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grip problem with power cleans

I am having problems with loosing my grip when doing power cleans from the block. Since I am new to olympic lifting I dont use a lot of weight (90-110 lbs), still sometimes I loose my grip before I can rest the weight on my upper chest. I can normally do my uprights with the same weight but somehow the bar feels to be slipping from my hand when I try to turn my wrists and get under the weight. Any suggestions what I might be doing wrong?

I find the number one thing to do at that point in the lift is to shoot your elbows forward - focusing on this will put the bar where it needs to be so grip will really not be such an issue. Also, it sounds like you’re letting go of the bar early, and maybe not pulling it high enough.

My non-expert opinion, hope it helps
Adam Marshall

  1. Hook Grip

    2. Supplementary Grip Work

Gotta agree with Ike.

Yes, the hook grip is a must for any kind of olympic lifts.

Hey, I have very small hands yet I cleaned 170kg from blocks (squat clean, not power clean) with no grip problem. Work on the hook grip, use tape on your thumbs if you have to and try to find some chalk.

Thanks guys, I have been working on my grip and forearms, since I always used to use straps before my t-man time. I will start using the hook grip, although I feel that my technique is faulty as well, btw what do U all think about these books, which one to get??
Explosive lifting for sports by harvey Newton (human kinetics), or An intro to olympic style lifting by John M Cissik:)

Of the 2 books you mentionned I would recommend Explosive lifting for sports, it’s a better book.

But the absolute best in olympic lifting books is The Weightlifting Encyclopedia by Arthur Drechsler.

In regard to your grip problem, don’t sweat it! With training and practice it will get better. I used to have the worst grip around, now it’s very strong. Hard work and patience.

It sounds like to me that you have a technique flaw. The power clean is virtually an upright row with a flip of the wrists at the top of the movement (to oversimplify it). The bar should not change vertical planes during the movement (aka straight line). I see a lot of beginners doing power cleans that look like reverse curls. Hope this helps.

Spuddy, perhaps if it is available, look for a bar that has a high spin. Meaning, the ends of the bar where the weights slide on spin fast when you turn them. What you may be doing is briefly letting the go of the bar in order to rotate your hands and elbows around the bar. The high spin will allow you to rotate your hands quickly around the bar. Have someone knowledgable watch your technique. Since you are doing the cleans from a block, I have a feeling you are trying to “muscle it” with your upper body instead of using your hips/lower body to get the bar moving. If you can upright row the weight, you shouldn’t have a problem when you clean it. How high can you upright row the bar to? Mid chest? Chin? Neck? How many reps are you doing?

When doing dumbell cleans what is the form like, anyone have pictures, it seems rather more like reverse curls than regular cleans.

This may be a stupid question, but what exactly is the hook grip? I’m trying to teach myself the Oly lifts as well right now while doing Christian’s “Money Lifts” program, and I’m also having problems with my grip by the time I get to the last set of hang cleans. Thanks.

For info on the hook grip try:


Thanks Christian. BTW, if you liked Philly, you would love Boston, especially w/r/t old, historic buildings and pro sports.

Actually that was our next trip planned

Alright guys, thanks for all the great advise, I will work on those tips. Christian, Barnes&noble have the encyclopedia, and I get a sweet discount from my company, I think I will also order Power to the People and Strength Training Anatomy.

When i use the hook grip it feels like my thumb is being damaged. Is this safe on the hands?

Interesting to see a photo of Precious McKenzie, the guy is a legend, 4’11 around 60kg (max) and in that photo aged 63 deadlifting 418lbs. Won 3 Commonwealth Games weightlifting gold medals from 1966-1974. Hyphnz.

Many thanks on the Hook grip advice. I used it today on bent over rows and it worked great!

Regardng the hook grip:

  1. Don’t worry about the pain, your thumbs will go numb and then you won’t have to worry.

  2. I wouldn’t use it for things like bent over rows, as it would hamper grip strength development. Save your hook for max deadlifts and olympic lifts.