The Kettlebell Clean With A Tai Chi Twist

In this post, I would like to share a little drill I created for cleaning and racking the kettlebell through the use of unilateral hip extension and the use of a tai chi bow stance. The drill becomes more complex when we consider that the kettlebell is being cleaned on the contralateral arm of the extending hip. In essence, then, we are creating a crossover effect to achieve the technique.

This technique is not meant for the new tai chi student or for those just learning the kettlebell. The practitioner then, should  be already adept on  both disciplines prior to trying this drill.

When working with this drill, it should be kept in mind that the  movement involved takes place on the transverse and sagittal plane. Perhaps a better description would be that the drill covers a horizontal and vertical direction.

As in all Tai Chi practice, this drill emphasizes the movement to emerge from the center toward the periphery. In the case of hip extension, the primary focus should be on the gluteus maximus. From there, the force follows to the hamstrings and finally to the heel. Thus, one should not think about extending the leg at the knee as in kicking.

It should also be understood that the raising of the kettlebell on the opposite hand, is not done by the bicep as when curling a dumbbell. It may be easy to do so when using light kettlebells. But with the heavier ones, this would not be possible and could lead to tendonitis.  The kettlebell is raise or cleaned to a rack position by the force and momentum from the quick hip extension.

I advise anyone trying this drill to first warm up the joints. This is a total body action and all joints should be warmed up prior to practicing. Do not do too many reps in the beginning.

In this video I’m using 26 lbs kettlebells. For me, this is the right weight. It gives me enough resistance to avoid curling the bell with the bicep, and light enough to allow focusing on technique.