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    Kettlebell Single Arm Dead Clean

    by Sam Franklin

    How to Master The Kettlebell Dead Clean: The Top & Toe Control Booster

    The kettlebell clean is one of the world’s most legendary kettlebell exercises—not to mention, one of the most popular.

    A powerful strength and control booster, the classic kettlebell clean offers many of the same benefits as the Olympic-style weightlifting clean but is far more accessible and easy to master.

    If you want to reap the full rewards of this effective kettlebell exercise, getting your form just right is vital.

    To help you master the mighty kettlebell clean, here is a practical guide for your reading pleasure.

    How to do a kettlebell single arm dead clean: video tutorial

    Before we dive into the benefits of kettlebell single arm dead clean, watch our quick tutorial video by Luke Baden, Kettlebell Master Trainer. 

    Luke will take you step by step through the entire movement, ensuring your form is correct and you get the absolute maximum out of the exercise.

    The body-boosting benefits of the kettlebell dead clean

    The kettlebell clean requires a great deal of control and composure, making it an excellent movement for boosting the core and conditioning muscle. Here are the main body-boosting benefits of the kettlebell clean:

    • Body control: As the kettlebell clean works many major lower body muscle groups, in addition to the core, performing this movement regularly will boost your overall body control. Not only will this help you improve your kettlebell swing but it will also optimise your performance in other sports and activities.
    • Central power: The kettlebell clean serves to provide the hips more stability while giving the essential lower body muscle groups a pretty intense workout. In doing so, the kettlebell clean will boost your ability to generate power from your hips while making your legs much stronger.
    • Protection: As the kettlebell clean is such an effective joint and muscle conditioning exercise, featuring squatting and thrusting, performing frequent cleans will make you more flexible and supple, decreasing your chances of certain injuries as a result. Essential if you are an athlete or someone who works out regularly.

    What muscle groups does the kettlebell dead clean work?

    As an impressive lower body, core, and back exercise, the kettlebell clean works a well-rounded mix of muscle groups in one swift movement. These are the main muscle groups covered by this most iconic of kettlebell exercises:

    • Quads: As essential extensors of the knee joints, the health of your quads will dictate core leg strength, stamina, and robustness. Give your quads a solid workout and you will see your overall fitness levels soar.
    • Hamstrings: A leg muscle group that helps with lower body health and fitness, working out your hamstrings is crucial if you want to improve your performance in other sports and activities.
    • Core: Your core is the very foundation of your general posture, strength, and fitness. The kettlebell clean is incredible for fortifying the core while adding power to major lower back muscles, meaning you should make this movement a regular fixture of your workout sessions.
    • Glutes: Your glutes, or buttock muscles, will help you generate lower body power while improving your stability. Working out your glutes will make you look good too.

    Kettlebell dead clean form tips

    Mastering the kettlebell clean will take a little bit of time, patience, and work. Here are some top form tips to help you improve your efforts.

    • Starting position: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and facing forward. Push your feet into the floor as if you’re trying to make a dent and tense your lower-body muscles to give yourself the leverage you need to perform the movement efficiently.
    • Gaining momentum: Bend your knees slightly and grasp the kettlebell with one hand, keeping a straight back. Pull the kettlebell back between your legs slightly with your thumb pointing backwards.
    • The pull: Drive your hips forward and straighten your back more to initiate the upward and forward movement, keeping your kettlebell arm straight and your free arm extended out like a wing for balance.
    • The finale: As the kettlebell reaches bellybutton height, gently pull the kettlebell towards your body, rotating your hand so you finish in an upright position with the weight resting neatly on the back of your hand (this is referred to as the rack position). Reverse and repeat.

    What to avoid

    The kettlebell clean is a fairly intricate movement. Here’s what you should avoid if you want to perform it both safely and successfully.

    • Don’t force any of the movements within the clean process too much. Remember, this is a core and lower body movement rather than an arm exercise, so your movements should be smooth and stable. Jerk the kettlebell and you could injure yourself.
    • Don’t jump straight onto the kettlebell clean if you’re a novice. Start by mastering your squats and swings, then graduate onto the clean.
    • Don’t force things. If you’re struggling with clean, you might want to reconsider your kettlebell weight choice, starting smaller and working your way up gradually.

    Related kettlebell dead clean exercises

    To enhance your kettlebell workout sessions and build on your kettle clean, here are three related exercises you should explore:

    • Kettlebell clean & press
    • Kettlebell clean & jerk
    • Kettlebell lunge

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