Clarence Kennedy can probably do your strength sport better than you. On Oct. 27, 2021, the YouTube star and competitive Olympic lifter posted a true monstrosity of a movement — a mixed-grip clean and squat jerk on an axle bar with 152 kilograms (or 335 pounds).
Putting aside the absurdity of the lift itself, Kennedy is no stranger to performing feats that walk the line between party trick and jaw-dropping display of strength. Alongside world-class snatches and clean & jerks, he’s apparently not afraid to get his hands dirty with a strongman‘s bar (aka an axle bar) either.
You can check out the lift below from Kennedy’s Instagram, and keep reading for a more in-depth analysis of how he pulled off the maneuver.
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It’s worth mentioning that Kennedy hit this lift in a commercial gym during a training session with five-time Ireland’s Strongest Man and 2018 UK’s Strongest Man Pa O’Dwyer. O’Dwyer also lifted the same weight but utilized a more traditional clean & power jerk to get the load overhead.
The Swiss Army Lift
Kennedy’s technique was undoubtedly atypical. Part of the Irish athlete’s claim to fame involves performing crazy stunts in casual settings. Kennedy once took 15 back-to-back attempts at a 186-kilogram (410-pound) snatch in a crowded CrossFit gym — but this lift is something else entirely.
Kennedy borrowed techniques from multiple strength sports to make this maneuver happen. The axle bar is a common fixture of strongman competitions, and it is notoriously difficult to grip due to its extra-thick diameter (usually two inches around).
That’s likely what forced him to use a mixed grip, which is popular in powerlifting. The barbell is far too large for Kennedy to rely on the hook grip — which has the filter wrap their thumb around the bar and clench it in their fingers — from his weightlifting background.
To get the bar overhead, Kennedy went back to basics with a standard clean & jerk, save for two massive distinctions. First, he cleaned and racked the weight with the mixed grip, something completely unheard of among Olympic lifters.
To top it off, Kennedy sent the bar to arm’s length via a squat jerk. The squat jerk is a niche movement, even among professional weightlifters, as it requires enormous amounts of shoulder stability and leg strength and has almost no room for error.
A Little Bit of Everything
Kennedy is famously averse to supportive equipment, and to hit a heavy “freestyle” lift like this without a sturdy belt or knee sleeves speaks to his versatility as an athlete. While Kennedy has spoken on the possibility of competing in powerlifting, it is unlikely that he’ll be making an appearance at World’s Strongest Man in the near future.
Since his retirement from competitive weightlifting around 2013, Kennedy seems to just be pursuing whatever type of fitness he finds fulfilling. Sometimes it’s snatching more than most people can back squat, other times it’s blending the big three strength sports together during an impromptu training session.
To top it all off, Clarence Kennedy does it all while following a strict vegan diet. No matter what he gets into next, fans are just fascinated to see him do it.
Featured Image: @clarencekennedy_ on Instagram