For those of you who know how much I love three part series on the blog….well….get ready for another three part series on the blog 😉
I wanted to take some time to discuss some of the more advanced kettlebell lifts in order give you all an idea of the more technical lifts associated with advanced kettlebell routines. This three part series will be discussing some essential kettlebell lifts that lead us up to the clean and jerk. We will also discuss the common misconceptions with the clean and jerk itself and why the former lifts, the military press and push press, are often mistaken for the jerk. First, let’s define the Double Military Press, the Double Push Press, and the Double Clean and Jerk as individual and separate lifts.
The Double Military Press- I have an affinity for this lift having recently nailed a double 24kg military press. This lift though is a slow, strict lift that requires adequate core stability and lower body power (notice how I said LOWER BODY power). There is a technique in the lifting world called “driving your feet into the floor”. With the kettlebell military press, you actually want to tense your glutes and abs while imagining you are pushing your feet into the ground. This creates enough tension to stabilize the kettlebell above your head with more precision and ease. I would argue that lower body tension is what makes the military press, not the sole use of the upper body. Granted, your pecs, traps, and deltoids will be actively firing as well to lift the kettlebell above your head, but a failure to stabilize your core and grind your feet to the ground will result in a failed lift. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe! Slowly exhaling your breathe will help you avoid tensing up too much. While being locked and loaded is important for lifting, you will be unable to move without allowing your nervous system to calm itself enough to execute the lift. Putting all teh tension, grinding, and breathing together, here’s my 24kg military press to demonstrate what I am mentioning here.
Notice the driving of the legs and feet into the floor on top of the slow exhalation of air. It all adds to a super heavy military press. Try it out for yourself and keep up with the practice!
Now onto a press variation.
The Double Kettlebell Push Press- Like the military press, the kettlebell push press requires core stabilization and adequate upper body control of the kettlebells. The difference here between a push press and a strict kettlebell military press is that there is a little “dip” to help execute the kettlebell above your head. Ths dip (or what I like to call a “bounce”) helps push the kettlebells upward (ahh…the “push press” all makes sense now). The extra leverage you will get form dipping a bit below can help assist you in lifting heavier kettlebells that you amy not be able to do a strict military press with at the current time. Here’s a great demonstration of a kettlebell push press below.
See the difference? GREAT! Now let’s wrap this all up with the kettlebell clean and jerk!
The Double Kettlebell Clean and Jerk- The kettlebell clean and jerk involves quickly elevating kettlebells above your head while dipping your body underneath the kettlebells. The best way I can describe this lift is that you literally have to visualize dipping your body underneath the kettlebells you are lifting to embrace the impact of the lift, and then stand up. I know that sounds a bit complicated, and I am sure that this whole dipping mortion sounds a lot like the kettlebell push press. let me be clear, THIS IS NOT A PUSH PRESS! While the kettlebell push press involves an initial dip to elevate the kettlebells, the clean and jerk will involve a dip underneath the kettlebells, then an additional elevation to get “out of the hole” so to speak and stand straight up.
I can hear you all saying “Janelle, what the heck are you talking about?!?!?!?” Allow me to point you in the direction of a visual aid here.
Notice the difference here between the clean and jerk and the push press. While the push press involves a dip to push the kettlebells upward, the clean and jerk involves a dip to get underneath the kettlebells, after which you stand up. Like the push press, the clean and jerk will allow for heavier weights to be elevated above your head that may not go up with a strict military press. I should also not that the clean and jerk is arguably the most demanding lift on your cardiovascular system (except for maybe kettlebell snatch). What to forge a heart of steel? Clean and jerks are your new best friend!
Next week on the blog we will be going over these three lifts individually and will be discussing some drills that will help you zone in on your technique. These three lifts, the military press, the push press, and the clean and jerk will forge some serious conditioning and strength, but these lifts are NOT for the faint of heart. These lifts are technical and involve a lot of precision and practice to master them over time. Come ready to study up and train hard next week! We will revisit all the heavy lifting discussions starting on Tuesday. On Monday, there will be a surprise blog that will feature and exciting new kettlebell event that is hitting Primal Fitness Pittsburgh in March. STAND BY FOR AWESOME!
Until next time. . .
Master your instincts!