T Nation

Fixing the Football Clean

My roommate doing 250:


He’s cleaned like this since freshman year of High School, and really wants 315 but that’s going to take a major overhaul of form. For reference, he’s deadlifted 565, squatted 450 and rack pulled 700x2 from the knee.

Some stuff is easy (fix the rounded back) but some more in depth would be nice too.


I’d call that a power reverse curl

like you said, he needs a flatter back for the first pull

His second pull is the real problem…
He isnt explosive enough, the main benefits of cleans for football is to build this aspect.

He basically swings his back and catches his balance in a split stance for momentum. He needs to concentrate on getting vertical extension off the floor, and I would recommend keeping his feet together.

His elbows do not get nearly as high as they should which makes this a reverse curl.

So how do we fix this?

Form work for his DLs to keep a straight back- RDLs are a great accessory for this.

Power Shrugs- Shrugs with a little hip action REALLY work on pulling the bar with the traps

High Pulls- Get those elbows UP

Hang Cleans- Starting it put it all together

And remember the clean is a technical lift- numbers dont matter if you aren’t doing it right

He also prematurely pulls with his arms as opposed to letting them just hang straight. This is important throught the first, and second pulls. He does not fully extend in order to maximize the full length of the pull. Scilian has given alot of great infomration really not much to add.

good thread…

anyone else?

Tuck in the iPod.

He could do a deload week where he does 4-5 sessions of Oly lifting form practice and moderate volume assistance exercises.

Maybe a progression like this:

Power clean from mid thigh
Power clean from knee
Power clean from below knee

Once he has that second pull where the knees come forward and the calves/shoulders elevate (plantarflexion,elevation) you could move onto a partial pull from the floor to the knees. Focus on having the shoulders in front of the bar (contrary to deadlifting) and the hips low but not too low.

When everything seems to be coming together you can go for the full power clean at that point. You can make your own combination lift that focuses on the portion that is giving him the most trouble.

Just my .02 cents. It isn’t much, but I hope it helps.

The comments seem good this far. I’d also recommend practicing form with a pvc pipe over and over again, this is something that helped me alot (especially making sure the first pull sets you up for a good scoop and 2nd pull).

If your friend is pretty serious about getting his Olympic Lifts up I’d recommend checking out this book:


I think his body is thinking it is executing a form tackle in football…

his olympic technique and weight might be low by world class standards but I bet this had carryover to tackling…

(of course maybe not the bent back part and not square finish with his legs but some of the other aspects look like a form tackle…this guy could form tackle Brandon Jacobs maybe)


I just looked at the video again…

he is trying to tackle something…


edit: not mocking him…I am a football player and this is actually interesting to me…that’s why I am laughing…

If that is 250 that is a great lift. Normally when so much is wrong there is very little result.

Problem is and it is a cliche that for every wrong movement you must do it right 10 times. So I wonder if he is willing to go backwards in weight while relearning, because he is do so much wrong he needs to build technique and specific strength. The strength he shows here is not in the erectors or hammies calves traps where it is needed.

Going to take a long time to fix what he has, he may as well enjoy what he has got.

Not really related to question but have seen people do high pulls with straight legs and round upper back (very similar to him) as specfic strength work for lumbar and mid back.

Interesting thanks for sharing