power clean

Weightlifters and athletes use the power clean to develop strength and power. It is an explosive whole-body movement.

While the power clean began as an essential Olympic weightlifting movement, it has since become a staple in the training programs of team athletes and CrossFit practitioners.

What is the Power Clean Workout?

power clean

Power clean or clean and jerk is a typical lift in weight lifting in which weight is raised from the floor to shoulder height and held there briefly, and then pushed overhead in rapid motion of arms, typically accompanied by a spring or lunge from the legs. Power clean is a perfect exercise for the violent hip-leg extension of the second pull and engages all the major muscles in the body from the top to the bottom toe to work together.

The power clean also helps us strengthen the back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, which are called the posterior chains. In a word, doing the power clean exercise increases your explosiveness and strength. The power clean is a very useful exercise for the Olympians to train explosively. It is one of the toughest exercises to master on. 

What Muscles Do Power Cleans Work?

The total body muscles work when a power clean is performed. The upper and lower body is worked out during the power clean. The major muscles groups that are targeted primarily during the power clean are

  • Forearms, biceps, calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings
  • Glutes, lower back, and abs.
  • Traps and shoulders are engaged in the second pull.

Power Clean for Beginners:

power clean

Power cleaning is one of the hardest exercises to be performed regularly unless you are extremely fit. As it is a very complex move, it should be practiced often. The power clean is generally performed with a weight double the body weight. Usually, it varies with 0.7-1.2 times the body weight for females and 1.2-1.8 times the bodyweight for male athletes. For a beginner, it is ideal to have 1-2 strength endurance sessions per week.

If you opt for power clean, you can perform it upto 2-3 times per week. Your workouts should always be performed with manageable weights with around 60-85% of your maximum ability. The most important is the speed of movement rather than the load.

If you want to achieve maximum velocity on every rep, keep your rep range limited to 1-5 reps per set. Most of the time, take reasonable weights and do it faster and with more intensity for optimum results.

Set up for Power Clean:

power clean

  • Place the bar close to your legs and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Now, reach down and grab the bar with a firm grip with an overhand and make sure to keep your back flat and your chest up.
  • Pull the bar off the floor vertically straightly by powerfully extending the legs.
  • Once the bar reaches above your knees, slightly bend your knees and initiate the second pull, which is called a scoop. This is the toughest part of the power clean.
  • Keep the bar as close as possible to your body.
  • Quickly bend your knees and hips with your back held straight, just like a quarter squat position. Now drive the elbows forward in a racked position across the front of your shoulders with your fingertips across the bar and stand up.
  • From this position, drop the bar to the ground.

Benefits of Power clean for Athletes:

power clean

There are numerous benefits of power cleaning. Some significant benefits can be mentioned as follows:

  • Power clean gives you optimal fitness and immense athleticism irrespective of instrument and variation used ( such as kettlebell, bar, dumbbell)
  • It involves each and every muscle of the body allowing for high amounts of loading and challenging strength, power, and body control.
  • The weightlifting act is found in daily life and is very effective. The powerful hip extension and the body movement are linked to jumping abilities and force output in running, sprinting, and tackling.
  • Shoulder mobility for overhead athletes.
  • Increased athleticism.
  • The exercise also recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers, which generate the greatest force and speed, making it a key factor to improve vertical jump more effectively than traditional powerlifting moves.
  • Muscle development and explosive strength.
  • Burn body fat.
  • Best workouts for trainees and athletes.
  • Improvement of bone-shattering grip strength.

Clean and press vs. Clean and jerk:

power clean

  • Both the movements here involve clean; relative to the equipment used it is identical in both movements. The key difference is the technique used to lift the load from shoulder to overhead position for press and jerk, respectively.
  • The degree of difficulty is high with clean and jerk as it requires more technique, timing, and coordination to perform it perfectly.
  • Comparatively, one needs to learn and master in order to perform clean and jerk.
  • Both movements involve muscular growth and strength development. Additionally, slower movements and longer duration under muscular tension clean and press may lead us to increased muscle growth.
  • While both the movements involve a lifting mechanism, the clean and jerk typically increase the maximum lifting ability of a person because of their movements.
  • Clean and press and clean and jerk can be used for power development, which increases vertical jumping abilities, load-lifting capacity, and power hip extension abilities.
  • Both increase shoulder strength and hypertrophy.


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