How The Kettlebell Clean & Jerk Can Enhance Gains

sumo squat with kettlebell

This exercise will develop strength, power, and endurance and is a killer full body workout.

When looking for a great full body workout, finding the right one can be challenging. We all know various exercises that are great for getting us strong and toned, but many are isolation exercises, or those that may work multiple muscle groups, yet just aren’t fulfilling all our needs. We have now lived through a time when gyms remained closed or at limited capacity, and all need those home gym essentials could be necessary to really make sure our gains don’t wither away.

Kettlebells are the perfect at home exercise tool to really get you fit. With a host of exercises and benefits associated with kettlebells, they should not be overlooked as just another piece of equipment. The kettlebell clean and jerk is a great exercise to really enhance your gains and make sure you stay on top of your game. Whether it be for training and competition, or just staying fit overall, this kettlebell exercise is certainly one to kickstart those gains and give you a full body workout you’ll love.

Let’s dive into the kettlebell clean and jerk and see what makes this exercise so great. From what it is, to muscles worked, to the many benefits associated with it, the kettlebell clean and jerk may just become your new favorite exercise. When looking for a stellar full body workout, look no further than here.

What Is The Kettlebell Clean & Jerk?

The kettlebell clean and jerk is a demanding exercise based on power, strength, and mobility. Demanding high levels of concentration and focus, this exercise is one of three main lifts in kettlebell competitions and demands the utmost confidence as you start to really amp up the weight. Both the clean portion and jerk portion have specific movements to nail down, making this a convenient exercise to perform, but one where form is everything (1).

Muscle Worked In The Kettlebell Clean & Jerk

When looking at what muscles the kettlebell clean and jerk uses, you will notice it is a mix of both upper body and lower body, as well as your core. Mainly hitting the shoulders, traps, glutes, hamstrings, and quads, it can also target your calves and triceps putting the full in full body workout.

kettlebell clean and jerk

Benefits Of The Kettlebell Clean & Jerk

Build Up That Strength

Judging by all the muscles worked during the kettlebell clean and jerk, your capacity for strength is seriously increased. Great for progressive overload and adding tension, your muscular strength will improve and you will lift greater amounts of weight as you progress.

Boost Endurance & Cardio Health

With continuous movement on top of that added weight, your heart rate will remain elevated forcing you to control your breathing and really work on that endurance and cardiovascular health. Being short and intense, it relies on a different kind of endurance, being more power driven, so your cardio gains are more explosive.

Hit That Core

Core is essential for remaining grounded and stable during your big lifts, especially the kettlebell clean and jerk where big weight is moving freely. Performing the exercise from start to finish will cause greater stress on your core so your strength and physique increase.

Balance, Coordination & Motor Skills

With this exercise requiring more precise movements and sudden changes, you will need to ensure focus and concentration to properly execute such a lift. It is important to remain vigilant for injuries which can be common with poor form. But the kettlebell clean and jerk can help with your nervous system and really work to assist with balance and increased coordination.

kettlebell clean and jerk

How To Perform It

Begin by holding a kettlebell in either one hand or two, depending on your preference. Use an overhand grip with your feet around shoulder width apart. Perform a clean to your shoulder with your hips pushed backwards. As you extend through your legs, use that momentum to pull the kettlebell to your shoulder and rotate your wrist to a racked position.

Quickly drive your heels changing the energy to your favor as you use your arm to lift overhead, locking out your elbow. Use a squat position under the weight to get grounded and return to the standing position with the weight overhead. Gently lower back down the floor and repeat for desired number of reps (2).

Featured Kettlebells

Kettlebell Kings Kettlebells

Kettle Bell Kings kettlebells are all made from a single piece of cast iron. Most kettlebells have the handles welded on which makes them break more easily. Casting from a single piece of metal creates more durable kettlebells.

Kettlebell Kings Kettlebells are perfect for enhancing grip and working with versatility as well for your desired strength and conditioning goals. Made from cast iron and covered with a powder coating, these offer overall protection and durability to enhance longevity. The structural integrity of these kettlebells will support your own growth and keep you operating at a high level.

Prices vary depending on weight but there are 21 options to choose from ranging from 9 lbs. ($69.99) to 203 lbs. ($424.99).

Check out our individual review for Kettlebell Kings Kettlebell!

Onnit Kettlebells

Effortlessly cool and ready for the most challenging workouts, kettlebells are built with functionality and durability in mind first. Manufactured with a cutting-edge gravity cast molding process, these kettlebells have an ultra-durable, smooth, even finish.

Onnit Kettlebells are high quality and versatile fitness tools from a reputable and great company in Onnit. Designed with a gravity cast for consistency and durability, it is accompanied by a powder finish grip for decreased slippage and more efficient workouts. Color coded by weight, these kettlebells provide for easy accessibility and are great for increasing explosive power, strength, and endurance.

Prices vary depending on the weight of kettlebell but there 8 options to choose from ranging from 13 lbs. ($22.95) to 70 lbs. ($114.95).

Check out our individual review for Onnit Kettlebells. Also, check out Onnit Primal Kettlebells!

Wrap Up

The kettlebell clean and jerk is one of those exercises to really boost your full body growth by working many muscle groups with a host of benefits. A convenient and fun exercise, your chance for growth is great and that toned physique is just around the corner. Kettlebells are great fitness tools to really enhance your gains and should not be overlooked in your home gym or even at the gym. Put the kettlebell clean and jerk into your workout routine and really see what this can do for you today.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Jonen, Will; Netterville, John T. (2014). “Kettlebell Safety: A Periodized Program Using the Clean and Jerk and the Snatch”. (source)
  2. Pierce, Kyle (1999). “Clean & Jerk”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.