The power clean is an Olympic Weightlifting movement that is often used in CrossFit workouts. This movement is also used by athletes who want to improve explosive strength, vertical jumping skills, or to overall improve sporting performance.
While the power clean is not performed competitively by Olympic weightlifters, it is still performed during training to help build strength and explosive power, which helps improve the two competitive movements: the clean and jerk, and snatch.
The power clean is one of the most satisfying and impressive movements in weightlifting. Learning how to master a power clean would provide many benefits to your strength, explosive power, and body composition.
Let’s take a closer look at the top 6 benefits and how to master it!
Top 6 Benefits of the Power Clean
1) Improves grip strength
The power clean requires you to shift a big load of weight by performing a quick and explosive movement. This movement relies heavily on your grip strength, something that shouldn’t be overlooked in your training program!
2) Works the whole body
The power clean really works most of your big muscle groups in the body.
Your posterior chain—your glutes, hamstrings, and back—are heavily involved during the first part of the lift. Upon the second half of the lift, your abdominals, quads, deltoids, and other upper body muscles come into use for the “catch” position.
3) Burns body fat
Following on from the above, putting all those muscles to use during one lift can burn more calories than other lifts that just target one muscle group.
Additionally, the power clean can also be performed at fairly high intensity, such as through a CrossFit WOD, which helps to burn even more calories.
4) Develops muscle
It goes without saying that weightlifting in general can develop muscle. However, the power clean can provide a bigger hit on muscle fibre damage. This can help develop key muscle groups and other areas of your body, such as the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, back, etc.)
5) Better posture
To add to the point above, developing the muscles in your posterior chain can have a very positive impact on your posture. This is particularly good news for office and desk workers whose posterior chain tends to be more neglected.
6) Functional movement
Power cleans are a key movement in many functional fitness programs, such as CrossFit. What this means is that the exercises in the program train and prepare your muscle for daily tasks by simulating movements you may do at home, at work, or in sports.
The power clean specifically improves your ability to lift a load from the ground to your shoulders in one powerful movement—something that could be useful in everyday life!
How to Master the Power Clean
The power clean can be a tricky movement to master. It can also be dangerous if it’s not performed properly, especially as the back is so heavily involved in the movement.
However, mastering the power clean when you already know the basics would simply require being aware of any common mistakes, such as:
Not rushing the first part of the lift
A clean doesn’t need to be fast off the floor—this part can actually be slow and controlled—but it does need to be quick upon contact with your hips! Save your energy for this explosive second.
Avoiding lifting with your back
Try to maintain all the power in your lower body as opposed to using your upper body. Engage your hips and posterior chain.
Not bending your arms too early
To avoid the bar path changing direction and loading your shoulders too early, try to wait until you’ve fully extended before bending your arms.
Ultimately, the best way to master the power clean is to get a coach who can overlook your position and technique. This would simply be the best way to progress safely!