The clean is a movement we frequently use in everyday life where we pull an object off the floor and onto our shoulders. The speed, power, and coordination required for the clean is unrivaled by any other movement, except possibly the snatch. This complex movement demands athleticism beyond strength and power. Adding the clean to your exercise program will develop strength, flexibility, power, speed, accuracy, agility, coordination, and balance.
Requirements for the Clean: The clean starts with the object on the ground. The movement ends when the object is resting on your shoulders and you are standing up.
Here are a few tips to perfect your clean:
- See deadlift for basic set-up guidelines
- Use the "hook" grip. This grip holds your thumb underneath your fingers instead of on top. It is slightly uncomfortable at first, but is essential for pulling heavy weights.
- The lift begins with a deadlift
- Accelerate the weight as the weight comes off the floor
- At the top of the deadlift, perform a powerful shrug and jump
- Do NOT bend your arms until after you jump - when the arms bend, the power ends!
- This will generate momentum on the bar and leave it weightless for a split second
- As soon as you initiate your jump, immediately and aggressively pull yourself underneath the weight into a full front squat
- The bar should never come away from your body - it will travel in a completely vertical line upwards
- Your feet will land just a couple inches outside of where they began, in your squat stance. No wider!
- Your elbows should be high and parallel to the ground
- Your weight should be balanced and on your heels
- Drive your elbows up first, and then your hips
- Stand up completely to finish the lift
Versions of the Clean
- Power Clean - "Power" describes where you catch the bar; the bar begins on the ground and you land in a partial squat instead of a full squat.
- Hang Clean - "Hang" describes where the bar starts; the lift begins in the "hang" position (at the top of the deadlift) and ends in a full squat.
- Hang Power Clean - The bar starts at the top of the deadlift and you end in a partial squat.
Check out the clean in action in the following videos: