So you want to become a more powerful and explosive athlete. Do you want to be faster and jump higher? If you only had one movement to train to work toward these goals, the power clean is your answer. Besides the power snatch, no other movement develops the kind of hip explosion which is so critical to the development of an athlete. 

The best way to examine your technique and to address your faults is to break down this complex exercise into its components.

The Setup

Bar setup and Proper alignment are critical to a good lift. Most trainees misjudge the focus and technique required even before the actual lift begins. Improper bar placement, foot placement, and joint angles can lead to missing reps out front, slow pulls, and injury.

-         There should be some space between the bar and your shins when you get ready to do a clean. Set your metatarsals (toe joints) directly under the bar. This will allow you to load yourself properly without rolling the bar out front with your shins.

-         Load the hips and anchor the kneecaps so that the hamstrings increase tension and the shins stay nearly perpendicular to the floor.


The First Pull

This is the initial pulling phase off the floor. This period lasts up to the point where the bar passes the knees. Sound technique at this stage sets you up to pull the bar into the most advantageous position for the following hip drive.

-          Maintain a constant back angle while pressing the knees back (knee extension). This allows you to pull the bar into your center of gravity and maximally load the posterior chain. The weight should be dispersed from the mid-foot to the heels.

-         Analyze your first pull by looking at your back angle. The hips and shoulders need to ascend at the same rate, maintaining a constant back angle.

The Hip Drive/Scoop

This is the most explosive phase of the entire lift. As the bar passes the knees, maximal power and acceleration are applied between the mid-thigh and the hips. The power position refers to the point at which the body is poised in the athletic position - feet flat, hips loaded, chest high, back straight, and quads activated. It is at this point the athlete must take the bar vertical through the triple extension of the ankle, knee, and hip joints.

-          The bar should reach the sweet spot - mid-thigh to the hip crease - before the arms bend, allowing for the hips to explosively unload.

The Second Pull

This is the final active vertical aspect of the lift, in which the traps elevate, and the arms begin the final pull under the barbell into the last phase.

-         Once the triple extension has occurred (see below), you must allow the elbows to follow the shrug vertically forcefully.

-          To fix poor mobility in the ankles, knees, and hips, do static stretching targeted for those areas. Once you have mobilized the joints, perform some light high rep sets of upright rows, making sure to elevate the elbows, expand the chest, and reach triple extension at the top of every lift (up on toes, knees locked out, quads and glutes contracted, elbows high).

The Catch/Receiving of the Bar

The final stop in the clean is the catch into the front squat. This rapid descent under the barbell is vital to the completion of the lift. A high rate of hamstring activation and lat engagement will allow the athlete to pull him- or herself to the floor, landing and receiving the barbell in a vertical position with the hips dropped between the thighs, feet flat, and elbows parallel to the ground.

-          Spend some time on thoracic and lat mobility. The higher the elbows are, the closer the barbell will rest on your front deltoids, allowing for an easier and more efficient completion of the lift (i.e. standing up).

-         Work on recognizing the two different stances during the lift. In all phases up to this point, you will be in a pulling position, which is closer to a deadlift or vertical jump alignment. Immediately following the second pull, you should open up your feet slightly, so you land in the catch position in a front squat stance, a stance that allows a sound squat below parallel.

-Coach Vic



WOD 063017


Clean Complex (12 x 1)


1 Clean Pull + 1 Power Clean + 1 Push Jerk

Min 0 - 4 (65% of 1RM Clean)
Min 5 - 9 (70% of 1RM Clean)
Min 10 - 12 (80% of 1RM Clean)

*Record heaviest set (ideally should be your last complex)


Metcon (Time)

For Time:
2o Pull-Ups
400m Run
10 Pull-Ups
20 Wall Balls 20/14
20 Pull-Ups
400m Run





How to Improve Your Power Cleans - Tabata Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from

How To Hang Clean: The ONLY 3 Things You Need To Know ... (n.d.). Retrieved from

Cleaning Up Your Dirty Clean: It's All About Technique ... (n.d.). Retrieved from



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