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Form Check (power Clean)

Guest indi

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Looks good to me. Bar positioned close to shins, leg drive and straight up. Good example of how a power clean should look like.

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Well it would help if it wasn't sideways :D . Anyway my thoughts. The problem with power cleans is that people forget what it really is. A power clean is a squat clean that is light enough that you can catch it with thighs above parallel. What this means is the the pull must be the same as if you were going to do a full squat clean - this pull never changes - just as the weight goes up - you catch deeper and deeper. It's just my opinion but learning the power clean first usually leads to all the problems most people have - including you - although you don't look too awful bad - but there is room for much improvement. Here is an article by Gary Valentine that I have used very successfully to teach the Power Clean by starting with the squat clean. Followed closely it will normally lead to a pretty fair power clean in just a few hours time. Forget about using any weight until it all comes together for you. What is happening in your version is you are not pulling long enough with your big muscle groups and switching over to swing and arm pulling - completely missing the most powerful part of the pull.

Learning the Squat Clean by Gary Valentine

1. First, and most importantly, practice front squatting. I mean perfect form, elbows up, heels down, butt to heels, pause at bottom front squats. This is the position you want to jump to quickly, so you must make it very strong, automatic, and confident. Forget the weights you've done in the past in this movement, unless they’ve been done exactly as above. Film yourself, be critical. The better form you build at this stage, the more you will lift over the years, and the less chance of injury you will have. Many think a squat clean is a high pull with arms then sag under when the weights get heavy. Wrong. Too slow. Body speed is what it's all about. And the courage to get off the ground and fly under huge weights and stand. This is where the real big weights come. Full body synchrony and highest power outputs.

2. Then, with empty bar, Clean From Full Extension. Stand with bar in clean grip, arms straight, shoulders shrugged, bar touching upper thigh, standing up on balls of feet. Stop here. THIS IS THE START POSITION for this drill. You must understand and believe, that the bar is higher off the ground at this point than it is in the bottom position of your front squat. Your task is to drop down as fast as possible from this full extension to the front squat, just lifting feet into squat position, whipping elbows under, almost racing the bar down, don't pull it up. Just race it down whipping elbows under. Do not curl it - very difficult from this position anyway, that’s the point. Arms should not bend first at elbows, which is what will probably happen to someone who has power cleaned a lot. So it's crucial to learn the timing of this, because this is the position you’re trying to achieve from the floor. Arms must be straight, big explosive shrug with full extension of body.

3. Then, go to Hang Squat Clean From Mid Thigh. Feet flat, slight bend in knees, arms straight, low back arched, bent at waist slightly to have upper body over bar. Same position you would hit if you bent your knees to vertical jump. (you can add weight here soon, but do some with empty bar). From here, push platform down (emphasizes legs), and blast THROUGH Full Extension Position, into fast front squat as before. Feet should be lifted off platform slightly, into squat width.

4. Then progress to hang below knee, and to bar from floor. Do not yank bar from floor, hold back tight and explode when bar gets over knees. VITAL is maintaining low back arch though out. Do not move to next progression, until fully mastering feel of the previous, especially the front squat. If arms are used too much during pull, rack position will be difficult and wrists will hurt. This is not as much a flexibility problems as simply flexing the arms too much, in effect putting the brakes on and preventing elbows from whipping under quickly.

This is all very different timing than what most beginners do in a power clean, which is why I don't teach the power clean. It's very easy to learn any time after learning the squat clean, just use lighter weight and push it all the way up with the legs. As soon as they start standing there pulling it up with back and arm swing, they can't get off the ground and throw the body under, the timing is all off. Stand up, jump down. Very simple. :-) any questions? -g

PS: Same for snatch, only empty bar may be too heavy from Full Extension, so broomstick or 15 kg bar if available.

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I watched you clip and you are not engaging your hips in the movement at all. You are clearly strong enough to muscle it up using your arms, but as the weights increase you will need to get a lot more hip drive to help make your pull more explosive. You don't need to scoop--hit the bar off your thighs--but you do need to thrust your hips forward in a similar manner as when you perform a vertical/horizontal jump.

These clips explain both the power clean and the power snatch and their principles are similar. They should help. Keep up the hard work and remember: every step you take to improve your form and strength will lead to another roadblock that you will have to overcome in order to improve. The best people just keep refining their technique bit by bit.

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Looks decent, bent your arms a little too early. We'd need to see one with heavier weight to really see if something is wrong. Those vids Kinselbj posted are quite good.

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I just got done trying out your suggestion Climber. I have been doing power cleans for a while and I am having a hard time learning to get under the bar. Your idea worked great, I wish I had started out that way now, I sort of have to unlearn some things. I don't think I muscle the power cleans too bad but I don't think I'm driving with the hips in the second pull nearly as much as I could be, I think you are in the same boat as me Indi. Give Climber's suggestion a try.

I found it hard to get a good feel for trying to jump under just an empty bar into a full squat because you really gotta pull against the bar to drive under it quicker than it starts falling. Once I upped the weight to a point where I couldn't power clean it (starting from waist level) it MAKES you get under the bar. That is where I feel the technique and form really start to fall into line. It is decently scary to do with a bit of weight on there, not like how I was doing power cleans, much like in Indi's video. If you don't pull that high enough you can't get under it at all so it just falls.

It really makes you drive into the pull with your hips more too, because you got NO momentum to help starting from waist/upper thigh level. It seems like a slight difference but when you get the "big mucsles" involved like Climber said, the difference in strength is huge. I remember reading one oly coach saying "if you can pull it to your belly button you can clean it". That always seemed impossible to me before. But with only a tiny range of motion to start the pull you gotta use your hips and just now I was pulling from my waist up maybe 6" and jumping under it and actually cleaning it. I can't imagine after some practice with this what I can do once I can add in the rest of the momentum from the first pull.

Also like Climber said, you gotta be very familiar and comfortable with your full front squat before you start adding weight. I do front squat allot and power clean allot I was just having a hard time connecting the 2. It could be real bad if you can deadlift and power clean allot and catch a heavy ass weight into a full front squat position and aren't ready for it.

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Tim - I've taught it this way to several people and when it finally clicks - it's a real awakening as to what kind of power you can generate in just a few inches - IF it's the correct few inches. The hard part for me is putting it all together from the floor. I always want to rush and pull it around my knees instead of pushing my knees out of the way - then the bar gets away from my body and I'm screwed. Another thing to try is rack pulls from that same hang position. Not the high hang but the power position - you can move some big weight very quickly over the course of just that few inches of movement - it gives you a lot of confidence when the weight is only half of the rack pull weight - you just KNOW you can pull it high enough.

Power cleans are a great movement if done correctly - done incorrectly - not so much.

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