It’s hard to grasp just how strong gorillas are compared to humans. Everyone has heard the estimates that the average gorilla is 6 to 20 times stronger than the average man. Imagine if you were JUST twice as strong as the average guy? Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Let’s talk about what “gorilla strength” means in terms of your average workout. Let’s say that a strong adult man can bench 300lbs; 6 times that would be 1,800lbs, and 20 times that would be 6,000lbs!
How about the deadlift and squat? An average strong man should be able to deadlift two times his bodyweight, so if you’re 200lbs, you should be deadlifting 400lbs. That means Mr. Gorilla is out-lifting you by a whopping 2,000lbs (2,400lbs lift) to 7,600lbs (8,000lbs lift). On the squat, say the average strongman could lift 1.5 times his bodyweight, so 300lbs (again for a 200lb man); the gorilla could outlift you by 1,500lbs to 5,700lbs!
Now, this is a wild oversimplification of measuring the strength of humans versus gorillas, but you get the point… those things are f#@$ing strong! While it’s probably not possible to gain that kind of strength without an exo-suit or insane genetic engineering, it IS possible to swing one of those jerks’ heads around like YOU’RE the beast.
It’s called the Gorilla Clean, and it involves an alternating kettlebell clean movement with two 32kg (70lb) Gorilla Primal Bells. It might not be the same as lifting 2,000lbs plus, but it will test your strength like nothing else can and have you feeling like a beast before, during, and after your workout.
How to do the Kettlebell Gorilla Clean Exercise
Step 1 – The Starting Position
The Gorilla Clean involves alternating two 32kg Primal Bells into the rack position. What makes it difficult is that you’ll need to time it perfectly to catch the kettlebell in the rack position while simultaneously locking your arm at the bottom and absorbing the impact with your legs. To make this transition happen smoothly, starting off correctly is essential.
Rack the kettlebell up on one side, leaving the second kettlebell on the ground in between your feet. Remember that a proper rack position involves resting the kettlebell in the nook of your elbow, keeping your wrist straight; your forearm should be bent towards your centerline.
Perform a kettlebell Front Squat with your free arm straight, pointing directly towards the ground with your palm out. At the bottom of the squat, find the kettlebell, firmly grasp the handle and stand up.
Step 2 – The Transfer
Timing the transfer of the Gorilla Clean is the most difficult part of the movement. To start, do a very short range squat while keeping your body as vertical as possible. From here, quickly stand straight up while dropping the kettlebell in the rack position towards the ground. At the same time, perform a Dead Hang Clean with the opposite arm. If done correctly, both kettlebells should be even with each other directly in front of you for a brief instant.
Step 3 – The Catch
The kettlebell that was hanging in front of you should be flying into the rack position, while the kettlebell that was in the rack position should be dropping towards the ground. While this is happening, you should be dropping your hips slightly to gently “catch” the kettlebells in the flipped starting position simultaneously. As soon as the kettlebells land, go back to Step 1 and repeat on the opposite side.
Real badasses can perform the Gorilla Clean movement using two, 32kg Primal Bells for 20 reps without stopping for rest. Perfect your form, then see if you could do it!
If you’d like to see this movement in action, check it out at https://www.onnit.com/academy/kettlebell-exercise-gorilla-clean/
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: Mark de Grasse
Mark de Grasse is the Chief Fitness Officer of Onnit Labs, heading up the Onnit Academy. He is also the founder and editor of My Mad Methods Magazine, a publication dedicated to unconventional training methods since 2010. With a primary goal of bringing the greatest amount of people to an optimal “functional” standard, Mark has dedicated years of his life to networking with coaches and trainers who are willing to step outside the box when it comes to fitness. Working with hundreds of fitness professionals around the world, Mark collects their knowledge in the form of articles, pictures, and videos, and organizes them to make the greatest global impact. He is the editor, graphic designer, writer, and photographer of the publication.
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