Is Clarence Kennedy ACTUALLY Good?
I remember back from 2008 to 2010 while I was working a desk job, I would get excited when Clarence would start to post things on YouTube. I vividly remember the European Championships in Israel and people complaining that he didn’t compete that well. He might have even bombed in the clean and jerk.
The mystique behind Clarence was that he was a parkour off-grid athlete who started to do weightlifting, got really into weightlifting, and managed to become a pretty good weightlifter. I believe he is one of those rare people who have bridged the gap between the world of weightlifting and the world outside of weightlifting. He has gotten other people into the sport for a good measure.
Clarence is an Irish individual that I believe now lives in Britain or Wales. I’m not positive. The first clips I watched of Clarence involved him at 12 years old in 2012 doing parkour and tricking. I think tricking is doing crazy stuff like flips. In my mind, parkour and tricking are just phenomenal physical tests and demonstrations of athleticism as expressions of strength.
I believe that Clarence had the goal of becoming better at tricking by being able to jump higher. That’s how I believe he got into weightlifting. Watching him flip and be super creative with his body is just awesome. He did it for no good measure other than because he wanted to. There was no crowd present.
The first clean I watched on video, at 15 years old, he makes no contact. Even now, as a freak of nature, he makes contact and just has a bit of a bump against the bar off the hip. I like his movement and technique.
Watching him trick and do some rapid-fire pistol squats, I noticed he has good ankle and hip mobility. He is clearly a well-trained specimen and, by all accounts, self-trained almost entirely..
The video I watched then jumps to 2010. This is when I remember him starting to post stuff on YouTube. My memory may serve me incorrectly, but I remember him shifting his training to being done inside a church of sorts. Then the video shows him hitting 140 kilos in a squat jerk!
At 17 clean and jerking 155 kilos is legit and it keeps going up throughout the year, especially for his size. Clarence is one of the few athletes posting consistently at the time. YouTube was not quite the platform it is now. At this point, he is now snatching 125 kilos and it continues to go up throughout the year. His technique is starting to pay off. He moves his knees well off the floor and doesn’t jump all over the place.
Clarence is like a robot. It is another example of what makes really good lifters and really good athletes in general. A robot mentality pays off. Knowing that you are going to go in, do work, do it over and over again, and it is going to take decades, like 15+ years, to get really, really good.
Throughout 2011, at 17 years old, the video shows a constant improvement in weight, technique, and muscle thickness. When Clarence cleaned 170 kilos he squatted 220 kilos. This is a good ratio to have in mind–want to clean 170 kilos it is best to be squatting 220 kilos. By July of 2011, he was snatching 137.5 kilos. He had to be training super-heavy at this time because he is just blowing up with the weights.
The video then shifts forward to 2012. I would love to know how many hours he would be in the gym on a weekly basis. I know he trains basically Bulgarian. He pushed major increases in lifts, up to 150-kilo snatch and a 190 kilo clean and jerk. The weights being moved are really legit. At 18 years old, he squatted triple bodyweight at 262.5 kilos.
I noticed as Clarence gets stronger, he gets pancaked way less receiving the cleans. I know there has always been a discussion around Clarence using drugs. I don’t think he was taking drugs at this time. I could be completely wrong, but I don’t think he is on gas at this time. I do think he starts to gas up later, more around 2017-18.
Around 21 years old he started to get really thick. He had some pretty serious knee issues but still clean and jerked 220 kilos and snatched 175 kilos and a 300-kilo deadlift, 250-kilo front squat, 280-kilo pause back squat. Those weights are really heavy. No judgment with taking the sauce, he can do whatever he wants to do.
At 22 he looked huge. The guy is intense, a hard worker, and a grinder. In the video, he deadlifts 330-kilo deadlift, squats 300 kilos, and clean and jerk 225 kilos. Using the numbers of his strength movements compared to his competitive lifts it is important to understand that this stuff does not happen overnight. It took years to be able to do what he is doing.
Maybe 21, 22, to 23 is when he got on the gas. He got huge here. As the video continues, the numbers are just crazy. Clarence is a mythical figure with his explosiveness, technique, and power.
Clarence is a great inspiration. My big takeaway is that the video I watched shows how long it takes to be one of the strongest people in the entire world. It goes back to goals as well. Clarence is more about being internally motivated. He has done the mental preparation, honed in on his technique, and works his butt off.
Clarence has come out and has said he uses drugs, but the fact of the matter is he doesn’t compete. Him doing drugs doesn’t bother me at all. He can do whatever he wants, especially not competing.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.