Tall, Long limbed Athlete re. Cleans

I’m a tall athlete with long arms and legs, and have been researching for and against exercises like cleans. Have been tossing up the idea of Hang Cleans instead of traditional Cleans due to the increased ROM due to my height and limb length. Charlie has stated previously that the speed of the exercise does not matter that much as it will never re-create the speed of the sprinting action on the track anyway, however, would I greater benefit from the Hang Cleans starting from a higher position in the exercise?

Hi Dirtyolrunner

As an olympic weightlifting coach if the athlete who has a similar build to you and does not want to train for olympic weightlifting per say I would have them doing the power snatch rather than the power clean.

A athlete with your dimensions is more suited to the snatch exercises than the clean ones.

You will also have more power output in any off the snatch exercises compared to the clean ones. So give it a try.

Cheers Andy merrylees :slight_smile:

How about doing some Deadlifts?

I have my second row players doing power cleans and they are 6 ft 8 inches tall, and they have excellent form.

Limb length should not be a problem for doing cleans.


Yes you are all correct. I have seen plenty off athletes who fit these descriptions from various sports. However, I have noticed with nearly 25 years coaching these movements that athletes with this type off dimensions do tend to suit the power snatch better. Of course they should really be coached by an olympic weightlifting coach for optimal technique.

Sorry for the delay in the answer as I havn’t been to well lately.


Andy, I have always found the power snatch being a better indicator for power/strength output (weightlifters excluded). There seems to be lesser “interferences” near max. weights in the power snatch.

I have seen athletes with the potential of lifting well over 140kg (closer to 150kg) in the clean but stagnated around 130kg because of small technical glitches. With the power snatch, the difference between potential and real numbers seems to be closer. When the bar feels heavy, technique is subconsciously altered. Interestingly, the ones that come close to 160kg seem to have a lesser “reaction” to the “heaviness” and remain technically the same, even though they might be weaker in the squat.

I guess exposure to near max. is the only cure for these things?

I disagree. I think the snatch, especially starting from the floor, is significantly more technical, and less of an indicator of strength than the clean. Yes, the snatch is more speed-strength, but it seems that most athletes have technique problems, keeping them from optimal positions to apply their maximum force, thus, causing them to lose a lot of potential weight.

totally agree, particually if you have no axcess to a proper instructer who knows his stuff. I have been in and out of gyms for 15yrs, and i have never come across anybody that does the clean and jerk or the power snatch. Even only just as of late, the Deadlift. I never seen anybody do the RSDL with heavy weight untill i started doing them real heavy 3yrs ago. I wouldnt dream of doing the clean and jerk or the snatch without proper coaching. ITs too risky for me.

I’m talking about athletes that are proficient at both the clean and the snatch. For the unaccustomed athlete, there’s no way the clean or the snatch should be a tool for measuring power output in the first place.

The reason I have found the snatch to be easier near max weights is due to lesser absolute load and lesser restrictions in the pull; the pull is significantly shorter in the clean, leaving less time for proper reactions. The snatch – in its rough form (not weightlifters) – is more “allowing” near max weights. And yet again, I’m talking about athletes that are proficient at both the clean AND the raw snatch. But I can only speak for myself and my observations.

A knew an athlete personally who was 6ft 5in. He came to the same conclusion. HE would do his cleans by placing the bar on discs. It worked very well. Yes hang lceans are a great alternative. Some athletes are capable of 140kg cleans for reps, of course you will eventually need wrist wraps ast this level.

Why would you need wrist wraps?

Because you’d drop the bar once your grip fatigues.

Let’s remember, “power” refers to a lift where the barbell is NOT caught in the squat position.
“Hang” refers to the barbell “hanging” from the lifter’s arms at some height off of the floor.
Lifting from “plinths” or “boxes” would have a similar effect as lifting from the hang, except that the barbell would be starting from a static position, and no counter movement would occur…

Having said all of this, I agree with the post that said limb length should not be a limiting factor with the OL’s.
If a lifter lacks the requisite flexibility in certain positions, then by all means let them start from the hang. I would recommend that they not start from blocks, as it might place an unexperienced lifter in a “not so good” position, and expose them to injury. We have many of our college basketball players complete their lifts from the hang if needed.

Good luck!

Also, if there is a problem with catching the bar properly, then one option is to only have the bar touch the breast… without even trying to keep the bar in a final catch position.