I have a very good client that I’ve been working with
for years so this is a funny story.
A couple of years ago she got out of the groove on her
Cleans and started banging her shoulder, which was
really weird because she had never had that problem
So I used an old tried and true method you may have
heard of before – maybe not.
It’s especially good for “taming the arc” – keeping the
bell close to the body and not letting it drop away during
the backswing or crash into you on the landing.
And it’s surprisingly simple –
It’s the “Face the Wall Clean.”
And as a trainer, you can have a really good time with this
because it really freaks people out.
Their normal response is usually something like –
“You want me to do WHAT??”
I of course always explain that this works for everybody
and NO ONE has ever really hit the wall and to just trust
And you know what? No one ever has *technically* hit
the wall with one of these Cleans. And every time it fixes
the arc and the banging on the shoulder.
I say *technically* cause there was one time and it was
I went through my usual spiel and set her up in front of the
I said, “OK, go ahead” and BAM!
She launched that kettlebell right into the wall!
We were both speechless!
And then she said, “Oh, wait – you said ‘CLEAN’. I thought
you said ‘SWING’ !”
So *technically speaking*, no one has ever REALLY hit the
wall when performing these “Face the Wall Cleans.”
“Face the Wall Swings,” yes, but I’d NEVER recommend those –
Once she got over the embarrassment and we both stopped
laughing, she remembered she was doing the CLEAN and
*Presto Bang-o* her Clean was fixed.
No more crashing into the body.
You can and should use this technique too. It’ll really tighten
up your arc.
And even if you think you’re Cleans are fine, give it a shot
anyway, you might surprise yourself on just how much it’ll
tighten up your Clean.
In fact, you can use this “Face the Wall” methodology on other
exercises too, like the Front Squat.
Pavel and I designed a training program in 2008 for a Super
Bowl Fullback that included double KB Front Squats to
increase his hip mobility and core strength.
You should do them too.
There’s a whole series of Front Squat workouts that you can
use inside “Kettlebell Express!” for “Face the Wall Squats.”
Not only will you increase your core strength and your hip
mobility, you’ll lean out just from the sheer amount of work
“Face the Wall Front Squats” demand from you.
There are 4 different Front Squat programs, starting with
“Front Squat Madness” – each lasting 4 weeks (that’s 16
weeks of detailed programming) that you can practice
these (and other) techniques with.
And yep, there are even some Cleans in “Front Squat
Madness” that you can practice your “Face the Wall”
Bottom line: Practice the “Face the Wall” drills with your
Cleans and your Front Squats and you’ll tighten up your
technique which will make you stronger, more mobile,
and will take the nasty bruising off your shoulders.
P.S. Oh yeah, about that wall – fortunately we didn’t actually
punch a hole in it with the kettlebell. We had put up that special
type of board guys put in their garages to hang their tools on
so the wall was protected!