-tune your clean to not only quit beating yourself
I cover all this and more in great detail inside “Kettlebell