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Training With the Power Clean
2nd Jan


The power clean is a derivative exercise of the weight lifting movement clean.

The clean is a high strength, high power exercise that is utilised in many sports that require explosive strength. This exercise is also used in sports that require fast movements, yet not force, such as badminton and table tennis. This is because the chain of movement or kinetic chain is common to many movements in sports.

People will talk about the muscles it is working or if they ask you what are you training, but rather than thinking of it as training any specific muscle, it is training movement capacities that help you in sport- running, jumping, busting tackles, etc. It is a fantastic exercise that requires patience, practice and a solid level of basic strength. YouTube tutorials carried out by uneducated trainers will hype it up as an exercise you can do anytime. The truth is, you need strength in the basic movements first-squat, Romanian Deadlift (RDL), shrug and upper body presses. The reason is, in order to get the physiological benefits from the lift, the weight needs to be heavy, and in order for you to be able to clean heavy, you need to be strong first.

The First Pull-

This is the classic start to the exercise that requires a straight back, flat feet (unless wearing lifting shoes), retracted shoulder blades (squeezed together) and internally rotated shoulders (hard part of elbows pointing out). Shoulders are slightly over the bar.

internal rotation of the shoulders

The shoulders are internally rotated. This means the elbows point outwards

This gives a braced, solid, lifting position that enables you to generate a large force. Push down on the floor with your feet and lift the bar using your legs as if you are coming out of a squatting position. Keep your shoulders high and make sure your hips move up as your shoulders do. This way, it prevents you from moving into the classic deadlift position.



This is where you move into an RDL position and bring the bar up above the knees. Some coaches will also push a double knee bend here, but in order to keep things simple, this article won’t talk about that.

Second Pull-

Here is where your power is generated. Rather than focussing on pushing your hips forward to the bar, push everything up, and the bar will naturally meet your hips. You will come up on to your toes naturally when you move into a shrug due to momentum. Concentrate on the shrug and keeping your arms as straight as possible, until the bar moves past your hips.


This is the trickiest part of the lift. From the shrug, your arms come under the bar, and the bar slides onto your shoulders. The higher you can push your elbows on the catch, the easier the bar will sit on your shoulders. The further the bar is away from your body, the harder it will be on your wrists and torso. Keep your knees soft and get ready to drop under the bar. You will end up landing in a front squat position.


As your knees are bending down, your quads will switch on and control your landing. As this is a power clean, the aim is not to drop below a squat. Once the downward phase has stopped, push back up into a standing position.

Like it was said earlier, power cleans are a great tool for most sports. However, practice is required in order for it to be effective. You can use it, or any derivative exercise in your warm-up, or strength session.

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