T Nation

Clean Critique


Hello all,
Could you please check out this video and advise me on where Im going wrong?

It seems to me that I dont finish the 2nd pull properly and finish with my arms. How can I work on stopping this?



that's some long limbs man!

seems to me like you are pulling with your arms at first.. then when you start exploding they straighten out and then rebend again really fast.

If you are gonna pull the bar slightly higher(to get it closer to the hip to explode) with your arms during the 1st and 2nd pull then make sure your arms don't straighten out during the explosion. It's leaving the bar almost stationary for a split second and you are definitely losing kilos from this.

Or don't pull the bar at all with your arms until you are about to explode.

This is actually kind of odd cause you don't seem to be finishing with your arms. Its the exact opposite of what someone new does. You pull before the finish with your arms then when you are going to finish you stop pulling at the most crucial time.

I would advise you, since you also have long limbs that in fact you keep doing the same thing with your legs and back and just keep pulling with your arms at all times, especially at the end. Also try(with your arms) to put the bar in a trajectory that's closer to your body during the phase from the explosion till you receive the bar


Is there anything I can do to stop pulling with my arms in the beginning? Are their any drills to correct this?

I definitely lose a lot of momentum in the middle. I cant get a nice transition between the pulls. Maybe as you say I could stop trying to eliminate arm involvement, and try to use it in a more effective way. However I would like to keep my arms straight and solid in the explosive section. Anyway I'll have a think about what you've said, thanks


Can't think of any drills. Just keep your arms relaxed. It takes a lot of people a lot of time before they feel comfortable doing that. For most its just fear but it goes away eventually. So just do reps and focus on having your arms more relaxed without relaxing your grip too much


Pulls to mid thigh. Just work on keeping your arms straight, if you bend = bad

There is no real excuse for bending your arms early. You LOSE POWER. Alternatively just load up a f0ck load of weight so you can't bend your arms :stuck_out_tongue:

Pulls to mid thigh. Do them controlled 4reps x 4-5sets.

Keep working at this. Once you have done enough reps to condition yourself you will be okay.



My coach always tells me to keep my elbows turned out and locked. It is the que that made me stop pulling to early.


As long as you aren't "overpulling" at the end then that's as good a cue as any.


Yeah I think it's going to take some time before I feel comfortable setting up and initiating the 1st pull. My brain always seems halfway into executing the explosive phase. Probably, as you say, a big contributor to this problem is fear.


Thanks, I tried this and my arms didn't bend. I also felt that I was able to engage my glutes/hips much more. I think this could be my problem, I clean and my arms just DO the job. Hoping this will help.


Just keep working at it at the end of your session.

This has 2 benefits
-makes sure your first pull is correct
-stop bending your arms

Make sure you brace your shoulders back and make sure your back and lats are tight before you pull off the floor. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS TIGHT before you lift.




A common mistake is to apply to much power at the start of the lift. In your videos I can spot a tendency to yank the bar off the floor.

Make sure you have firm contact with the floor (standing in the middle of the foot) and you have contact with the bar before you start. The way up to your knees is simply transport.

You can try starting from a full upright position. Make a clean and find the timing. Then lower to the middle of the thigh. Same thing. Lower to just above knees. Same thing. You can also program something like:

Clean from mid thigh + Clean

As mentioned. Rotate your shoulders forward so that your elbows point to the sides, but make sure to keep scapulae tight.

In the position right above the knee, you seem to lean a bit too much backward. Your armpit, the bar and the ball of the foot should form a horizontal line throughout the pull.

Good luck! :slight_smile:


Thanks, I always aim to start the 1st pull with my weight on my heels for some reason. I'll focus on everything you mentioned next time. Unfortunately (or not), in a few hours Im driving down to Croatia for 2 weeks of swimming in the sea, eating, and lazing on the beach. When I get back I will work hard on the cleans and post update videos. Thanks everyone. I much appreaciate and NEED this feedback


If you make a habit of filming yourself from the side, you can judge a lot of your technique yourself.

Start not by looking at yourself, but at the bar. Your aim should be to get the bar in a straight vertical path. If you spot any deviations from this line, you can start looking at yourself and what is causing the problem.

To judge timing, you just create mental checkpoints. In the clean, it would be something like "when the bar reaches its highest point, I will be in a full sit with my elbows fully extended". You can judge this the same way by filming.

It's a good idea in general to film from the side, since the technique you can spot from any other position is minimal. :slight_smile:



A bit hard to tell, but it looks like you go around your knees at the start. That starts you off forward in the pull. You should learn to sweep the bar inward. Also, you have that arm pulling problem, possibly as a reaction to the bar being forward.

Sometimes pausing the bar just below the knee for some training reps can encourage the use of the correct muscles and help relax the arms. Block cleans may also help. the key is to get your mind around the fact that the larger muscles of the hips and legs are doing the job and your arms only come into an active roll on the descent to the catch position.

Hope this helps.