T Nation

Cleans and Variations

What is the difference between a normal clean and a power clean? Is the power clean done using a rack? Which variation should I use if I just want to target my back?

Also when doing a normal clean, my wrists begin to hurt when I rest the bar on my chest. Is my technique wrong or are my wrists just weak?

You get used to the wrist pain, if you don’t you may need ART or the like. Try stretching your forearms though.

Cleans are where you go all the way down to a squat with the bar ‘racked’ on your clavicle, and power cleans you only dip down 1/4th of the way at most to ‘rack’ it.

To target your back I’d say neither, I’d do snatch grip high pulls. Grip the bar with your index finger on the ring, and pull up to your sternum, explosively.

Thanks for the help. I have only been doing the clean a couple of weeks which is why my wrist probably has not gotten used to the strain on it.

The definition of a Power Clean is: A Clean in which the dip/squat under is above parallel. An OL Clean is done with the dip/squat under below parallel.

It is impossible to tell is you are using correct form without pictures, or video (does the internet make me look fat?), but if you just taught yourself then more then likely your form is bad. If you cannot get someone knowledgeable in OL to coach you, at the very least video tape yourself and analyze your form by comparing it to videos of someone using proper form, with someone impartial (not mom or grandma).

A full squat clean is where you “pull yourself” under the bar and catch it in a full front squat position.

When doing a power clean you catch the bar with your knees bent less than 90 degrees. you just bend them enough to catch the bar.

if you just want to target your back then do powercleans or hang powercleans.

i have always had problems with wrist flexibility, learn to stretch your forearms between sets; that’s what i did and it worked. be careful and don’t injure yourself.

good luck

  • Volk

[quote]pgainda wrote:
What is the difference between a normal clean and a power clean? Is the power clean done using a rack? Which variation should I use if I just want to target my back?

Also when doing a normal clean, my wrists begin to hurt when I rest the bar on my chest. Is my technique wrong or are my wrists just weak?[/quote]

I don’t know if you meant upper chest or shoulders, but the catch should probably be made on your shoulders with your elbows up in a front squat position. If you are catching it on the upper chest with elbows pointing down then it puts an awful lot of stress on the wrists, elbows, and shoulders and can hurt like a bitch.

pgainda,
You might find the link below helpful. The differances are a little easier to understand when visualized.
old dogg
http://www.uwlax.edu/strengthcenter/videos/video_index.htm

If your form is similar to that of the guy in some of the OL videos from the above link, run (don’t walk) to an OL coach, because his technique needs a lot of work.

I don’t want to slam the guy, because OL is a difficult sport which requires a lot of time to learn, and he may be just starting out.

If you can’t find a coach, or afford one, at the very least purchase a video, or two from Ironmind and study the technique of some elite lifters (you wouldn’t want to study my golf swing, when you can study Tiger’s). Then next thing that one must do is video tape one’s own technique and study it (things look a lot different then you imagine).

I’d echo everything said above by RJ.

The guy in that video is useful more as as an example of things NOT to do than as a model of how to clean.

Some obvious (and very common) mistakes leap out: 1) his back is rounded from the very beginning; 2) he has no explosion, fails to pop his hips; 3) he does not rack the weight. There are more, but these leap out and are very common.

Overall, his technique more closely resembles a reverse grip curl. It is slow and lacks any dynamism. He is not getting any power from his legs or lower back. That is like bench-pressing without using any pectoral or deltoid muscles.

By all means invest in a decent video showing world-class lifters executing the movements. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 100 million.

Also, video-taping yourself is an excellent tool, and so easy to do nowadays.

And, of course, finding a coach if possible is highly recommended.

I believe old dogg was referring to this link:

http://www.uwlax.edu/strengthcenter/videos/exercisevideos/Weightlifting%20Movements%20Page/Weightlifting%20Movements.htm

which is found through the link he posted above by clicking on “Weightlifting Movements (Olympic)”. It’s the ones with the Russian national anthem playing.

The music is a nice touch. Still better are the guy’s “shtangetki” (weightlifting shoes) – Soviet/Russian made, devoid of any consumerist stripes or logos. His are just like my old pair, with the blue stripe (as opposed to the red). Every so often some confused soul would ask, “Are those bowling shoes?” Though simple, they are great shoes, just as good if not better than anything Adidas has put out. They last, too.

As for the videos, the guy’s technique is creditable, but the execution of the lifts is not as crisp as it could be, in part because the guy is using pretty light weights (those green bumper plates are just 10 kg). Thus, for example, when he snatches he starts his “podryv” (or what I think most English language texts prefer to call “second pull”) the bar is well below his groin. That is easy to do when the weight is light, but it won’t work with a decent load.

One thing I do criticize heavily are the pull videos, for both the snatch and clean pulls: there is no intensity there, the execution is sloppy, lazy even, and there is NO reason to step back after completing the pull. Pulls should be done with the same intensity and concentration as a snatch or clean.

After completing the pull, don’t keep your hands on the bar, and lower the bar by at least guiding it or controlling its descent more deliberately to work the eccentric phase. I’d suggest using straps when doing pulls (but not when doing snatches and cleans unless for a special reason).

I’m with Rick and Ajax. That little jump on the end doesn’t help things. I’ve read a lot of stuff on the Internet about OL and a popular visualization technique is to say that an Olympic lift is a jump up while holding the bar. Charles Staley even recommended doing jumps with a bar in his snatch articles. While I do think this is a good way to get some of the basics of the movement down, I’ve learned through trial and error that it’s kind of like a jump but not really. It’s more like a jump with a forward hip thrust - Chris Thibaudeau calls this “making love to the bar;” Mike Mahler calls it the “midnight move.” I made some good gains in pulling power when I stopped jumping and started making love to the bar. Buy it dinner first.

The guy in the video - there’s no love there.

Ajax, it seems as if you know russian, and know some of the “weightlifting specific” words. ive been trying to learn russian myself by listening to audio CD’s and using some “teach yourself” books, but other than boris (forgot his last name, lives in kansas now and is former russian weightlifting coach) and yuri verkoshanski at a couple of national meets, ive been unable to converse with any russian speakers who know weightlifting specific terms. id love to get to know some specific terms, if youd be willing to give me a few minutes to translate some stuff for me. also, several of my lifters are learning with me, so youd be helping more than just one person, if that matters. shoot me a private message if youd be willing to help.