The other day I wrote in the newsletter about “free” strength –
The kind you get from doing particular KB exercises, which
makes your whole body strong without having to do specialty
The biggest-bang-for-your-buck KB exercise – and stop me if
you’ve heard this before – is without a doubt the Clean + Press.
It is however, a relatively “advanced” exercise, meaning you
should lay a good foundation with your Swings and Get Ups
before you do it.
The Clean + Press uses every single muscle in your body –
including your “pulling” muscles when you perform it properly.
I’ll tell you how to perform it properly in a moment, first – I got
this from Spud yesterday:
“with regards to free strength my mate who trains with me who has
never done a pull up before starting strong a few weeks ago, knocked
out 4 body weight reps with no direct training when I asked him to
try the other day all he has been doing is C&P. He could not
You catch that?
“All” he’s been doing is the Clean + Press.
Funny that Spud should say “all”…
“All” in this case means that he should’ve or could’ve been doing
However, we can re-interpret “all” (gonna sound like a politician
here – forgive me) as “everything” because of “all” that the Clean
+ Press works.
When you C+P correctly, you’ll use your legs – your hips and your
hamstrings to clean the weight to the rack.
Then you’ll use your quads and gluts to help tighten up your whole
body so you have a platform from which to push.
Your abs will get used cause – and hopefully you know this – you
should be keeping them tight when pressing.
And you’ll be working your pulling muscles – your lats, which you
use for pull-ups – especially while pressing.
Here’s the #1 thing you can do right now – as in today – to start
training your Press for your Pull Up:
After you’ve pressed your KBs overhead – and pay attention to this
Pull your elbows down to your waist.
Don’t let the KB(s) fall.
Don’t try to resist them and slow the negative down using one of
those goofy tempos.
PULL them down into the rack.
You should immediately feel your lats working.
You know what this feels like?
Or a better question is, do you know what groove this is?
It’s the Pull Up groove.
And that my friend, is how you can train your pull-ups without
doing pull ups.
Which is [most likely] how Spud’s friend went from 0 – NEVER
being able to do a pull-up to doing 4 pull-ups.
(I say “most likely” because even if you don’t use this technique
you’re pull-up strength will increase by default – that’s how
powerful the Clean + Press is.)
Pretty, pretty cool, eh?
I think so.
(I wish I could take credit for this – I can’t – I learned it at my
RKC back in 2005.)
Anyway, you know what other 2 things will accelerate your “pull-
1. How to set up your Clean.
Why? Because your Press is only as good as your clean.
Can’t clean it, can’t press it.
Sloppy clean or sloppy rack, sloppy and weak press.
2. Learning how to set up your Press.
If you don’t know how to “plug the holes” in your press, you won’t
use your lats correctly and therefore they won’t get stronger so
you can forget about those Pull Ups.
– Setting up your rack
– How to use your legs
– How to breathe
– How to use your abs and hips
– How to use your grip
And so on…
Not only that, you’ll get the “STRONG!” program which will show
you how to use the Clean + Press to work your “pull-upping” strength.
Now here’s the thing:
When you’re learning new techniques – like “pulling your elbows to
your waist” you can’t start off with a 5×5 or some other sort of
No, you have to start out with something where the reps are low –
ridiculously low – so you can focus on your technique without
worrying about fatigue, YET –
And here’s the trick – the total training volume has to be high
enough to produce the strength gains.
That’s exactly why and how the “STRONG!” program is designed.