While many athletes and coaches are familiar with the barbell clean and jerk, only a select few train the kettlebell clean and jerk variation. The kettlebell variation offers us many unique benefits that the barbell cannot (however, the barbell will reign supreme maximal power production is the key).
Therefore, in this article we will discuss the kettlebell clean and jerk, and the unique benefits you can expect by performing them.
Why Do Clean and Jerks?
Clean and jerks are a compound movement that involves the entire body moving through an explosive and dynamic environment. The clean itself is a powerful posterior chain exercise that can promote powerful hip extension which is essential for most athletic movements (sprinting, jumping, tackling, and even rotation work). The jerk itself also has a higher correlation to power production, specifically relating to sprinting and vertical jumping abilities. The clean and jerk also is a premier movement to train the human body to be powerful, strong, and move with great coordination.
Why Use Kettlebells?
While the barbell is often the chosen modality to perform the clean and jerk, athletes and coaches can train with other equipment, such as kettlebell to bring about some more specific adaptations. Below are a few additional benefits of the clean and Jerk when done with Kettlebells (as opposed to the barbell).
1. Increased Unilateral Coordination
Kettlebell training by default is a great way to train the body unilaterally, even when using both hands (one per each bell). The kettlebells themselves are independent from one another, and can promote neurological adaptation and coordination due to the increased demands placed upon two independent moving objects.
2. Conditioning and Work Capacity Training
While the barbell can also be used for conditioning purposes, kettlebells can offer an athlete some unique benefits that can improve work capacity and endurance. Due the the bells being supported in the hand and rack on the shoulders, the bells themselves can be cycled and re-gripped (I personally feel easier than a barbell). The ability to cycle the loaded kettlebells, rack them, and reload them can result in some very long sets and time under tension, perfect for endurance and work capacity training.
3. Upper Back and Core Stabilization
Kettlebell racking positioning requires a strong and stable upper back and scapulae. The necessity to pack the shoulder blades, brace the abdominals, and prepare for receiving cleans is even more so than a fixed barbell.
4. Increased Overhead Stabilization
Overhead kettlebell movements require a high degree of shoulder stabilization, external rotation and control, and awareness. The increased unilateral demand placed upon the shoulders and the upper back can have a higher transfer over to fixed barbell movements and lifts.
Want More Kettlebell?
Check out our top kettlebell training articles and tips below!
- Kettlebell Clean and Jerk vs. Barbell Clean and Jerk
- Kettlebell Jerk vs Push Press – Which Is Best?
- The Complete Kettlebell Guide for Beginners
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