T Nation

Flexibility And Cleans?


I tried doing cleans recently, and found that I can't getthe bar anywhere near my clavicle. I've heard that not placing it on the clavicle can seriously injure your wrists, and that's definately not good. Anyone know how I can get around this?


Stretch your wrists. Do cleans everyday. It will come quickly. I had the same problem.


Practice with the bar. Practice, practice, practice....


Stretch everything on a regular basis, if you can put both of your palms on the back of your neck, you will be able to rack the weight after some time. You have to do a lot of front squats in the racked position to get used to holding it there. Keep it light (maybe even the bar) and get comfortable. It will come with time.

You can also do front squats with the bar with your arms stretched straight out front so you can get used to having the bar rest on your clavicles. Even when I am maxing out on front squats, I can comfortably keep only a few fingertips on the bar. The reason is that the fingers are just there for balance. Not to actually hold the weight. Good luck.


Kroll is correct here...definately make sure you aren't "choking out" the bar. Open up your hands and allow the bar to roll toward the tips of your fingers. You shouldn't be supporting the weight at all with your hands, just the natural groove in your shoulders.


You can try to become more flexible, or you can just suck it up and deal with it. Over time, your wrists will get better. But they will probably always hurt or bother you to an extent.

Here's a pic of the clean position.


Who is the ugly mo effer in the pic? Damn.

Hey are those 55# plates? They appear to be ginormous.


Nice pic Nate!



Even Extreme Makeover turned me down.

When you're only 4'11", those 45lb plates look HYOOGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Good suggestion on the practice, but the bar alone may be too light. I need at least 95#s to get the wrists to bend back properly ... kinda like OHSing, it requires some resistance.



Holy shit, and I thought I was short.


Darnit! I was going to start my own thread about wrist pain in the locked position. I'll just jump on this one though.

Just sitting here, the closest I can bring the back of my hand to my shoulder is three inches. I've done front squats once or twice a week for two months and haven't seen any improvement in flexibility or a decrease in pain. I've tried rolling the bar to my fingertips, but that just transfers the pain to my fingers as well as the wrists. I've tried front squats with my arms crossed, but that bruises my arms and makes me feel like a pussy.

I'm going to answer my own question and say that a large part of the problem is poor hamstring flexibility. This makes me lean forward in the bottom half of the movement and places nearly all the weight on my wrists/extended fingers, rather than still resting on my clavicles.

In last week's "Exercises You've Never Tried" it mentioned CW's recommendation for strengthening the wrist extensors. Do you guys think that would help wrist flexibility or is it just for improving grip strength?


I seem to remember Dan John saying he had to soak his wrist in warm water to help his flexibility. Has anyone else tried this?

I also seem to have some major flexibility issues. Leave it to the sensi to enlighten us of our shortcomings.


Strong wrists are good for their own sake, but won't help cleans. Before you even touch the bar for cleans, you should have done a lot of wrist circles, and various gripping to warm up the area. I like to have both of my hands shake each other as a part of the warm up.


The part that's funny, Nate's not even kidding about being 4'11 inches... and that's with his "big boy" shoes on.


I mostly agree, although having stronger wrists is helpful in preventing injury if you miss a clean once in a while.

Good info so far, only thing I would add is that a good stretch for holding a solid rack is to put the bar in a cage/squat stands, approach it as though you were going to front squat it, and have someone push up on your elbows while you're holding on to the bar (not unracked off the cage, bar stationary).

It'll help you get used to what a properly racked clean will feel like in addition to increasing flexibility.

Best of luck,



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