Reps of Power Clean

Since power clean is more of an explosive movement, shouldnt the reps be kept minimal like 5 or less? Since you dont want fatigue buildup as you’re performese these exercises. But in the CFTS, it was mentioned that the athletes performed it in 5-10 reps. Thoughts?

3 reps or less. especially from the hang. I only do cleans from the floor now. I drop the weight(bumper plates) after each rep and then reset myself to pull the weight again. So its almost like doing lots and lots of singles!!!

You have to consider the % intensity, total training volume of sprint work and weight room work, and many other variables.

From a form standpoint I would keep the reps low, regardless of intensity. Its very taxing holding proper form in the OL’s, especially from the floor.

But I understand what you are saying regarding other training variables.

If you are going to include Oly Lifts in your program training for a sport other than Weight Lifting (Olympic Lifting) you should use them for power which means 3 reps and under.

yes i understand that. Im just a little lost when CF said that they did it in 5-10 reps.

As Charlie has said consistently, it depends…

I’m not a big fan of setting rigid guidelines, as I’ve encountered athletes who have different tolerances. As a rule, I’ve typically prescribed 6 or less reps for any kind of clean (hang, full, etc.). For my stronger athletes, we’ve kept that ceiling even lower (3-4 or less). But for developing athletes, we’ve gone with higher repetitions for teaching purposes (significant sub-max weight) - working on mechanics, bar path, catch technique etc.

With my sprinters (some of whom have made the jump to bobsleigh), we’ve had a lot of success with doubles. But they are very strong to begin with.

As a coach, you should be able to determine optimal rep ranges for different athletes in different situations. Is fatigue an issue and impacting technique and increase risk? Well then cut the reps. Obviously, if you have a specific training goal in mind for your use of the power clean, your reps may be tailored in such a way so as to achieve that goal. Most Olympic lifting coaches I’ve trained with don’t do much more than 3 reps. But they are training to lift for one maximal rep.

Could you do something different with an amateur wrestler, where fatigue and technical execution are always an issue? Sure, as long as you don’t go overboard with the reps. Perhaps you are not training explosive power absolutely, but you are working on maintaining maximal exertion over a longer series of reps. Again, not something I would do all the time, but at specific points in the training program (once technique and general fitness are addressed).

As frit17 suggested, you can do higher rep ranges with greater breaks between reps. I’ve heard of Doc Kreis having an athlete do 10 power cleans from the floor, but with longer rep pauses (a football athlete). Why? I’m not sure, but he’s been around long enough to have a specific training goal in mind for that athlete. But you can be sure that Doc was watching his technique and making sure that fatigue was not putting that athlete at risk for injury. I suspect they didn’t do this type of work often, but it served a specific purpose.

I am very careful when consulting with pure olympic lifting coaches on training programs. As I said before, they train with a different purpose in mind (lift lots of weight for one rep). While we can learn a lot from them, we cannot use their template directly with our different athletes. Modifications must be made to accommodate different training demands (sprinting, jumping, throwing, etc.), as well as different body types and athletes with varying histories (i.e. injury history). While I’m very picky with my athletes’ technique on the lifts, I’ve seen some Olympic lifting coaches over-critique the technique of non-Olympic lifters, almost to the point of turning the athlete off the lifts. Things to consider.

We didn’t do much Oly lifting so numbers could be higher. Also, the higher the number of motor units involved, the lower the total lifts will be.

Agree with Number 2

Thanks Football Coach. Since I still fart around on the platform (at my ripe old age of 35 years), I would say that I prefer doing 2 to 3 reps for clean workouts. I personally find it easier to mentally focus on performing twos or threes. I’m also more apt to do all my cleans from the floor. I’ve done lots of variable height pulls in the past, but I simply prefer the full movement. Not that I don’t prescribe hangs or pulls from stands for athletes that I coach.

Here’s a question for you FC: For a higher level athlete that you work with, what would your typical warm-up be for preparing for a heavy power clean session? Let’s say you are working with an athlete that will be performing power cleans over 300lbs for 2’s and 3’s. How many sets would it take you to work up to your working weight, and what type of reps would you do for your warm-up sets.

We may do something like this with our stronger athletes:

  • 6 reps with Olympic Bar
  • 4 reps with 135lbs
  • 2 reps with 225lbs
  • 1 rep with 255lbs
  • 1 rep with 285lbs
  • 3 reps with 305lbs
  • 2 reps with 315lbs
  • 2 reps with 325lbs
  • 2 reps with 335lbs

number two great points. I have seen a rep scheme like that of Doc Kreis from a few coaches. I believe it wa used right before the season, in an attempt to maybe mimic a play or series of plays, say lifting a weight every 20 seconds or so.

As an aside I have used the power clean in a workout similar to the way Westside barbell uses the box squat on thier dynamic day with some success. I take 60% of my max deadlift( say 450lbs x .60%= 270). This is my working weight in the powerclean give or take a few pounds. I will then do 8 doubles with 30 sec rest or 12 singles with 30 sec rest bewtween reps. You could also wave it up and down like the westide guys do starting at 50% and go up each week. Doing this style of training my powerclean was at a all time high, as well was my short sprint speed and shot throws and i recieved quit a bit of added muscle mass on my upper back, traps and erectors.

Number two,

I like that type of progression. For me personally once i get up over 225 i usually just do singles up to my goal weight for the day, then do reps in rest pause fashion like i mentioned before.
I am with you, i dropped the hang clean long ago and now do everything from the floor although it seems from my observation that athletes have trouble with that transition from the first pull to the second pull, so many of my athletes still do the hang style until i feel they are ready for the next move.

I also love squat cleans because you get so much leg work involved, i can cut down the volume of my back squats and other leg work. I think its such an athletic lift where the athlete goes from a flexed hip/knee/ankle position and then rises to triple extention and the in an instant droppes back down in the a low squat to catch the weight and all of this happens in a second or two. Very exciting, and my athletes think i am weirdo that i get excited over this stuff. anyways!!!

Number 2 and frit17,

My experience is with football players so I can only comment in that area.

The problem with Oly lifts for us are this:

  1. Perhaps the biggest problem we have in football are the shoulders. The degree of trauma and damage rises dramatically from high school to college to pro. From what I’ve seen many strength coaches forget that the players are training to play football and not training to be lifters or bodybuilders. I believe many injuries are caused or initiated by overtraining in the off-season

  2. Not all the workouts by the players are supervised and therefore technique and too much weight can be a problem with the Olys. (So can squat and bench but those two exercises are much easier to teach and easier for the players to monitor)

Therefore, I don’t believe as some football coaches do that Oly’s have to be part of the program or that all players have to do them. When they are used I like to use them the way frit17 describes. I got the idea from Joe Kenn and the Coach H football log over at elitefts. The players love it. Technique is much easier to maintain, the load on the shoulders is much less. As always the limiting factors will be the players health and technique.

Looking at your warm-up scheme I wonder if you should have a few more warm-up sets maybe at 95 x 5, 165 x 3 and 195 x 2.

Football Coach

Football Coach,

I agree with you on all your points. Especially in regards to what i like to call form and flexibility. Most football players dont have the necessary flexibility in the shoulder/wrists to catch the weight the correct way, which can lead to excess stress on those joints. At the same time though, i feel that athletes can(if they persever and have the time to do it) gain the appropriate flexibility over time. My brother who didnt lift a weight until he was 35 coulndt rack the weight for the life of him. But for a month straight he would front squat, first with hands wide and holding on with two fingers and ever so slowly his wrist loosened up to the point where he can now easily catch a clean with elbows high and holding the weight in his hands.

Unsupervised workouts on the other hand i would not have an athlete attempt the OL’s. There are a number of other things an athlete can do. One thing though that i have been experimenting with the last year, is having my athletes do dumbell cleans. The weights are obviosly ligher but they seem to pick up the form rather quickly and i like the fact the they are handling two weights rather than one barbell. They tell em feel less stress on the shoulders and wrists and as far as training time goes, there is no loading and unloading of weights. It has worked well for us, and my lineman love it. I actually have an entire dumbell workout i had to devise, because i used to train a few high school guys at a gym(or i should say fern and chrome fitness center) and the owners didnt want us doing Olympics. It worked out well for us, but we didnt stay to long at that place.


the fern and chrome fitness center - I’ll use that one

Olys and technique. We argued whether football players should be doing that back in 1979. Quite frankly, I don’t put them in my programs but some of the other coaches like them so I recommend implementing them the way you do and Coach Kenn. I think given all the training elements football players need (like actually practicing their position) I have found the adapted Westside approach with Max Effort and Dynamic Effort work for Squats and Bench alone yields fantastic results.

Football Coach

yes the westide template is great. My program set-ups have had a huge influence from Joe Kenn and his Teir System.

Coach, bench & squats alone? I coach H.S. throws & i see so much back weakness on these guys, from the football coach telling them bench & squat. Do you encounter upper back issues? upper cross syndrome , weak scapular adductors, etx

My two cents…

Yes. Many high school football players have the posterior chain development of pre adolescent girls.LOL

I have had great success, with my high school football guys, with Dimmel DL’s 3x20, med rep RDL’s 3x7-10, and med-high rep GM’s of varying stances.

For the high school athlete, in the U.S., it is important to note that ‘most’ of their levels of physical preparedness render their CNS efficiency/muscular coordination sub standard for performing limit pulls. I would say that this is almost an absolute until junior/senior year in high school. Of course all of this is relative to each individuals athletes state of readiness.

Don’t forget the hyper complex and reverse hypers with straight and bent legs. 2 to 3 through a set of 10 of each. That will get your erector spinae standing at attention! this can be done 3 times a week.

what else can u do if u dont have the equipments for that ?