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Clean Pulls vs Deadlifts


Other than building muscle, what is the better exercise and what are the reasons.

(The Clean pull is the deadlift in a clean position with a power shrug at the top.)


(The Clean pull is the deadlift in a clean position with a power shrug at the top.)

If the aim were to 'shrug the weight up' then that would be true.

If ones aim is to improve the clean then clean pulls help with the part of the part of the movement that requires pulling the weight from the floor to just past the knee.

Depends a bit on what technique you are aiming to do...

One thought is that your hips should start lower with a clean pull (compared to a deadlift). This involves more leg (knee extension) and less hip extension than a deadlift. Another thought is that the bar should leave the ground when it is over your mid-foot and you pull it back towards you off the floor by transitioning your weight from your midfoot to the heel and contracting your lats. This means you will move significantly less weight than you will in a deadlift where your hips will rise a bit in order to deload the legs and the bar will roll back to your shins before leaving the floor if you didn't set it up further back towards you in the first place. At least it will on max efforts.

If you don't want to train the olympic lifts then deadlifts are probably a better option. You can move more weight with them and you train hip extension, too.


But are there any real benefits for doing the deadlift over the clean pull


The clean pull is technically demanding. I don't see what the point of doing clean pulls would be if you weren't trying to improve the first portion of the clean. The whole point of the clean pull is to get the bar into good second pull position. If you aren't going to do a second pull then what would the point be?

The deadlift is technically demanding, but typically thought to be a lot less so. It is basically standing up weight safely in a way that is more natural to the body (in the sense that it is just picking it up rather than positioning it in such a way to throw it up). It has more carryover to picking things up outside the gym. It will train your lower back (with the hip extension component) and your legs. You can move a lot of weight with it which is meant to be good for a 'systems response' (hormones etc).


Thanks a lot. You've been really helpful. I am currently doing power cleans but im kind of slacking off with them and I was thinking if clean pulls or jump shrugs would be a good replacement but I think I might stick with deadlifts now.


why cant you do both?


Clean pulls are better for teaching an olympic weightlifter the first and second pull.

Deadlifts are a grindy exercise for brute, pulling strength.

It's that simple. Clean pulls are more explosive and deadlifts are more static.


Yes. It's basically like comparing jump squats over regular squats. Clean pulls, like I said, are dynamic while deadlifts are for absolute strength.


why dont you post a vid of you pulling a new deadlift pr in a slow, non-explosive fashion?


What are your goals?

If brute strength and/or hypertrophy are your goals, I'd choose a deadlift variation (snatch grips from a deficit if your flexible enough are brutal and good for upper back and posterior chain development).

If athleticism and explosiveness are what you want, then clean pulls are better. Although, I would rather do power snatches or hang snatches myself for that purpose but those can be a little tricky to learn.

And a clean pull is where you pull the bar about as high as you would if you were pulling for a powerclean. Not just an explosive deadlift with a shrug.


I could of sworn that was a high pull.

I used to deadlift but only squat and clean now. I just think that deadlifts dont really do much for athletes.

Im training someone who isn't very athletic. Tomorrow is his second day on 5x5 and I was thinking of replacing deads with clean pulls as they are quite similar. Its just teaching cleans to someone who has never done any exercise is very hard.


Your right. From what I gathered from youtube is that the clean pull still has triple extension. Not just a deadlift with a shrug. My bad. I don't know much about olympic lifts except how to do their hang and power versions, but it sounds like a good introductory movement to oly's.

Personally, I just went for the plunge. I'm probably just speaking the choir, but when cleans are introduced, be sure this person has good wrist and shoulder flexibility. I messed up my shoulder pretty good doing cleans when I didn't have the necessary flexibility and even a couple years after that fact, it still nags me.


Apples and oranges in my opinion. They have different end goals, ergo different uses.

Saying one is better without any qualifiers is a silly statement.


i never saw the point in pulling it high enough to rack and then not racking it... unless one lacks the flexibility to rack it in which case one would probably be better off spending ones time...


teaching cleans to someone who has never done any exercise is very hard.

i presume you mean powercleans since one certainly shouldn't try teaching cleans to someone who can't even front squat...
and in order to front squat one needs to be able to...

it is pretty hard to teach powercleans so they are done explosively with hip hinge (rather than being a bit of a dynamic reverse arm curl). of all the people in my gym who try and do powercleans... not very many manage much of a hip drive at all. they would probably be better off spending their time doing something else...

e.g., weighted hip extensions or kettlebell swings.

deadlifts build strength. they can be used to build power, too.

if the person is a fairly non-athletic beginner then i'd try and keep things as simple as possible... hopefully the progressive overload will get them catching the bug.