T Nation

DB Clean and Press

I have pretty much just been using dumbells in my training for the past month or two (except for fridays when I can use the gym at my high school where I work) as I have been training at home due to a busy schedule.

This is not a problem as I get to do my second favourite exercise (dumbell clea and press) so all is good.

My only problem is that I have hit a plateau. Im up to a one hand dumbell clean and press (with some leg drive) of 93.5lbs at a weight of 165lb. I REALLY want to hit 100lb but I am having trouble locking out and as I press up the dumbell is waivering at the top of the lift.

Ive been using lots of low rep stuff from 3x3 to 8x4 and other combinations. Ive also tried Power to the people. I am thinking to try an adapted West Side template for it.

Does anyone have any hints/ tips/ ideas as to how I could structure a WS workout to try and improve this lift?

As I said I am restricted to training at home most of the week but I do have a load of plates and adj dumbell/barbell. I can get down to a fully equipped gym every friday that has most stuff (even bumper plates!!).

I would appreciate any advice or even just a point in the right direction.



back off the weight and work on your speed w/perfect technique.


what he said ... you may actually create more force (and thus stimulus) on the muscle by moving a lighter weight faster



Do you mean that I should add a speed day like with westside or just make that my focus for the next 6 weeks or so using varying percentages of my 1RM several times a week?


I think it would be a great idea to use overhead pressing as your max effort exercise while still doing some accessory work for horizontal pressing.

hit vertical pulling hard. this seemed to help my vertical pressing a bunch. wtd chins are great. dont neglect horizontal rowing/pulling!

blast the hell out of your rear delts. strong biceps dont hurt either as you decelerate the wt and press it back overhead.

figure out a handfull of different exercises you can rotate for your max effort work.

push presses

side pressess(1arm but bend to the side and push the wt away from you (still straight up)


when i could do 1arm presses with 105 on the barbell i could do 120 with dumbbells(didnt have anything heavier..).

add some light chains to the barbell to create some instability--this should really help things out. the chains dont have to be long either. just get them "swaying" around a bit.

do some sort of dynamic work.

try some lockouts in the power rack. yes im serious! set the pins way up high so you only have to lock out 3 or 4inches. lockout and hold heavy wt for time or do heavy, low rep sets. if you dont have a really strong core/back/hips this is going to make you cry--so do it! :wink:


train hard,
ryan b.


Great advice


Sage words!! Thats exactly the kind of advice I was hoping for.

I am no where near a mirror when I lift so thats not a problem for me. I think the lock out is a good idea as it seems to be where my weak point is.

If following a west side style workout with Max and Dyn days where would you recommend putting the lockouts?


lockouts could be used as a max movement or done after your speed work. then do some vertical pulls.
(heavy vert pulls on ME day... light Vert pulls on DE day)

I would advise you to begin working your wrist strength as well. Plate gripping, and plate curls all would work well. I believe someone above mentioned doing curls too... your elbow stability will come into question eventually so this is also good advice.


Question regarding where you're having trouble

Are you having trouble getting the weight itself up? Like there is a sticking point.

Or are you getting the weight up but you can't hold it after you attempt to lock it out?

If it's the former... then yes ME work on the basic "grind it out" exercises are necessary and DE work will teach you how to blast through the plateaus. With your DE work for this movement, it may be advisable for you to begin with a bit more weight.

I'm not sure other's might want to chime in on this. I"d reccomend starting with 65% instead of 50% for week one simply because of the nature of the exercise.
I'm not exactly sure though...

If it's the latter, then nothing really helps other than practicing the lock out itself (set up high barbell in power rack, lock out with 1 hand and 2 hands). Also work the supporting muscles needed in the movement.

I believe if there is unstability it will originate from the joint regions... so elbow and shoulder.

More than likely weakness in the elbow will stimulate from weak forearm muscles and tricep muscles... perhaps also the bicep (but most tend to train this anyway)... identify your weakness and train it to be a strength.
In the shoulder: most likely the rear delt will destablize the lift if not properly trained.

K, its 6:30 and I"m jsut getting to bed...and i'm losing my train of thought...so if i'm forgetting something... i'm sorry :slight_smile: good luck


I can clean the weight up to my shoulder, no problem there. When I dip and try to drive it up it gets to about the half way point and then starts to waiver and falter.

I tend to move out of the groove and lose the path that the weight is travelling in.

SO keeping it steady and getting the lock out are the weaknesses for me.


k well then u need to do both :-p


oh and figure out a way to rig something up that will make the bar on the dumbbell thicker too. Training with a thick bar dumbbell will recruit more motor units.

that should help a lot as well.


All good advice. Thaks for all the input.


In that case, I'd take a page out of Westside's book, and hit some tricep accessory work. Overhead 1-arm or 2-arm extensions, close-grip benching, Tate Presses, and Helmet Presses (top half of a military press, from head- level to lockout).

Okay, I'll bite...Hey Spiderman, what's your #1 favorite exercise?


DEADLIFT, best exercise ever.