T Nation

Clean Form Critique


Hey CT,

Over the last couple of months I’ve been heading into weightlifting. I won’t have access to a coach until September when I begin uni so I’ve been taking it slow and keeping it light to focus on form.

I am lacking a fair amount of mobility keeping me from catching the bar in strong position, but I would highly appreciate your time to get some feedback on where I am at so far with the pull.




Ok, in the past I gave full point by point technical analysis of the movements. After talking to a sport psychologist it might not be the best way to do things.

\What happen is that when a coach gives a very thorough technical analysis of a movement the athletes learn by piecing together several mechanical actions. In training it works great as long as there is no pressure.

As soon as there is pressure (competition of maximum attempt) because of adrenalin your cognitive processes (thinking) speeds up, in other words you think more. You then start to “dechunk” the movement (instead of thinking of the movement as a whole you start focusing on each technical element individually), this messes up the timing and form breaks down.

\That’s why you have many athletes who look great in training with submaximal weights but have a horrible form breakdown in as little as one set when the load gets more chanllenging and its even worse in competition.

So if I give you a very precise technical analysis of what you should do I would do you a disservice for future performance.

I will say that your positions are pretty good. I think that your shoulders are too far behind in the start position (they should be above or even slightly in front of the bar) because your hips are just a tad too low.

The element I would focus on is moving faster under the bar. You pull very high (high enough to power clean) but are slow under the barbell. To be strong as the clean you need to move under As soon as you finish the explosion up you should start moving down just as explosively. Do not wait for the bar to be as high as it will be before moving down under.

I would actually suggest not doing any true power cleans until your speed under the bar is good. The power cleans you do (as a warm-up for example) should be caught with the legs bent at 90 degrees, no higher… and you should explode down to that 90 degrees as soon as you finish
exploding up.


As simple as this sounds, one thing that has helped me more than anything is to think about standing up as fast as I can (thank you CT) or pushing my feet through the floor the entire time, rather than jumping with the barbell in my hands. When I think of it this way, I get under the bar very quickly. Personally, I like simple cues.