Revolution Technique: The many benefits of a power clean

An exercise is usually only as good as its application. Cleans, snatches, split jerks, handstand walks, max out prone holds – are all legitimate and somewhat advanced exercises that can help add power to ones repertoire and output.


What overrules their ability to do this is their application to the individuals life.


Now I love Olympic lifting, calisthenics and gymnastics. I implement them into my own training each week. if anything, this is what the majority of my training is made up of. As a coach though, I must not impart my own values and training onto others. Something we see far too often.


As far as all of the lifts I have listed above, the one that as the biggest bang for its buck for everyone from soccer mums to soccer athletes is the hang power clean.


The hang power clean has a far lower risk of error and injury. It teaches explosive pulling power and a strong posture when catching a loaded bar. Two things that just about every single person can use. Oly lifting (even in its basic form) can really help to expose mobility issues which we can in turn also work on.


A lot of the time we get people who are either starting out and have no idea what they are doing or we may get people who are strong enough to move a 40-70kg barbell from their hips to their shoulders. Our focus is not on weight as much as it is on reaffirming patterning. Most people don’t even use the strength they have so investing time over the coming 12 months on positioning and technique will allow the individual to move a larger load EASIER in the years to come.


More often than not when people learn oly lifting they make two big mistakes:

  1. They overthink everything which is often in part the coaches fault for making them focus on more than 1-2 things
  2. They don’t rest often enough. They don’t feel muscularly fatigued so they have short rests and do more work but mentally stay switched on for a whole 20 minutes straight, thus leading to mental fatigue and reaffirming thoughts of “not being able to do it”.


Let’s run through an easy trouble shoot for where your client is at. This is what I use to be able to ‘qualify’ or ‘graduate’ the client to move onto the next step of the movement. These are labelled in numerical order so you can visually see a vision system for you or your clients to follow. I am also sharing this with the idea that you already know what the “power” position is (AKA ‘pockets’)


  1. The jump shrug
    1. If a client is unable to complete a basic jump shrug from power position then this is where they stay. The jump shrug is arguably the most integral part of a clean and also has an extremely low risk of error or injury.
  2. High hang muscle clean
    1. This must be an extension of the jump shrug (actually more like a pull shrug). This teaches the individual to stay long and keep the bar close as they pull high with their elbows
  3. High hang power clean
    1. This is still an extension of the jump shrug as they complete a more dynamic pull and stomp their feet as they turn the bar over. When completing this, train the client to catch with weight balanced and arse backwards. Too often coaches allow their client to graduate before they are catching in a proper rack position or catching with their arse backwards. Really, the client should pause in the catch and, if instructed, they should be able to squat from the catch position.
  4. High hang power clean (deep catch)
    1. Once the client is able to catch and complete all of the required tasks well, I then invest time with them to catch deeper. This will help if and when the individual begins to full clean (not called a fucking squat clean or simply ‘clean’).


Notice I haven’t allowed the individual yet to go from a hang position that doesn’t allow an upright torso. Adding in an extra element will often take away from the clean itself. Moving from a horizontal toros to a vertical torso can add in extra elements that doent serve as important for the client and can take away from the benefits of the movement. Now, I am not talking about a competitive crossfit athlete or Olympic lifting athlete. I am talking about the every day warrior, football player, guerrilla gardener and the odd accountant.


I have no issue from learning from ground up. I have found it far harder and a longer road in doing so. This is just looking at what 20% of work will get me 80% of the results.


Clearly there are a multitude of ways to dissect and teach this movement. This is a simple breakdown that, if you follow, will provide a safe platform for your client to learn from.


As for some volume work on your technique: complete 3-5 reps on the minute every minute at a comfortable weight for 10 minutes. This will allow us to complete up to 50 reps per 10 minutes. Taking into account that it is not heavy or long enough for you to fatigue and if you do this just twice a week for a year you will in turn complete a total of 5,200 reps. Somewhere along the lines you will being to improve big time.


Check out the video which is live for all Revolution members (in the FB group) and get it done!


P.s Are you a PT or health professional? Check out the revolution here!
Photo Credit: Wilde Photography

Dave Nixon