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Catch Phase of a Power Clean


I have trouble with the catch phase of the power clean. Power is not an issue because I have done high pulls up to my shoulder area with 365. My problem I think is technique and flexibilty. When I do a power clean I get the height very easily but the catch is very difficult for me because I feel I cannot get into the proper position. Also I get a lot of wrist pain if I am using a lot of weight. What kind of flexibility work should I do, and how should I fix my technique? I dont train power cleans as an exercise but on my overhead pressing I always clean the bar.


Do you need to take a wider grip? Clean lighter weight while working up to your high pull weight, that should start the conditioning that your wrists and shoulders need to catch the bar with the heavier weight.



this should help..maybe try some front squats to get used to rack position


Front squats maybe? Wrist flexibility should improve the more you use it.

365 is a monstrous power clean by the way.


In today's article, the form description for the catch involved letting the bar roll down your fingers. I always kept a solid grip on the bar and experienced wrist pain with excessive use, so this might be part of the problem.


What worked best for me on this when learning the oly lifts was to train the front squat more often (as opposed to back squats) with moderate weights to get the wrist flexibility...It sounds like you might be too tight in the shoulders and wrists to properly hold a bar in the rack position. It'll hurt like a beeotch in the beginning but should come around after a few weeks. Also, try doing holds with empty bar or something like 40-60kgs in the rack position for a few sets at the end of each workout...focus on keeping elbows pointed up away from body.


Yeah I figured working on my wrist flexbility will solve a lot of problems. I do front squats now but I cannot do them with a clean grip. I heard some people use lifting straps for front squats and as their flexibiltiy improves they hold onto the straps lower and lower until they can do do a clean grip. I have tried the lifting straps approach and I cannot keep the bar stable on my shoulders, so thats out.


Lower the weight and practice form.

No over night fix I'm afraid.


Depends on the lifter. Most can get away with holding the bar tight, some can't. In the end it comes down to flexibility. If your wrists, shoulders and elbows are tight you are more then likely not going to be able to rack a clean with high elbows with a grip on the bar. But in the end as long as you rack the bar properly across your neck/ shoulders your okay.

Doing front squats Clean grip style will really help you in getting use to racking the Clean properly.

It could also be due your technique is. If your 'pulling the bar' in a high row your arms are 'loaded' and it's A LOT HARDER/ IMPOSSIBLE to whip your elbows around on the bar if they are bearing weight.

A proper Power Clean/ Clean after the 2nd pull the bar has all the momentum it's going to get, so it's going up without your arms loaded much and you can easily whip your elbows under the bar and rack it.



I do not pull with my arms at all for high pulls. I am starting to think I also have, like you said tight elbow because I cannot get my elbows in a high position. When I catch the bar my wrists take all the weight because I cannot keep my elbow high, and I cannot rack across my shoulders. So for me I have to improve wrist, shoulder, and elbow flexibility, and when I achieve that work on technique. Does that sound about right? Also how can I improve shoulder flexibility so that I can rack the bar properly?


I don't know if you can or will apply this to your training for power cleans but I've always liked this article.


What do you mean when you say high pull? When I think of high pull I think of pulling with your arms. When I think of 'Clean pull' I think of 1st, 2nd pull going on to toes and a shrug and arms bending after the shrug phase so they don't break. Could be just different name for different things that US and UK guys think of?

You don't have to rack the bar with high elbows, some lifters rack with lower elbows but they rack the bar across their shoulders still. Can you rack the bar like this?

If you can theres no reason why you can't rack the bar in a Clean.

A good stretch is to load the bar with at least 80-100kg in a squat rack. Then stand in the rack and grip it Clean style in your rack grip width. Then to now move one of your elbows up and the other down. Repeat, avoid rotating your body from side to side, try and keep your shoulders square. It just takes some time to get use to racking a Clean properly.



To me the way you describe a clean pull sounds like my version of a high pull, except I pull up to my chest height. No I cannot rack the bar like in the video you showed me.


If thats the case you probably are pulling with your arms which is jeopardizing catch speed as Koing suggested. I generally don't teach high pulls to beginning weightlifters because it sometimes reinforces the bad habit of using the arms during oly lifts which greatly reduced the efficiency of the pull.



Just shrug and let your arms bend. The bar doesn't need to go to your chest just your belly button is more then enough to get under a full Clean. With a Power Clean you typically use less weight and the bar will go higher due to less weight.



Yep, really whip your elbows forward at the top, you should try to point them at the wall in front of you. Letting the bar roll into your fingertips is a good idea, a wider grip will help too. You're catching the weignt on your shoulders, not your arms.


I had this same problem, and I've lately noticed that the clean grip is a lot more comfortable than it used to be. I attribute that to greater flexibility from incorporating a lot of front squats and really focusing on correct form with the grip. There is a wrist mobility section on the Inside Out DVD and one of the stretches is for the clean grip.

Essentially you rack a bar at the height it would be at if you cleaned it and put enough weight on it so it won't easily move out of the j-hooks. Then you just get underneath in a clean grip and slowly work on greater flexibility and mobility. It looks kind of funny in the gym...but it works.


Front squats, front squats and still more front squats. After a few weeks of front squats my difficulties with racking largely disappeared.


Some part of it might be mental. Technique and flexibility need to be worked, but it might just take a little mental preparation to be able to pull urself under a weight that can do some serious damage.


Technique is what gives you the balls to do it. I've seen a lot of people try to lift heavy (any experience level) but without the full technique and they bottle it. The bar is plenty high but if you don't have enough technique practice at limit weight your bail out on lifts.