T Nation

Hi Rep powercleans?

Does anyone of an opinion on the use of powercleans, done in reps around 20 or so, as a cardio workout? Im thinking something like 4 or 5 sets of 20 with a lightweight, would this be a waste of time? or would it help with explosiveness(sp?) and fatloss at the same time?

I wouldn’t do it. Your form is going to suffer. The smaller muscles involved in the clean would weaken quicker than the larger ones resulting in bad form (i.e. explosion).

I think this is an insanely bad idea, for numerous reasons. Mostly because you’d be forcing yourself to train with poor form in the higher reps, which would inevitably lead to injury when you actually began to use appreciable weight.

I also find it interesting when people talk about using light weight to work on their explosiveness. Use light weight when you are first learning the Olympics and proper technique, but by all means look to increase it. So many people end up doing explosive reverse curls because a) they don’t know what they’re doing and b) the weight is too light.

As a general rule of thumb your average reps should be about 3 and should rarely, if ever, exceed 6.

poliquin hates what you are describing, louie simmons likes it for conditioning (building up your anaerobic capacity) purposes only. do not do for explosiveniss and most likely inadvisable for fatloss

Davies recomends one arm snatches and cleans done at higher reps for gpp. You might want to look into that. Probably would be safer than orthodox powercleans etc. What does everyone else think?

Yeah, bad idea. When we perform power cleans or The Bear, we use the 5x5 protocol. 5 sets of 5 reps. If anything using light weight for high reps goes against the grain of purpose in performing power cleans.

If you need to perform cardio for fat loss, than perform cardio. You need to concentrate on proper form/technique and explosive power for power cleans. We usually have a "clean day" or a "Bear day".

The problem is that as fatigue sets in (especially in the muscles that act as stabilizers during the clean) technique becomes faulty so the risk of injury goes up. Furthermore, acceleration is decreased which is not what we want.


I have used sets as high as 10 reps in the power clean from the hang, but that was with nigligeable weights, to better teach technique.


If you really want to train your anaerobic energy system with the olympic lifts I suggest cluster training over overly long sets. e.g. 5 reps, 30 seconds break, 5 reps, 30 seconds break, 5 reps, 30 seconds break …

High rep unilateral cleans, snatches, and swings is a great way to build up anaerobic capacity, help learn motor patterns, burn off fat and also to will assist somewhat with explosiveness. This is best done with dumbells or kettlebells.

When doing traditional olympic lifts with barbells it is much more difficult to maintain good form, especially if the weight is light. When the weight is light, you don't have to use good form, you can just slop it up.

Because form and safety is going to be an issue with high rep cleans, you may want to consider using a high-pull instead. With high pulls you wont have to worry about “the catch,” which demands good technique.

Thanks for the reply, my only question now is would it be safe to do the cleans with two dumbells, or one side at a time? thanks alot for the input!

I’d stick with one dumbell at a time. With one db, you can still focus and maintain good form. Using 2 dbs would basically be the same as using the bar and even a bit tougher, so it would not be recommended.