T Nation

Clean Form Critique

Hey guys,

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 some feedback on where I am at with the pull so far.



No one has commented so I will bite.

A. Don’t make excuses about mobility. If I have 30 minutes available and I can with squat or stretch and get the same result. Do the easier one.

B. The mobility is terrible, there are much tighter lifters moving big weights, so see A. But don’t make it a big deal.

C. Engage the lats, your bar path is not terrible, but as weight moves up it will start to be a challenge to get it back into position. Think doing a Lat isolation row.

D. I couldn’t tell your foot pressure, but I think the way you catch the bar you are midfoot to toes on your second pull. First pull on toes, second pull on heels. Third pull… Get with me in 6 months.

E. Do c and d and your should catch in a better front squat position-- stay tight in your core.

F. Learn to catch the bar lower.

Do all those things and you’re as good as 90% of the folks out there

Front squats do lots of them work up to 315 and let’s talk again after

Thanks for the reply, appreciate it.

I have definitely been working on my mobility, it’s just a slow process. Only been at it a few months. But I’ll definitely be conscious about where the pressure is on my feet during the lifts, a point I had completely overlooked.

CT also told me to drop under the bar quicker and catching it lower. I have definitely been trying but I’m having a hard time with it. My thoughts have been that it’s because the weight I’m using is still relatively light as seen by how high I can pull the bar, thus if I dropped down quicker right after finishing the upward explosion the bar would end up above my head where I have little control over it (therefore during the lift I subconsciously drop a little late to stay in control of the bar.) I don’t know if that is complete bullshit and it’s just something I need to work on or if I should increase the weight to learn to catch it lower.

What kind of a reply is that? So I should just stop doing cleans until I reach a 315 front squat? Everyone begins somewhere man, and better sooner than later.

I didn’t mean stop cleans more aim to increase your fronts while you work on clean technique I’d be front squating every visit to the gym


Right now you’re basically power cleaning the bar and front squatting it. If you don’t believe me, pause the video around 16-17 seconds and look how tall you’re standing when you rack the weight - you’re practically catching it fully locked out, and you’re basically just doing the front squat as a decoration at this point.

The world’s best Olympic lifters don’t do a full front-squat for fun, they do it because the weight they’re pulling is so heavy that they CAN’T get it that high; basically, they have no choice but to catch it in a near ATG position. Watch more videos of good Olympic lifters and compare their catch to yours.

Couple points. On mobility, the first is basically just do it. Your elbows can use work to get higher, but the primary point I see in the clean is that you are leaning forward too much in the hole, which means your squat position needs work and likely your hip and ankle mobility. You should be more upright in the hole.

On the start position I think your butt is too low, which can mess with bar path and pulling mechanics. This is partly a personal thing, so you see some variation, but mostly it is biomechanics.

Regarding dropping under the bar sooner, you will need to maintain a sort of tension with the bar to do it. This is hard for me to explain at this point in my night (long work day and near bed), but if you were to think about actively pulling yourself under the bar after exploding you would probably be better off. It’s almost like you think “pull and explode” followed by immediately “pull myself down against the bar”. If you’ve ever swung an object around your head on the end of a rope it’s similar to that–you are always applying a pressure against the object by pulling it against its natural inclination to fly away. Your arm or wrist is always “leading” the momentum of the object and never “slack” against it.

I’m tired, I’m not sure that made any sense, but it is actually a thing.