How To Power Clean

How To Power Clean

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Power Clean

The power clean is an overall muscle developer which increases explosion. It is the best exercise for converting the strength obtained from other exercises into real power.

The power clean is a very technical lift which combines the deadlift, the high pull and also the front squat.

This exercise is great for developing

  • Explosion
  • Strength
  • Power

The power clean is a variation of the clean. The clean is an easy movement to get into. I have listed the basics for you so you know what to look for when doing this. It’s very important to make sure you are doing this properly and effectively because it is the one of the best strength training movements you can do. The easiest way to learn how to power clean is breaking it down into 4 steps.

What you will need is very simple. Use an old-fashioned barbell: a regular straight bar at first. Then when you are ready to do 45 pounds or more you will want to use an Olympic bar that has rotating sleeves on the ends.  Don’t be afraid to ask a trainer on which bar you should use.

The first position, the bar starts on the ground, or you can do it from the hang or off blocks. When you are in the start position you need to make sure of a couple of things. Your shoulders are in front of the bar, you have a neutral spine and the bar is close to your body.

The second position is the pick up. This is when you are picking up the bar or the first few inches that you are lifting the bar off the ground. You need to have a one piece pick up, which means your torso remains in the same position from when you pick up the bar to when the bar gets to right above your knees.

The third position is the extension. This is the key part to the lift where all your power comes from. You want to look for triple extension (ankle, knee and hip.) Also make sure the bar is in a straight line and your arms stay straight. If you bend the arms too soon then you are not going to get the results you are looking for.

The last position of the power clean is the catch. This is when the bar is sitting on or “shelved” on your clavicle. Make sure your elbows are high so your triceps are parallel to the ground. It’s very important to have your angle of your torso and shin parallel as well.

When you get these four positions down you get the basics of a good power clean. Remember that when lifting heavy like this, there is no need to do high reps. If you get too tired, then rest. If the weight is too heavy, drop it and go for a lighter weight. You will eventually get to the high weights, but getting the form down first is the most important of the clean movement.


-Terry Asher


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  1. I hope you realize the kid in the video isn’t racking the bar across his shoulders when catching it. He is catching it with his hands, leading to a lot of unnecessary stress on his wrists. The picture shows the correct rack position, the video does not.

  2. Used to compete in Power lifting in the mid 90’s. Now I am in the Senior Olympics and doing a Power Clean. I compete today and never ever did one. I do however have a Hammer high pull-shrug machine and go very heavy on those and a Nautilus seated row for a simulated deadlift with very heavy weights. Just needed advice on correct way, thankyou. I stetch my wrists several times a day. Ernie

  3. Also, as mentioned above, letting the weight fall on the shoulders is soooo important so beginners do alot of wrist, hand and forearm stretchs several times a day. Thankyou! Ernie

  4. I was shown the Power Clean by Bill Starr. I was never told to jump to the point that my feet left the floor,I was taught to explode on toes as high as I can.

  5. Was taught to Power Clean by Bill Starr was never taught to jump off the floor was taught to explode up on toes to full extension.

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