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The Power Clean
The power clean involves lifting the barbell from the floor to the shoulders in one swift movement. It is a popular exercise in strength and conditioning programs and has several variations.
One of the most popular variations is to perform the lift from the “hang position,” which means it is being performed from a starting position other than the floor with the athlete supporting the weight.
Performing the lift from the hang position has several advantages. First, it is easier to learn because there are fewer phases within the lift. In fact, the lift is usually taught from the hang first because of this fact. Second, it requires the athlete to strengthen his/her grip and back muscles in order to become accustomed to supporting the weight. Third, it actually results in a higher power output than other variations of the lift (1).
To perform the lift from the
hang position, take a shoulder-width grip on the bar. Stand up with the bar in
your hands and your feet shoulder-width apart. From this position, pull your
shoulders back and stick your chest out. Push your hips back, allowing the
barbell to slide down your thighs. Allow the bar to slide down your thighs until
it is at mid-thigh level.
If this is done properly, the shoulders will be in
front of the bar at this position.
From here, explosively extend the hips and
knees while shrugging the shoulders upward. Some athletes will rise up onto
their toes while others do not—either approach is fine. This explosion will
force the barbell up along the body. When the bar reaches shoulder height, move
into a quarter squat and receive the barbell on the front of the shoulders with
the elbows high. Stand up and repeat.
There are several common
mistakes with this lift:
Once this lift has been
mastered, it can also be done with dumbbells or with kettlebells using many of
the same positions and techniques. As this is an explosive exercise, the focus
needs to be on technique and speed. As a result, extreme fatigue needs to be
avoided. Normally, this is done for sets of six repetitions or less.
John Cissik, MBA, MS, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D is the President of Human Performance Services, LLC which helps athletics professionals solve their strength and conditioning problems. John has authored ten books and over 70 articles on strength and speed training and given more than 50 professional presentations. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comfort, P, Allen, M, and Graham-Smith, P. Kinetic comparisons during variations of the power clean. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25(12): 3269-3273, 2011.
I find it easier to create more momentum with a jump or leaving the ground after triple extension. Obviously with a heavier weight, it would be more difficult to leave the ground. I would find it more difficult to stay on the ground with a lighter weight.
more» I have also discovered that if I don't jump during the power/hang clean pull phase, my arms tend to get influenced into an upright row due to lack of power or momentum generated. Am I really doing or teaching the clean wrong?«less