How to do Power Cleans Correctly and Safely

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INTRODUCTION

The power clean is one of the most explosive exercises you could perform. It improves speed, athleticism, and power. You may have heard of it because it makes up part of one of the Olympic weightlifting movements known as the Clean & Jerk. It is technically challenging but has tremendous benefits if implemented into your training program.
 

POWER CLEAN FORM VIDEO

 

BENEFITS OF THE POWER CLEAN

  • Improves explosiveness and overall athleticism
  • Strengthens the entire body, especially the hips, the glutes, the hamstrings, the upper back, and the shoulders
  • Improves muscle activation and coordination
  • This exercise is expensive, requiring a ton of energy, making it a great HIIT exercise
  • Improves muscle mass, while helping to burn body fat

 

PRECAUTIONS

This exercise is complex and requires a high degree of technicality
In order to benefit from this amazing exercise, we will break it down into two individual components -Deadlift followed by a Hang Clean
Use very light weights when learning this exercise

 

MUSCLES WORKED DURING POWER CLEAN

  • Upper Back

  • Trapezius

  • Shoulders

  • Forearm/Grip Muscles

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Core

 

PERFORMING THE POWER CLEAN

  • Approach a barbell that is set up at a mid-shin height as you would in the deadlift
  • If you are using an empty barbell or weights plates that are not tall, you can position the barbell to the mid-shin height
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward
  • Grab the bar directly outside of your legs
 
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  • Ensure that your back is neutral, your chest is up, and your shins are as vertical as possible
  • Keep your arms straight

 

  • In this tutorial, we will break the exercise into two parts to simplify the movement

Part 1

  • The first part is the same as a deadlift
  • Take a breath, and hold it in. Begin the pull by extending your knees and hips until you are standing upright.
  • Make sure to keep your back neutral and your chest up throughout the lift
  • Keep the bar in close contact with your legs throughout the lift
  • Lockout like you would in the deadlift

 

 
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  • From this position, keep your torso vertical and bend your knees slightly
  • The bar should naturally drag down your leg by a small amount

 

 
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Part 2

  • Now you will begin the Power clean by forcefully jumping straight up.
  • This will cause triple extension (straightening of your hips, knees, and ankles simultaneously)
  • While this is happening, shrug your shoulders up to your ears
  • The momentum from the jump and the shrug should jolt the barbell straight up and towards you

 

 
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  • As soon as your feet are flat on the ground, quickly drop into a quarter squat position by bending at the hips and knees slightly.
  • Quickly bring your elbows up and around the barbell to catch the weight across your anterior shoulder and clavicles
  • Stand up.
 
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SUMMARY OF THE POWER CLEAN TECHNIQUE

 
 

Click on each blue circle to view the key technical aspects of this exercise

 

COMMON MISTAKES

MUSCLING UP THE WEIGHT


This exercise is meant to be done with speed and explosiveness. Decrease the weight and focus on using momentum to catapult the weight up to your shoulders. It’s called the power clean, not a muscle clean.

NOT BRINGING YOUR ELBOWS UP AND AROUND


It is important to bring your elbows all the way up when catching the weight so that it can be in the front rack position (resting between your clavicles and anterior shoulders). If you catch the weight with vertical forearms, you will be placing too much strain on your arms
 

LANDING WITH A REALLY WIDE STANCE AFTER THE JUMP


The weight is probably too heavy. Be conservative with this exercise. Keep practicing good technique. Use it for what it’s meant to be used for-to develop power and explosiveness.

 

POWER CLEAN ALTERNATIVES

 

Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here