What is your power clean

In Olympic lifting the vernacular is literal:

  • squat clean is caught in full squat position
  • power clean is caught in partial squat position
  • squat and power clean are both initiated from the floor
  • hang clean is initiated from the ‘hang’ and may be caught in any squat position, typically partial

I firmly agree with speed coach in that the overwhelming majority of high school and collegiate athletes have horrendous mechanics when performing any of the above mentioned variants.

Cost far outweighing benefit save for those minority of coaches who possess the skill set to teach, look for, and enforce proper mechanics; never allowing bar weight to exceed efficient mechanics.

start positions are all clear, I believe where people get confused is the catch. I like my kids to catch high, with some knee bend as a force absorbtion function. I agree with James whole heartedly. Anytime I have seen kids catch low or full squat, it’s pretty ugly. I have one kid who tested out at 310 power clean as incoming freshman to college. He has been doing cleans with me since 7th grade. Esti can also attest to his technique being effortless. he is the only one I have confidence in. To me, it is foolish to try to replicate a lift that is a SPORT. Oly lifters drill techinique daily for years and still end up with catastrophic. I always keep in mind that they play football, not lift weights. So from my perspective, my jobs is injury prevention first and foremost. Performance takes a back seat because as Ian King once told me “if your star player is hurt from training, he isn’t much good to the team sitting on the bench!” I also firmly believe that if your getting your athletes injured in the weight room, you need to find a new career. An occasional tweak is okay, but guys injuring joints is unforgivable to me. i am there to build their capacity, not break them down.

meant catastrophic injuries. Good thing i don’t get paid for my typing skills. haha

Your definitions are spot on. Your posts are always insightful. Newbies on thos forum could learn a lifetime of information reading posts from people like yourself, James, Pioneer, and others.

any reason for this preference?

the fact that they have to test for other people. I just use lifts more as indicators that organism strength is moving forward. As for the clean itself, I just find the low catch to be way too dangerous for the reward, if there even is one. When you break a power clean down, at least the ones I see done in college, it is essentially a deadlift, into a hang clean, followed by a front squat. I would rather break that into it’s individual parts. I will have them do deads, hang cleans, and front squats as seperate movements. I like hang cleans because they are harder to cheat than power cleans, especially with bumper plates. These guys will start standing descend, then bounce the heck out of it off the floor, essentially eliminating starting strength and replacing it as a stretch reflex movement, aided by a healthy bounce off the floor, yuck! I see way too much technical break down in too many athletes. Like I said, it’s a part of an Olympic sport, where athletes hone their technique for years, focusing on just those 3 lifts. I train mostly collision sports (football and hockey). I have way too many other facets of the game to improve to get bogged down trying to teach proper clean technique in limited off seasons. I try to move as many skills forward as quickly as I can, so I do more bang for my buck type things. So far, my guys always show up prepared for camp and test at the very top of their respective groups so I like our process…

a good example of where I like my athletes catching cleans. We just train more on hang than power.

is training that stretch reflex a bad thing? and aren’t powercleans started off the floor?

thank you for taking time to explain your opinion

Not trying to put words in speedcoach’s mouth, but he might be referring to the way some athletes incorrectly do multiple reps when performing cleans. The athlete finishes the clean, then descends with the barbell , allowing the barbell to crash to the floor with his arms still attached to it. Instead of coming to a complete stop, and resetting the body into a proper pulling position, some athletes simply “roll” right into the next rep, opening themselves to all kinds of injuries!
I tell our athletes to treat each rep as if it were its own separate world…

oh, that very well could be it and it makes sense. i do multiple reps by your policy (each separate)

I agree with you, this is often a problem and the athlete can get sloppy very quickly if the re-set is not performed. I or the other athletes not on the platform will typically tell the person lifting when at least 10 seconds (though often more) have elapsed before they can commence with the next OL so power cleans/power snatches are pretty much always performed as clusters.

The athlete often does not understand the difference between performing a single lift in a set technically well and with good speed vs. doing a set very quickly in which the tech. execution is not ideal.

oh, one more question…

what is the limiting factor in a clean. I mean, it involves a deadlift, a hang clean and a front squat more or less, but does catching the weight at diferent depths change which part of the lift limits how heavy one should go?


Oh boy, you opened up a huge can of worms with this question. We could easily spend hours discussing this question, or you could simply open up your old R.A. Roman texts :slight_smile: I don’t have a great deal of time tonight, but I’d like to share a few quick thoughts:

Limiting factors in the clean - there’s no definite answer. This depends upon many things, like:
the sportsman’s technique
many different strength factors
speed of the barbell
and so much more

as for your last question, can you please re-word it? If you are talking about the depth of the receiving position, the barbell’s height and the unwillingness of the lifter to get under the bar are factors here…

i meant does the limiting factor change whether one uses a high catch or a low catch? like there is much more of a posterior requirement to get the bar up way high, but the anterior requirement is much higher if one has to make a low catch and complete a front squat

I can do a lot of other safer options than power cleans done in this manner for stretch reflex. I am more interested in rate of force development on this exercise. I like the static overcome by dynamic effect. I find my athletes get better explosion in a short time frame as possible. I don’t allow them to do this crappy bouncing technique, that would be their brilliant high school strength coach.

Grip is the limiting factor. Haha. No kidding, it fails more than anything. Devils said it right. To be able to catch a heavy low catch clean, you have to be a kamikaze. As for the ten count between reps, brilliant idea. The thing that drives me nuts is when I see coaches programming high rep cleans with a bunch of kids who have no technical form to begin. i don’t evr have ANY of my athletes do more than 6 reps. I feel the small intrinsic postural muscle fail to early under load, it increases danger exponentially.

how bout on a low rep set? i imagine grip fails much more often during a 6 rep set than like a 3 rep

most often, my kids hands fail. They chalk up like mad, but some have little stubby fingers and can’t get much grip. Sometimes I will let them strap up to get a higher load. I find that when going for max loads( 90%), they think so much about the grip that it ruins their mind set. 80% of training is done without straps, but every now and then. As for failure in the movement, the first acceleration is where I see most lifts go bad. It puts the synchronicity out of whack.


From day one as freshmen, ladies or men, we teach the hook grip. They bitch and moan at first, but when they see the upperclassmen having success, they fall in line.
Grip strength has not been an issue for us, ever, because of this policy!

Someday, when my film student shows up (please!), I will set up our youtube channel to display our athletes doing the lifts. I am proud of their technique, so much so that I will willingly post it.

If an athlete can not master some basic technique skills, (proper back position, squat positions, etc.) they perform remedial exercises until the movement patterns are learned…They are not permitted to complete the lifts, because it is NOT my job to injure anyone in the weight room!

My only issue with hook grip is that I only get 3 hours per week with my athletes and for a very limited off season(3-4 months) max. I just can’t justify teaching when parents are shelling out $50/hour or more. I would love to, but parents just drag their kid elsewhere. I have quite a few kids hit 250+ in highschool and 300+ in college, so I like where are results are. I agree, if you can’t technically do parts of the lift, you ned to master each and everyone before you should attempt full on cleans.