10 Reasons You Should Not Be Doing The Kettlebell Clean + Press

10 Reasons You Should Not Be Doing The Kettlebell Clean + Press

As you know, I’m a BIG FAN of the Clean + Press.


I honestly believe that even though it’s a great exercise for most, it’s not suitable for ALL.

Here are 10 reasons for you to consider NOT doing the [kettlebell] Clean + Press:

1 – You have little to no kettlebell training experience, and haven’t wrapped your mind around the Swing and the Turkish Get Up

2 – You have active shoulder, elbow, or wrist pain

3 – You don’t know how to Clean the KB without banging your wrists or shoulders (or both)

4 – You have active knee pain 

5 – You have restricted shoulder ranges of motion – specifically, putting your arm straight over your head

6 – You have active neck, mid-back, or lower back pain

7 – You can’t “hinge” properly into your hips and you round your lower back on your Cleans

8 – You don’t like either exercise – the Clean or the Press

9 – You have active groin or hip pain

10 – You have some other health condition (like a hernia) that would either prohibit you from performing the Clean + Press or be exacerbated by doing it

So, as you can see, all 10 are really good reasons for not doing the Clean + Press.

(And no “joke” reasons, either!)

And here’s what I’d do to fix those 10 issues so I could Clean + Press if I wanted to.

First off, if you have active pain – go see a medical professional.

Get a diagnosis. Know what you’re dealing with.

If it’s simply a mobility or stability issue, do what I did:

Suck it up and take care of it – get that natural range of motion back (pain and discomfort free) so you can “live to fight another day.”

Especially if you’re over 40, so you don’t get injured worse either there, or in some other part of your body because you’re unknowingly compensating and overusing some other area.

And look, I get it: No one wants to really stop training and admit they have issues. But you also don’t want to paint yourself into the proverbial corner like I did and literally only have 1-2 exercises to choose from that don’t hurt you.

Here’s what I personally use to keep everything working like it did when I was a kid.


Second, spend some time refining your basic kettlebell technique with the 3 Level 1 kettlebell exercises: The Swing, TGU, and Goblet Squat.

You can build great workouts with “just” those three and they form a solid foundation upon which to build your Clean + Press.


The Swing teaches and builds the “hinge” pattern, which you’ll need for the Clean.

The TGU teaches you where your arm “lives” overhead, in relation to the rest of your body, and is the “finish” position for the Press.

Both also teach you how to lock your ribcage to your pelvis, forming a strong “pillar” upon which to move weight overhead safely without hurting your lower back.

And the Goblet Squat actually re-teaches you how to Squat, which “greases” your hinge pattern, making it stronger, and more fluid. 

Plus, the Goblet Squat works your abs reflexively (makes them contract automatically), which helps store hip mobility.

Third, once you have both of those nailed down, then build, or re-build your Clean and Press technique – single first, then double. (Yes, they’re different.)

(Here’s a video on the 5 Levels of Kettlebell Training. https://youtu.be/XxCVNgXEwrg?si=R4i7saXRrEGH_KjI)

Finally, assuming you actually want to use the Clean + Press, then get on a solid Clean + Press program.

Plan on training your C+P 2-3 times per week, on non-alternating days (Ex.: M,W,F).

I always recommend starting with a single KB C+P program, because so many of us have strength imbalances from one side to the other, which can, and most likely will show up later on when doing doubles.

Plus, singles really beat the stuffing out of your obliques, since they have to work extra hard to keep you from falling over.

Then, when your left and right sides are within 90% of each other, move to the more advanced, and more challenging, double KB Clean + Press.

Hope this helps give you some clarity and direction.

If you need some more resources, I’ll leave them in the description below:

Stay Strong,



Here’s what I personally use to keep everything working like it did when I was a kid.

👉 https://go.chasingstrength.com/sore-joint-solution-e/

You can build your single KB Clean + Press technique here.

👉 https://salutis.kartra.com/page/BIG6-2

Build your double Clean + Press technique here.

👉 https://cart.chasingstrength.com/strong3 

Get ‘THE GIANT’ Clean + Press program here.

👉 https://salutis.kartra.com/page/oWP219 

Combine the Clean + Press with the Snatch and Front Squat here (Advanced).

👉 https://go.chasingstrength.com/kettlebell-maximorum-e/

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