The Power Clean

There are four exercises that will develop explosive power in sports. They are power cleans, snatches, deadlifts, and squats. Here is a brief overview of these core lifts. We will focus on one lift at a time, starting with the Power Clean.

The Power Clean consists of the lifter moving a weighted barbell from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids and clavicles in two phases.

Beginning Phase
The athlete begins the clean by squatting down to grasp the bar. Hands are positioned approximately a thumb’s distance from hips using what is known as a hook grip. The hook grip requires grasping the bar so that the fingers go over the thumb. This makes it much easier for the lifter to maintain his or her grip on the bar. The lifter’s arms are relaxed and just outside the legs with the bar up against the shins. The hips are as low as necessary to grasp the bar, with the feet placed approximately at hip width. Toes may be pointed straight ahead or angled out according to the lifters preference. The chest is spread (to lock the lower back) and eyes are on a target. This is the starting position of the “pull” phase of the lift.

Clean Phase
The lifter jumps the bar up through triple extension (hips, knees, and then ankles are extended in a very quick succession). When the legs have driven the bar as high as possible, the lifter pulls under the bar by violently shrugging (contracting) the trapezius muscle. This pulls the lifter under the bar and into a deep front squat position. The lifter then stands upright with elbows flared towards the front. A lifter may drop the weight (bumper plates only) or gently lower the weight back to the floor with chest spread and eyes on target.

A certified strength and conditioning coach should be present when beginning this or any explosive power lift. Contact Coach Brian H. at CoachUp to develop explosive power for your sport.

Remember, champions are made during the off-season.