T Nation

Help With Cleans


I've just been reading all of Dan John's excellent stuff

However i'm sure i'm missing something, could someone write up a cleans "how to" with loads of detail,

The bit from 1" off the knees up would be very helpful


Cleans aren't as hard as you think.

I too used to think they are difficult to learn, but my boxing coach taught me how to do them properly within 5 minutes.

Just start off in a deadlift position (both hands pronated grip - I think thats the right term? palms down not up), keep your arse low, head up.

Then basically deadlift the weight as fast as possible, when the weight gets to your knees, shrug your shoulders and and raise your calves, and pull the weight up, this part is basically like a cheated upright row- all done as one explosive movement.

Then to catch the weight, just bend your knees slightly (as if someone has walked up behind you and pushed there foot into the back of your knee), then just stand up straight.


Um... you missed the double knee bend. But yeah, apart from that, the basic gist of the lift is easy. Make sure you've got the form down perfectly though, and try to get a coach to teach you the lift.


doing the double knee bend, but it all seems very slow

the shrug/jump bit seems very difficult to co ordinate


All good advice so far. I would add - shins perpendiculr to the floor, keep your weight on your heels, and start slow. I don't start accelerating the bar until it is 4-6 inches off the floor. This helps protect my elbows from injury and doesn't deminish my max clean (which is 180lbs) That's my advice and that is how much I can move. If 180 is a trivial weight for you please feel free to disregard. Good luck.


From my exp the jump/shrug is something that comes with time, mostly everyone has difficulties with it at first.


You have to start fast and finish fast. Keep accelerating and the weight will fly at the second pull.

Ignore the double knee bend (dont think about it). It is not really a conscious movement. It just happens if you do everything else right. At least thats what they say.

Also, try as hard as you can to keep the arms straight until the second pull as this will help transfer leg power to the bar.


Don't start in the deadlift position. Start with your hips slightly lower, but still above parallel. Rather than letting the hips move slightly from the beginning as one would in the deadlift, maintain the same hip angle until the bar is almost to your hips. Then - - - jump! - no pulling with the arms - - - get under the weight, and squat the weight up.

The less you move your hips during the first pull, the more hip angle you have left to throw into the second. And the second pull is where it's at.


anyone got any good video links to a perfect clean

Videos of Dan John or something?


I posted this before of a great Hang-Clean at 405lbs... notice when the weight gets real heavy like that he "drops" down to get under it... its a fun movement and this video is really inspiring...



check out the ercent threads of Dimas and a few others lifting, they have great form.

The two best verbal/pictoral descriptions were by the late JV Askem (his old website is now hosted on OntarioStrongman, it has the descriptions) and in The Weightlifting Encyclopedia by Arthur Dreschler. Artie's book should be carried by a nearby library, or you can pick it up off of Amazon, it's a great reference.

C Thib's descriptions have always been great too, I'm not sure if they're on T-Nation or not.



And like before, it's still bad form. He's lucky he didn't rip his bicep clean off, not to mention the fact that he rests the bar on is hip.



That guy has disgustingly ugly form...



i need to slow this down and watch it at 1/4 speed or something, amazing lifting


The key for me: Keep your weight on your heels, ass low, chin up and eyes straight ahead. Then, when the bar passes your knees, look up to the ceiling and violently thrust your hips foward. That's the pop. The bar will fly up. Start light.
Check out that Dimas video.


Does the same full power jump/shrug that occurs with snatches apply to cleans also? So in other words, when i am hang cleaning, instead of dropping enough for a decent pop from the legs, should i be charging for a full powered feet-leave-the-ground- jump/shrug?


Here is a video demo of the clean with jerk.
There is a slide show of the powerclean, or clean without the dip under. It's easier to do, but the "squatclean" is a harder move, so it's more rewarding.
Has more video and slide-show demos. The slide show ones are good b/c you can slow them down and there are text pointers at different spots.


for me the defining element is speed. cleaning is an explosion rioght from the bottom, you definetly can't "muscle it up". some of my friends are strong enough to clean a weight but they can't make it and i have to think it's cause they aren't fast enough or maybe what i mean by "fast" cause the movement definetly gets slower as the weight piles on- is the ability to recruit enough muscle all at once.

i bet if you broke it down and worked a progression of jump shrugs or even deads w/ shrug up onto toes, for 3 weeks or so then took a little break then went back to cleans you would see a noticeable improvement. i'm not a coach or anything but this was recommended to me and has worked for me and my friends.


The slide show wouldn't open for me, but that's shitty form on the clean video. The bar path was terrible; the bar was too far forward from the shins, there was poor triple extension (uncoordinated and slow), and the catch was made with the bar too far forward on the delts with the center of gravity almost completely in front of the foot. I'd demote that person to using a broomstick until it was fixed.

How can coaches/website administrators post this kind of crap? Don't they feel any sense of responsibility towards providing adequate demonstrations to their patrons?



Yeah that was pretty crappy.