Following on from last weeks blog, this week will break down the complicated movement known as the clean. The clean is the first part of the competition lift, the “Clean & Jerk” (next week I will cover the jerk).
The clean is typically regarded as the most complicated lift to learn along with the snatch as it’s a whole body, multi joint multi muscle movement. If you are a performance athlete, you would likely benefit from the valuable attributes this lift enhances. When this lift is programmed correctly, it allows the development of explosive power, maximum speed, entire body co-ordination and base line strength improvements. There are many different programming methods for the clean, the movement is typically broken down into segmental portions that focus on parts of the lift. Below is a walkthrough of the clean in its entirety, its purpose is to serve as a guide and nothing more. Each of us have different abilities and restrictions in areas such as mobility, postural considerations and muscle fibre type preferences, use my previous writings to identify what yours are and if you think the clean will benefit you, give it a try.
1.) Approach the barbell with bumper plates, this ensures the bar is high enough from he ground to begin.
2.) Ensure you are on a lofting platform to avoid any injuries to yourself and those around you
3.) Your feet should adopt a slightly narrower stance than a squat, with your bodyweight over the middle of the feet.
4.) Knees should be in front of the bar and hip remain higher than the knees. This is not a squat or a deadlift, so don’t adopt those positions.
5.) Ensure your shoulder blades are and stay retracted and in front of the bar, with hands placed wider than shoulder width. Similar to a clock, if your head was 12 your hands would be down at 5 and 7.
6.) Traditional claw grip or hook grip should be enforced around the bar, with elbows maintaining tension, but relaxed pointing along the bar.
7.) The bar must now travel up, until it’s above the knees. It’s important to understand this motion is caused by knee extension and by keeping the back/trunk at a constant angle relative to the floor.
8.) Shoulders still remain in front of the bar, with weight distribution moving towards the heels and the head looking slightly up.
9.) In this phase the lift must be generated from the knees and not the hips to limit pressure on spine and increase force production.
10.) As the bar travels up past the knee, the pressure should move towards the mid foot with heels flat on the ground.
11.) The hips extend aggressively with the torso/trunk moving backward/upward into a vertical position, a vital component of the lift as it creates a stretch/shortening response that’s plyometric in nature.
12.) The knee bend portion of this phase is essential to reduce tension in the back and a major factor in force production, as advanced lifters who learn to accelerate the bar faster in this phase will allow greater loads to be moved at greater velocities
13.) This position is kept very briefly and the feet remain flat with pressure mid-foot.
14.) The bar brushes the mid-thigh, not banging or being dragged across.
15.) Hips are behind bar with knees bent at 130-140 degrees and the trunk nearly vertical.
Second Pull, Jump Position:
16.) Triple extension of the ankles, knees and hips occur generating as much force as possible.
17.) At the peak of the triple extension, the shoulder perform a violent shrug motion as the bar moves straight up in front of the body.
18.) Arms remain straight and turns out and the pressure over towards the front of the foot.
Drop Under Bar:
19.) As the bar reaches its peak ascent, momentum causes the elbows to flex.
20.) Drop the hips as fast as possible pulling the body under the bar and landing on flat feet.
21.) Pressure now moves back towards the heels.
22.) Whip the elbows under and through the bar into a front squat position.
Receiving The Bar:
23.) The bar should now be caught in the front squat position and you should be at your lowest point in the squat, taking the weight of the bar on the anterior deltoids.
24.) Drive powerfully upwards into a standing position, almost bouncing up from the bottom squat position after catching the bar.
25.) Trunk remains upright with the chest driving up and foot pressure moves back to mid foot.
Step back from the bar allowing it to fall to the ground or prepare for a subsequent Split Jerk movement.