Power cleaning is a weight-lifting exercise that strengthens the glutes, quadriceps, and other muscles in the legs. It’s also known as high-hang clean or squat clean. In this article, we explain what power cleaning is and how to do it correctly for optimum results. If you’re new to strength training or just want to try something different, power cleaning can be a good choice for your exercise routine. Read on to learn more about this challenging but rewarding exercise.
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What Is Power Cleans?
Power cleans are one of the Olympic lifts, which are special strength-training exercises that build muscular endurance and speed as well as strength. You can do power cleans with a barbell, a kettlebell, dumbbells, or a resistance band. This lift requires you to pull a weighted barbell from the ground to your shoulders in one fast, continuous motion. It’s like a combination of a deadlift and a clean and jerk. Power cleans are challenging and can be risky if you don’t have experience with this type of lift, so it’s best to try them with supervision at first, especially if you are using a barbell.
How to Power Clean
Lift the bar off the ground: The barbell will be on the ground in front of you and your legs should be hip-width apart with your knees bent. Bend at your hips and knees to lower the barbell to the ground by bending your knees; do not bend at your waist. Lift up with your legs, straightening your knees. Keep the bar close to your body as you lift it so it doesn’t hit you in the legs. – Clean the bar: Once the barbell is off the ground, you will clean it to get it to your shoulders in one swift movement. Pull the bar up toward your shins with the palms of your hands facing down so that the barbell goes up to your knees. At the same time, bend your knees and hips to lower your body and lift the bar at the same time. – Jerk the bar to your shoulders: Once the barbell is at your shoulders, stand up straight, raising your arms straight up. – Finish the exercise: Lower the bar down to the floor, bend your knees and hips, and set the barbell back on the ground.
Benefits of Power Cleans
- Stronger Glutes. Power cleans are a very effective exercise for building glute strength. Many people have weak glutes, which is thought to be one of the main causes of lower back pain. Stronger glutes can help prevent and relieve low back pain.
- Stronger Quadriceps. The quadriceps are the large muscle on the front of your thighs. Power cleans are a great quadriceps exercise because they build strength and endurance in this muscle group.
- Increased Coordination and Agility. Power cleans are an athletic exercise that can increase your coordination and agility. The Olympic lifts are complex movements that require coordination and agility to complete successfully.
- Improved Cardiovascular Health. Squats, which are part of power cleans, are an excellent exercise that can improve your cardiovascular health.
How to Properly Hold the Bar for Power Cleans
- Grip the bar: Squeeze the bar with a firm grip that’s just outside of shoulder width. Your hands should be facing you with your thumbs pointing toward your body.
- Position your feet: Your feet should be hip-width apart with your toes pointed out at a slight angle.
- Bend your knees: Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle so the bar doesn’t hit the floor.
- Stand up straight: Stand up straight with your head up and abs tight to protect your lower back.
- Keep your shoulders down: Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears to reduce pressure in your neck.
Tips for Doing Power Cleans
- Warm up first: Before you start power cleaning, do 10 to 15 minutes of light aerobic exercise to warm up your muscles and increase blood flow.
- Go low: Bend your knees and go low with each squat so the barbell stays close to your body.
- Breathe: Inhale as you lower the barbell; exhale as you stand up with the barbell until it reaches your shoulders.
- Focus on form: Stay focused on the movements so you’re in control of the barbell at all times.
- Push through your heels: Use the power of your legs to lift the barbell off the floor and stand up with it until it reaches your shoulders.
- Don’t rush: It’s better to take your time and do the power cleans correctly than rush through the exercise and risk injury.
Shoulder Safety Tip During Power Cleans
As you’re lifting the barbell, try to push the barbell toward your feet. This may feel awkward at first, but it will help you maintain proper form by keeping the barbell close to your body. The barbell should stay close to your body at all times during the lift. If it lifts away from your body, you’re doing something wrong and could risk injury to your shoulders.
When you’re doing power cleans, you should feel challenged but not strained. You can do power cleans with dumbbells or a resistance band. If you choose the band, be sure to choose one that has enough resistance for you to get a good workout. If you have no experience with Olympic lifts, it’s best to try power cleans with a lighter weight until you get the hang of the movement.
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