This article will discuss how to improve power in the clean. I hope that this information will be helpful not only for weightlifters and CrossFitters but for other athletes as well.
As you know, Olympic weightlifting consists of two exercises: the snatch and the clean & jerk. The clean is not only the first integral part of the clean & jerk but also a whole separate exercise. It has plenty of variations that are used in different sports to develop explosive strength, the power of knee and hip extension, and improve initial running velocity and stability in the athletic position.
If we put the clean technique in a nutshell, it has 3 main blocks:
No doubt that each block is equally important. However, since our question today is “how to improve power in the clean?”, we will talk in detail about exercises aimed to improve important positions, step up the accelerating power of the bar, and, thus, the whole clean.
It is obvious that the proper technique and angles, strong and explosive legs, and optimal mobility are not a secret weapon, but rather a vital condition that makes powerful clean possible. You can find more HERE.
How To Improve Power In The Clean
Let’s go into more detail about 4 exercises that help answer how to improve power in the clean.
Exercise 1 – Muscle Squat Clean
This is the exercise that teaches you to involve the legs first up to the full knee extension and then switch to the arms in the turnover to rotate the elbows.
- In order to perform the exercise properly, stay flat-footed in the pull as long as you can with shoulders above the bar and relaxed arms. The best weight range for this skill is up to 50-60%.
Accurate and consistent leg and arm work is essential to gain the most power in the clean. By the way, I often combine this exercise with the clean pull till power position, which comes first in a set. Find out the explanation below.
Exercise 2 – Clean Pull Till Power Position + Clean
The Clean Pull till power position + CLEAN is one of the most effective sets to boost power.
The clean pull is performed up to the middle of the thigh with almost complete knee straightening, but shoulders always remain above the bar, covering it; arms are relaxed, the trajectory of the bar movement is as close to the trunk as possible. After the pull, the athlete slowly lowers the bar along the same trajectory and after touching the floor immediately performs the clean, keeping the same angles in movement.
The first part of the set (the clean pull till power position) makes you feel just the right angle of the power position and slow lowering helps find the most effective starting position for successful clean.
The feature of this exercise is that the athlete each time alternates the pull and clean. The complex can be used both for tech development on small weights and for full training. This contributes to better skill development. The recommended load: up to 90%, 2-4 sets, 1-2 blocks per exercise.
Exercise 3 – Deficit Clean
Performing the Clean from the stand (height can vary on average from 4 to 8 cm, depending on the athlete’s height and training purposes) extends the path of the barbell and consequently increases the load on the back and leg muscles. So this drill is very beneficial for strength and power development.
In fact, this is a regular Clean, which is performed under complicated conditions. Also, it demands increased flexibility in the lower back and knee ankle joints. More Clean variations you can find in my CLEAN Masterclass.
Exercise 4 – Reverse Clean Pull with 3 Stops
Most of my seminar athletes are well familiar with a lighter version of this exercise with two 3-second pauses at above- and under-knee level with minimal weight. This progression helps you learn the proper pull trajectory quickly and effectively.
But I have a more advanced variation for the most powerful movement. I recommend doing the clean deadlift with three 3-second pauses on the way down:
– above the knees;
– under the knees;
– at the lift-off level (1 cm above the platform)
I have to say that it is a killer exercise, but very effective at the same time if you work with up to 85% from your 1-rep max clean & jerk for 2-3 reps up to 4 sets.
Since this exercise is followed by a rather long recovery and vivid muscle soreness, don’t plan it more often than once in two weeks.
It goes without saying that power in the clean is an essential part of your result both in the clean and clean & jerk and this is why you must know how to improve power in the clean. But, as you remember from the beginning of the article, it is only a half of success because, after a powerful explosion, there is the catch & recovery waiting for you.
And we will talk about it next time!
Sincerely yours, Oleksiy Torokhtiy!
Warm BODY Cold MIND
- Clean WODs Fraser: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc