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Improving "Power" in your Power Clean | Articles | Matt Johnson's Strength Coach Concepts

Improving "Power" in your Power Clean

The Power Clean Is An Integral Lift For Champion Wrestlers. Now You Can Discover The Secrets To Developing More Power And Explosiveness With This Great Exercise…

The power clean is one of our staple exercises during the in-season because it incorporates virtually every muscle in the body. When performed correctly, the power clean demands speed, power, explosiveness, flexibility, balance and coordination. Follow these 7 steps to drastically improve your “power” in your power clean.

1. Start light- When learning the power clean don’t be worried about moving a heavy amount of weight. The power clean is a very complex movement that will take some time to learn. In the initial learning period I recommend using a 7 foot piece of PVC piping which will mimic a standard Olympic barbell. Starting with a light weight is very important because it allows the athlete to learn the movement without risking injury. Once proper form is demonstrated the athlete can begin to add a small amount of weight. Loading should be done in a progressive nature that allows the athlete to be explosive while displaying good form.

2.Progressions- Introduction and improvement in the power clean can be achieved by using progressive stages. By using progressive stages the athlete will be able to see the movement broken down into different understandable parts. Since the power clean starts on the floor it is important to perform your progressions from the top down. The first progression is the power clean from mid-thigh. This step will let the athlete understand the importance of the anterior tilt of the lumbar as well as the pull/triple extension. The second progression is the power clean from knee height and the third progression is the power clean from below knee height. In progressions 2 and 3 the lifter is lowering the bar from equal and below knee height which will help the athlete train their hip explosiveness. This is particularly important because the hips create most of the power during the movement. Most athletes spend that greatest amount of time on the third progression before moving onto cleaning the bar from the ground.

3.POWER not strength- Power exercises such as the power clean are different than exercises that establish muscular strength due to many reasons. Strength exercises consist of 6-8 reps and a count (2-4). Power movements are performed in 2-4 reps and explosive as possible. Power is trained by moving a weight a highly controlled velocity. The more explosive you perform the power clean the more powerful you will become. For beginners try to include variety in your program and avoid performing to many sets of each lift.

4.The set-up is everything- In order to be powerful during the power clean make sure to emphasize the starting position. The starting position is especially important for the Olympic lifts because “an athlete can not finish right if they start wrong”. If the athlete does not set up properly for the power clean their power will be diminished because there will be flaws in the movement. Therefore to avoid power losses in the clean make sure to have your back flat (not rounded) and that your shoulders are in advance of the bar. These are just a few ways for a proper set up, there are many more keys to remember.

5.NO arms- While performing the power clean it is important to remember that the arms do not pull the bar. Instead the back, traps and hips pull the bar by creating momentum during the triple extension. It is common for many athletes to do a reverse curl when first learning the power clean because they lack the explosiveness that the triple extension provides. Once the triple extension is understood the bar will move on its own momentum and the athlete will not have to use their arms in the lift (except for grasping the bar). Performing a reverse curl or using your arms in any way during the movement will not improve power. If arm use is continued the weight should be lowered and progressions should be stressed.

6.The receiving position- The receiving position for the power clean is on the collar bone. During this portion of the movement wrist flexibility is very important. Athletes that have a very high elbow receiving position will have extremely good wrist flexibility. The receiving position is essential to perform safely because if you do not have a good rack you can’t perform the lift. An athlete may have an excellent pull and triple extension but how are they going to receive the weight in a controlled fashion? A technique many athletes use is the “drop”. The drop is when the athlete drops under the bar into a quarter squat position. The drop makes it easier for the athlete to receive the bar and helps them avoid using their arms. Athletes that do not drop will typically use their arms to move the weight to the receiving position. The receiving position is also a way to add variation into your workout. To add variation to the power clean try a front squat or forward/backward lunge once racking the weight in the receiving position.

7.The triple extension- The triple extension consists of the simultaneous movement of the ankles, hips and knees. These three joints when extended provide the athlete with the explosion they need to begin to move the bar. This multi joint extension is what trains athletes to be explosive due to the fact that it produces a large amount of force in a very short period of time. The triple extension is used during any exercise that produces force such as the power clean, snatch and clean and jerk. To really understand the triple extension I recommend doing a jump shrug. This movement is not complex like the power clean and will allow the athlete to really concentrate on the simultaneous explosiveness of the knees, hips and knees.



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