Kettlebell Zombie Arm—Beginner Tip For Cleans and Swings

Does your arm behave like a zombie when you’re cleaning or swinging a single kettlebell? It might prevent you from maintaining a good posture.

Do you feel awkward swinging the other arm back when you’re swinging or cleaning one kettlebell? Does the shoulder of your swinging arm come forward while your other side remains in position?

What is probably happening is that you’re inserting deep on the backswing and your shoulder is coming forward to create this depth. A deep insert does not have to be a bad thing, but it is when there is only one side that wants to come into this position and getting resistance from the other.

There are two things you can do to get a better alignment for injury prevention and efficiency:

  1. don’t go as deep on the insert and keep both shoulders in line with each other
    (also try thumb up on the backswing)
  2. allow thoracic rotation to happen by bringing the other arm and shoulder back


Let’s talk more about the deep insert where the shoulder of the swinging arm will come forward. What needs to happen is both shoulders staying inline with each other. This can be achieved through thoracic rotation. Think about standing in a neutral stance bringing the right shoulder forward and the left shoulder back (keeping them inline), this is thoracic rotation, it happens naturally with a deep insert while swinging the opposite arm back and along with the kettlebell.

Creating shoulder alignment is just one of the reasons for swinging your other arm back during the backswing. If you have any questions and are a beginner, ask them here, otherwise here.

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