Correct Exercise Naming and The Ambiguity of It

Get Specific With Your Kettlebell Clean Naming

I would like to discuss the ambiguity of exercise naming in general, not just that of the clean. At the very beginning of my Kettlebell journey, I trained with several different trainers, and often I’d find myself thinking

“This guy doesn’t know what he’s doing, that’s not a kettlebell clean”

But I’d soon find out that what they demonstrated was indeed a type of clean, the fact is that there are many different types of Kettlebell Cleans, they just weren’t specific with the TYPE of clean they were demonstrating. They would call every type of clean a “Clean”, no matter whether it was a Hang Clean, Dead Clean, Swing Clean, they failed to include the type/variation of clean it actually was.

If you’re just starting out and are training with several trainers you might find yourself in the same position and thinking to yourself

“But Trainer A taught me the Kettlebell clean this way, and I trust trainer A more than Trainer B, Trainer B must not know what he’s doing”

but it’s not that they didn’t know what they were doing, it’s the fact they were not being specific with the exercise naming.

Another great example is the confusion from the CrossFit community when it comes to pull-ups, there are different variations of them, and they’re not referred to by their proper name (type), i.e. kipping pull-ups, strict/deadhang pull-ups, chin-ups, butterfly pull-ups, etc. this leads to negative feedback and people given it a bad rap. However, if everyone started referring to exercises more specifically, there would be a lot less complaining and confusion all around.

For example: if someone who invested a lot of time into being able to do 50 strict pull-ups would see a CrossFitter post on Facebook

“I just did 200 pull-ups”

he’d be like

“@$# you, those aren’t pull-ups!”

of course, he would, you can’t blame him, because even though the CrossFitter did a great job, he did not perform the same pull-up, nor did he engage the same muscles. In fact, the CrossFitter would probably have engaged more muscles, just not the same muscle group as much. Now, had the CrossFitter posted

“I just did 200 kipping pull-ups”

the complainant would probably not be complaining! One less stressed-out gym goer.

And then there are some trainers out there who simply don’t know the different kettlebell cleans available, and believe what they know is THE kettlebell clean. The fact is, there are many, to name a few:

  • Assisted clean
  • Swing clean (single arm)
  • Swing clean (double arm)
  • Dead swing clean (single arm)
  • Dead swing clean (double arm)
  • Dead clean (single arm)
  • Hang clean (single arm)
  • Gorilla clean (double arm)
  • And many more kettlebell exercise variations

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