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By John Davies

From a compliance standpoint many lifts are “over taught” and the technical skills to perform them are significantly easier if taught the right way, the first time. Taught simply and correctly, even the most complex lifts are simple to master with patience and commitment. A perfect example of this is lifts performed with kettlebells, r~style.

The kettlebell is a simple, transportable training medium with a rich history in the iron game and in some circles is enjoying a type of renaissance. They are highly functional training tools for anyone from the novice, to the avid exercise enthusiast or even the elite athlete. And like any training medium, while they can be extremely valuable in your training arsenal, diversity is the key and varying mediums should be used to maximize results. No one item is the panacea to training, but kettlebells are an extraordinary option and no better place to look than Detroit Barbell! While the blacksmiths of Detroit Barbell have put together a great menacing looking kettlebell it is in fact superior to fixed-weight ‘bells because it can be loaded with extra weight internally. By doing such, there is an instable factor that significantly increases the shock effect in your training.

Two of the major “focus” lifts with Renegade Style training, the Power Clean and Power Snatch have a tremendously effective training effect with kettlebells. First, while it may seem redundant to note, it is imperative to recall from the Renegade Concepts of Training™, “movement is trained and not muscles.” While that comment may appear ethereal, it stresses the proper generation of movement with correct postural alignment and the basic condition to our resistance training that it isn’t the weight you move but the speed in which you move it and how that movement is generated as it relates to muscular recruitment.

The development of the kettlebell Power Clean is relatively simple and straight forward but with important keys to remember. Oddly enough, the rarely seen “Clean & Catch” can do wonders in teaching the incumbent these keys in projecting the bell through a vigorous driving off the ground, thrusting of the hips forward/upward and softly absorbing the downward force of the bell. In the “Clean and Catch” the hips are shot forward and as the bell reaches sternum level, is released and the opposite hand (which starts the movement behind-the-back) turns and catches it heading downward. This exercise is a perfect display of many of the aforementioned “concepts” of movement generation that ultimately lead to the goal of projecting, accepting and re-directing maximal force. However please note, this lift is extremely dangerous and should never be attempted without a skilled coach of this lift present. This movement along with the “Iron Cross” is generally performed with 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions prior to focus lifts as a preparatory drill.

Kettlebell Clean and Catch

Kettlebell Power Clean
Stage 1: Kettlebell Power CleanStage 1: This should, in fact, be corrected as a Power Clean from the “hang position.” Prior to this stage, the incumbent is in an upright position, exhibiting perfect posture and then drops by pushing the buttocks back. This will place the back in a strong “neutral” back position of roughly 45 degrees.The addition of the Xvest™ plays a unique role in this exercise because not only is it added resistance but resistance disbursed in the correct manner. The limitation of any training medium can be that it doesn’t place enough focus upon movement patterns which in the Power Clean is the explosion of the hips and driving off the ground. Yet with the Xvest™, the training influence is directed to the focus of the overall movement thus dramatically increasing the training effect.

Stage 2: Kettlebell Power CleanStage 2: In this position, the lift is well underway with the hips thrusting forward and the athlete beginning to come to standing position on balls of feet. The shoulders, the traps, vigorously thrust upward with the elbow pulling high and the bell is pulled relatively close to the body. At this stage the speed of the movement has caused a similar “unloading” momentum as with classic barbell lifts.




Stage 3: Kettlebell Power CleanStage 3: Likely the fastest and most unique element of the kettlebell lifts that is important to understand. In the progression from stage 2 to 3 photos it is important to note how the elbow stays tight to the body which protects the elbow and shoulder joint from any undue strain and the athlete does not “over-pull” the movement and lift the bell too high. As the bell passes the sternum level, the incumbent in essence throws the elbow through, softening the knees to absorb the shock of the bell as it comes to rest on the outside of the bicep.

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