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  1. #1
    Registered User coz23's Avatar
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    Power clean - two problems

    I'm trying to learn the power clean properly on my own. I have Rippetoe's book and have read the section several times. The two major problems I have are:

    a) I can't get the bar to touch/brush against my thighs during the pull. Its not even close. I don't really get how this is supposed to work here - am I supposed to be leaning way over the bar? Pulling the bar back? I start with my shins against the bar as I'm supposed to.

    b) My rack position is horrid. My elbows just aren't getting out in front of me far enough, or I have significant lean back, which I'd assume I'm not supposed to have. I don't really get it - I front squat with decent form just fine every week, but I can't get the bar up there/can't get my elbows where they should be. Should I be squatting down more during the catch? I have tried widening my grip as suggested with no real change. I don't feel I'm really that inflexible.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    Maybe this will help

    Originally Posted by J.L.C. View Post
    The lift should start with the bar on the floor, positioned over top of where the toes meet the foot. Hips slightly higher than knees with a strong arch in the back, and shoulders in front of the bar.

    The lift from the floor to approximately mid-thigh is called the 1st pull. It is done entirely with the legs. Thinking about 'pushing the floor away' helps, similar to a leg press, slowly press the floor away and 'pull the knees back', the angle of the hips and lower back should not change.

    The 2nd pull starts at just above mid-thigh - this is where you explode. Triple extension - ankle, knee, hip - is the goal of this phase. It's like an explosive jump-shrug once the bar gets to mid-thigh.

    The 2nd pull ends when the body hits triple extension and the shoulders are shrugged - the arms should still be straight at the end of the 2nd pull. Do not pull with your arms, power cleans are not jumping-upright-row-reverse-curls!

    The force of the triple extension sends the bar up. As the bar rises the lifter 'whips' their elbows under the bar and 'racks' it across the shoulders. This is difficult to do if you have pulled the bar up with the arms.

    Power cleans are pulled higher than squat cleans, usually to give the legs a break - this is why lighter weights are used for power cleans.

    Here's how I do them:







    Lots of stretching of the forearm flexors, triceps, and shoulder girdle (dislocates) will help with the mobility and will make the rack position more comfortable. Practicing the lift and positions with an empty bar is a great way to develop the flexibility - keep at it
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  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by J.L.C. View Post
    Maybe this will help
    Really good post.

    Repped
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  4. #4
    Registered User HALON's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by coz23 View Post
    I'm trying to learn the power clean properly on my own. I have Rippetoe's book and have read the section several times. The two major problems I have are:

    a) I can't get the bar to touch/brush against my thighs during the pull. Its not even close. I don't really get how this is supposed to work here - am I supposed to be leaning way over the bar? Pulling the bar back? I start with my shins against the bar as I'm supposed to.

    b) My rack position is horrid. My elbows just aren't getting out in front of me far enough, or I have significant lean back, which I'd assume I'm not supposed to have. I don't really get it - I front squat with decent form just fine every week, but I can't get the bar up there/can't get my elbows where they should be. Should I be squatting down more during the catch? I have tried widening my grip as suggested with no real change. I don't feel I'm really that inflexible.

    Thoughts?

    Learning such a technical and technique orientated exercise is pointless from a book or in a forum. You need someone there watch you do the exercise, thats the only way you will learn proper technique.
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  5. #5
    KNEES GO PAST TOES GoJu's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HALON View Post
    Learning such a technical and technique orientated exercise is pointless from a book or in a forum. You need someone there watch you do the exercise, thats the only way you will learn proper technique.
    I have a coach but I roll my eyes whenever somebody says this, the coach isn't gonna do the damn lift for you, you can learn the O-lifts by yourself the coach just makes life easier; to the OP learn to pull the bar into yourself with your lats and practice clean grip front squats with your elbows high multiple times a week (3-4x) and your wrists will become more flexible.
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    Registered User ironman1964bc's Avatar
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    I have problems racking heavy cleans too, mainly because of past wrist and shoulder injuries. I was working on keeping the elbows high too but after watching 100's of cleans on you tube, I noticed that a high percentage of them kept their elbows fairly low. What they all did have is a flexible wrist, so that is what I am working on now. One guy hang cleaned 400lbs and his elbows were pointing to the floor, so the wrist flexibility is the key, not the elbows.
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    KNEES GO PAST TOES GoJu's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironman1964bc View Post
    I have problems racking heavy cleans too, mainly because of past wrist and shoulder injuries. I was working on keeping the elbows high too but after watching 100's of cleans on you tube, I noticed that a high percentage of them kept their elbows fairly low. What they all did have is a flexible wrist, so that is what I am working on now. One guy hang cleaned 400lbs and his elbows were pointing to the floor, so the wrist flexibility is the key, not the elbows.
    plenty of strong guys with **** technique, I've seen plenty of youtube vids with 300-400lb football cleans with low elbows and splitting legs, these people could lift 50lbs heavier easily if they got their technique right, high elbows being very important for racking heavy cleans right.
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  8. #8
    Registered User coz23's Avatar
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    Thanks JLC. Looks like I may be starting my 2nd pull much too early which probably contributes to the racking problems.
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    Registered User ironman1964bc's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GoJu View Post
    plenty of strong guys with **** technique, I've seen plenty of youtube vids with 300-400lb football cleans with low elbows and splitting legs, these people could lift 50lbs heavier easily if they got their technique right, high elbows being very important for racking heavy cleans right.
    I agree, but some people claim you cannot rack a heavyweight without high elbows and these guys prove you can. With my shoulder problems, getting my elbows high is impossible right now, so watching these guys proves that wrist flexibility will help more. Right now, I can pull close to 300lbs to my upper chest but I can only rack 225lbs max because no one can hold a heavy weight with their elbows facing the floor and palms facing straight out. That is my fault for getting old and not keeping my wrists more flexible. I am working on it.

    I do agree about the elbows high helping though, especially with the squat clean and having to front squat the weight after the catch. Right now, I am just hang cleaning with very little squat. I will work on that later when I get more flexible.
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  10. #10
    KNEES GO PAST TOES GoJu's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironman1964bc View Post
    I agree, but some people claim you cannot rack a heavyweight without high elbows and these guys prove you can. With my shoulder problems, getting my elbows high is impossible right now, so watching these guys proves that wrist flexibility will help more. Right now, I can pull close to 300lbs to my upper chest but I can only rack 225lbs max because no one can hold a heavy weight with their elbows facing the floor and palms facing straight out. That is my fault for getting old and not keeping my wrists more flexible. I am working on it.

    I do agree about the elbows high helping though, especially with the squat clean and having to front squat the weight after the catch. Right now, I am just hang cleaning with very little squat. I will work on that later when I get more flexible.
    you missunderstand what your seeing, their wrists are not flexible, they are just holding the bar like one would in a reverse curl and only slightly having it on their clavicles.
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    Hmm... I'm starting to think the reason I might have trouble when I try to do heavier weights is because of my wrist flexibility. I get the bar real high, but struggle with getting under it, only when the weight is heavy.

    If it were due to wrist flexibility, would I still have trouble racking lower weights?

    I hate wrist stretches because it always feels like I'm going to rip or break something.
    Last edited by liftsmart709; 05-18-2008 at 04:33 PM.
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    Originally Posted by liftsmart709 View Post
    Hmm... I'm starting to think the reason I might have trouble when I try to do heavier weights is because of my wrist flexibility. I get the bar real high, but struggle with getting under it, only when the weight is heavy.

    If it were due to wrist flexibility, would I still have trouble racking lower weights?

    I hate wrist stretches because it always feels like I'm going to rip or break something.
    do clean grip front squats 3-4x a week progressively raising your elbows and resting the bar on your delts, don't worry about the pain it will subside soon enough.
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    Hey JLC, great post. Your description and slow-motion videos were helpful. Hope to learn and try it someday.

    Is it common to drop the weight from shoulder height to the ground, or is that usually just done when lifting really heavy weight?
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    Originally Posted by AnotherSet View Post
    Hey JLC, great post. Your description and slow-motion videos were helpful. Hope to learn and try it someday.

    Is it common to drop the weight from shoulder height to the ground, or is that usually just done when lifting really heavy weight?
    most oly lifters use rubber weight plates so it's fine to drop them.
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    Originally Posted by GoJu View Post
    do clean grip front squats 3-4x a week progressively raising your elbows and resting the bar on your delts, don't worry about the pain it will subside soon enough.
    I don't know how I'd manage to fit that in with my current squats.

    I guess I have to do it sometime though.
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    Originally Posted by liftsmart709 View Post
    Hmm... I'm starting to think the reason I might have trouble when I try to do heavier weights is because of my wrist flexibility. I get the bar real high, but struggle with getting under it, only when the weight is heavy.

    If it were due to wrist flexibility, would I still have trouble racking lower weights?

    I hate wrist stretches because it always feels like I'm going to rip or break something.
    More often than not, that is due to pulling the bar with the arms (reverse curl/upright row).

    If you can scratch the back of your head, you can rack a bar.

    For most people, it's not flexibility that's the problem - it's using the wrong muscles or using them at the wrong time, or in the wrong way.

    Sure there are guys out that than can muscle up some impressive weight using a jumping reverse curl, but that doesn't mean it's good technique or something to strive for.

    If your elbows are pointing at the floor, you are absorbing the weight on your wrists, and that's going to cause more harm than racking properly, especially over the long term.

    Originally Posted by liftsmart709 View Post
    I don't know how I'd manage to fit that in with my current squats.

    I guess I have to do it sometime though.
    If you don't have time to train front squats, then you shouldn't be trying to train o-lifts - in my opinion.
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    Originally Posted by J.L.C. View Post
    More often than not, that is due to pulling the bar with the arms (reverse curl/upright row).

    If you can scratch the back of your head, you can rack a bar.

    For most people, it's not flexibility that's the problem - it's using the wrong muscles or using them at the wrong time, or in the wrong way.

    Sure there are guys out that than can muscle up some impressive weight using a jumping reverse curl, but that doesn't mean it's good technique or something to strive for.

    If your elbows are pointing at the floor, you are absorbing the weight on your wrists, and that's going to cause more harm than racking properly, especially over the long term.

    If you don't have time to train front squats, then you shouldn't be trying to train o-lifts - in my opinion.
    Ok, I should probably work on racking properly. I have time to front squat 1 time a week, just not 3-4.

    I squat heavy ATG monday and friday, lighter front squat on weds.
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    JLC awesome power clean tutorials man. i just started them like a month ago but im still lacking form as no one can teach me

    the only thing bothering me is the 2nd pull and racking. During the 2nd pull do i try to shrug/pull the bar back?

    and when racking I see that the bar rests on your traps/wrists. which does it lie on more?
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    Wat J.L.C.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Shawdowfox View Post
    JLC awesome power clean tutorials man. i just started them like a month ago but im still lacking form as no one can teach me

    the only thing bothering me is the 2nd pull and racking. During the 2nd pull do i try to shrug/pull the bar back?

    and when racking I see that the bar rests on your traps/wrists. which does it lie on more?
    Just focus on standing up HARD for the second pull. Stand up tall as powerfully as you can.

    The bar just rests where my chest meets the delts, there's a little groove there. There's no pressure on the wrists at all.
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    I UTFSE(used the f**kin search engine) and found this thread, so I'm going to bump it.

    Anyway, I'm having trouble getting the bar to stick to my chest. I think it may be my left traps/shoulder not completing the full pull, because that is the side which goes down first(after failing to get the bar in the bit where the bar finishes). The pull itself has been getting better, just the left side at the top of the lift is failing.

    Any advice? I do Clean Pulls, but I'm wondering if I should add some shrugs? Perhaps it is my grip, if it slips a tiny bit during the pull it might affect how high the bar goes...maybe I should get some straps and see if they make it easier(which would then rule out grip strength).

    I was going for 82.5kg after getting 80kg easily, but then couldn't get it. Tried it again, missed it. Then dropped back to 80kg and missed that too. Maybe it is just fatigue?
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  21. #21
    Registered User matjusm's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Irukanjia View Post
    I UTFSE(used the f**kin search engine) and found this thread, so I'm going to bump it.

    Anyway, I'm having trouble getting the bar to stick to my chest. I think it may be my left traps/shoulder not completing the full pull, because that is the side which goes down first(after failing to get the bar in the bit where the bar finishes). The pull itself has been getting better, just the left side at the top of the lift is failing.

    Any advice? I do Clean Pulls, but I'm wondering if I should add some shrugs? Perhaps it is my grip, if it slips a tiny bit during the pull it might affect how high the bar goes...maybe I should get some straps and see if they make it easier(which would then rule out grip strength).

    I was going for 82.5kg after getting 80kg easily, but then couldn't get it. Tried it again, missed it. Then dropped back to 80kg and missed that too. Maybe it is just fatigue?
    Strong bump indeed but as you asked a question instead of referring to the OP´s question, I´ll give it a shot:

    Practice front squats to get comfortable with the clean´s rack position. The bar has to be right up against your neck and your elbows high. You won´t be holding on to the bar but instead just having it on the tips of your fingers when its racked.
    Shrugs I don´t find very useful as there really isn´t much of a shrug in the clean. Some people tell you to "jump and shrug" with it but I disagree somewhat, it happens so fast that if you start thinking about shrugging you´ll probably mess up the lift.
    The straps are absolutely not suited to the clean. They dont allow you to rack the bar properly (forcing you to put it on your collarbone which is quite uncomfortable) and in the case of a missed lift, you can seriously injure your wrists. If grip strength is an issue, switch to the hook grip.
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    Like matjusm is basically saying, the bar is not supposed to "stick to your chest". Instead you should be releasing your grip and catching the bar with your shoulders, not with your hands or wrists. The bar should basically roll out of your hands onto your shoulders as you turn your elbows over and only your fingertips should be left touching the bar-- and they are only there to help keep the bar in place, not to support the weight of the bar.
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    Originally Posted by J.L.C. View Post
    Maybe this will help
    reppppeeed

    great advice brotha
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