Thoracic Extension and/or Rotation Provides More Range for Snatch and Clean

We all (should) know by now that thoracic/hip mobility is important for performance and that it plays a huge part in remaining injury free. But did you know that it can also give you approx 5cm/2inches more range on the upswing? And approx 5cm/2inches more range on the backswing, thus getting a deeper insert. This gives you a total of approx. 10cm/4inches more range, that’s huge!


You use this range to make your clean and snatch more efficient.



Create more range with:

  1. Hip extension
  2. Thoracic extension
  3. Thoracic rotation

Combine all three and you get even more range than already mentioned.


Let’s take a moment and look at what exercises can become more efficient with extension and/or rotation:

  • American Swing (thoracic extension)
  • Kettlebell Snatch (all of the above)
  • Dumbbell Snatch (thoracic extension)
  • Kettlebell Swing Double Arm (thoracic extension)
  • Kettlebell Swing Single Arm (all of the above)
  • Kettlebell Clean (all of the above)
  • Barbell Snatch (thoracic extension)
  • Barbell Clean (thoracic extension)


Rotation is only available to you when working unilateral (one kettlebell/dumbbell), but when working bilaterally you can still make use of hip and thoracic extension.

I’ve not included any visuals in this article, I will leave this up to your imagination, but I invite you to discuss or ask questions in one of our groups on Facebook.


For those not yet familiar with the terms.

The backswing is when the kettlebell goes down and through the legs, and depending on weight used you might want to create the most momentum possible, i.e. create a deeper insert. Internal shoulder rotation and pronation of the forearm plus thoracic rotation will provide you with the deepest insert possible.

Hip extension is when you pull the top of your pelvis back which in turn brings your shoulders past your hips.

Thoracic extension is when you bend your spine backward at the thoracic, i.e. not the lumbar.

Thoracic rotation is when you bring one shoulder forward and the other back.

Spend time on your mobility. Spend time on understanding what your body is capable of. Add information to your toolbox to pull out in times of need. What I’m saying is, you should understand this information and know when to use it, as a 16kg kettlebell is different than a 24kg or 32kg, 10 reps is completely different than 300 unbroken.


Incredible tips like these can be found in our book/course Kettlebell Clean Variations which is available at $15, $30, and $50.

I invite you to join us for discussions and learning in one of our Facebook groups:


Not interested in spending money? Get more information in our 8-week hip (hyper)extension and thoracic extension/rotation camp. Completely free, all you need to do is participate, starts 1 Oct 2018 if there is enough interested, you interested?

We’re also running an 8-week squat mobility camp on the 1st of Sep 2018.



I’ve only covered the surface here and talked about the up phase, most, if not all, comes into play on the down phase as well.

Create stability.



How can you test this yourself and see what range hip and/or thoracic extension provides you with? A simple test can be done with a kettlebell.

  1. Grab a light kettlebell with one hand
  2. Come into a neutral stance with the kettlebell hanging
  3. Use the other hand to assist the bell during the movement
  4. Come into a hip hinge (hip flexion) while pushing the bell through the legs
  5. Come out of the hip hinge into a straight neutral stance
  6. Use the assisting hand to control the bell and prevent it from swinging out while coming up
  7. Your elbow remains connected with your body throughout this movement
  8. Repeat this a few times to get the hang of it
  9. The bell should stop right in front of your groin
  10. This is the range you create without extension or rotation
  11. Now perform the same movement with hip extension and/or thoracic rotation/extension
  12. This should give you a good indication of what range you’re gaining
  13. If you’re doing this right you will see a gain of 10cm+ while using all


PS. It’s actually hip hyperextension, however, most people associate hyperextension with injury, hence, I chose to use hip extension to ease people into it.

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