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How to Use Cleans in a Workout?


#1

I just started doing cleans, and I was wondering how other people used them in their workouts. I did 6 sets of 7 today without about 90 sec rest between sets. (This was after max bw pullups, incline press, and bent over row - and I followed them with some standing shoulder press) I'm still getting the movement of the clean down, so my weights are light (115 lbs) and I'm probably not doing them fast enough yet.

To give you a basis to compare I'm 180 and I DL 300 for 5 reps in workouts and Incline press 175 for 5 reps. I'm just curious what sort of weight I should be shooting for on cleans, and if I can build a whole workout around them. For example I have a day where I do 6 sets of DL as the core of my workout and whatever lifts I feel like afterwards.

Sorry for my lack of a real question here, but any advice or input would be appreciated. Thanks.


#2

The clean is a high-cns exercise. As such, it does not like being one of the last exercises you do. I do mine either 1st or 2nd in the workout.

Also, I almost never do more then 3reps per set of any olympic exercise, I'd rather add more sets.


#3

Don't do sets of more than 3 reps. At heavier weights, 1-rep sets are ideal. Simply do something like 10 sets of 1 rep (heavy) and concentrate on exploding that weight up.


#4

Typically don't do cleans after chinups or pullups. Use them as the "meat" of your workout. Cleans are one of the best bang for your buck exercises that you can perform. Also, never do them after a grinding pull like the deadlift.

Nick


#5

Some good rules for cleans:

Do them first in a workout. They're demanding on your nervous system and won't be very beneficial if you do them after a lot of other work.

The first point doesn't really apply if you're going really light to work on form, though I'd prefer to see form work done while fresh.

They're leg and back dominant. Make sure you account for them as such.

Don't go over 3 reps per set - 10 or more sets is perfectly acceptable though. Form really tends to break down after 3 or so - some guys can get away with 5, but it's really pushing it.

What are you using as your resource for proper form?

Have a good one

Dan


#6

If the bar ends up in the right spot, you're probably doing them just fast enough. Ignore the weight you're using, focus on keeping the technique solid.

Dan John recently said to shoot for having your clean, flat bench, and front squat "pretty much" the same.

Hells yeah, man. They're such a monster move, that if you work them hard enough, you can do almost whatever you want afterwards. If you hit cleans hard, and follow up with smaller back or shoulder work, you'd be golden.

Rep-wise, I agree with Muppet and Oklahoma. I'd keep the reps anywhere between 1 and 4 per set, any more than that and cumulative fatigue will likely send your technique into the crapper. And vary your sets according to your goals. With that said, I was recently playing with cleans for 8x8. (Albeit with a lighter weight, and much shorter rest periods.) When I mentioned this workout to Dan John in his locker room thread recently, he gently suggested that it may not be the best application of the exercise. After a few workouts, I tend to agree. It helped my technique some, but probably no more than lower-rep, more frequent work would have. Plus, my grip was a significant limiting factor with higher reps.

One neato clean variation I've used, especially outside this past summer, was walking cleans. I'd clean the bar, take 2 or 3 steps with it in the rack position, lower it, clean it back up, take a few more steps. I'd do it up and down my driveway, about 80' each way. 2 tons of fun, definitely.


#7

Thanks for all the advice. I will definitely use cleans as the central lift of a workout, as well as keep the reps lower.

For form, I read some stuff on Dan John's website (especially the Begining Olympic Lifting powerpoint).


#8

If I could Clean and flat bench what I can front squat, I'd be a beast! aahhhaha


#9

You should definetly keep the reps within 1-4 reps.

The question is.. are you doing cleans? cleans from hang? power cleans?

All of the modifications of the lift can help you do better. Add some clean pulls to that.

Remember, the bar hit the thighs closer to the knee than the snatch hit which is closer to the hip. And if you ever add snatches to your training regimen, put em first.


#10

4-8 sets of 3 to 5 reps is a good range. Keep the weight light, around 65%-70% of your 1RM. The important thing is that you maintain acceleration, technique, and barspeed. If you find that you're slowing down or getting sloppy form then reduce the load or the number of sets/reps. Focus on form and acceleration!


#11

Wow, I'm way off if I'm supposed to be even with all three of those things. I can only clean about 127.5kg, bench about 143kg, but my front squat is 165kg on a bad day after back squatting (180kg on a good day fresh). I guess I have some catching up to do! Though when I was younger I could clean more than I benched. Though I could barely squat more than I cleaned at that time (165kg back squat, 152.5kg clean). Wierd.

Regarding where to use cleans in the workout. I think you can use them as a great warmup at the begin of your workout, use light weights for this. Gets the whole body warm, can go with sets of 6 for this. Helps get technique going as well. Then if you are going to have them as a focus movement for one of your lifting days I agree with the others to use lower rep schemes (3 or less). In the summer I would do three weeks on, 1 week off, and do 10x3 week one, 10x2 week two, 10x1 week three. For extra fun I'd do them on the sand using an Apollon's Axle. I have followed this same method for snatches as well.

Regards,

Sensless


#12

Is that an "ass to calves" front squat? DJ's experience suggests that your clean and a front squat triple will be very, very close.

Regards,
Mark


#13

why not put some presses in with the cleans, you will have to drop some weight but they are truely killers.


#14

Yeah it is an ATG front squat. I have also heard that one should be able to C&J their front squat triple. I am a lot better at squatting than deads and pulls, but I am working on it. Current FS is 340 at 190Bw.


#15

im guilty of doing cleans at the end of a workout, but generally stick to 3 sets of 3-6 reps, depending on the weight...135, 155, 165...

got out 185 a month or so back for 3, but last night i tried but just couldnt...probably fucked due to DOING IT AT THE END lol...but i might take the advice here and throw them in the middle of my workout, a 3x3 scheme or similar??...btw, im just adding them in, they arent a prescribed lift in the wo's im doing...i dont think that should be a problem.

also, there is nothing better than doing cleans next to some guy doing smith machine squats, not even holding the bar (not that you have to anyway, fucker just lazy). plus, im cleaning what he is smith squatting LOL!!! (and thats not big anyway)

no shit, i have only seen 1 other bloke doing cleans at my gym, but fk me, the curlers are out in force :smiley:


#16

A couple of pointers:

-Catch the clean in the full squat position. This will improve your reactivity.
-Do not go below 80% 1rm on the olympic lifts or there will be no benefit.


#17

This statement is rubbish! Why?! If one's goal were to gain more strength in the clean I could see ONLYusing sets of 3; however, nothing was mentioned about his overall goals. Also, he stated he just started doing them so maybe he could benefit from doing more reps. Not to mention it never hurts to attempt the more technically difficult lifts later in the workout this is one way to effectively challenge the body...there is no rule on when to do them. It is these simplistic generalizations that people listen to that keeps them from progressing.

To the gentleman who originally posted the question:

There are many ways to incorporate the clean into your workout. I use the clean 2 - 3 times per week because it is such a great overall body exercise. I like to do max effort one day with progressively heavier weights up to a max triple; or I like to do high reps with low weight for a good cardio workout, for example, 6 X 6 with about 60 - 90 secs of rest between sets.

For the ultimate workout I incorporate them into a complex where I do the following exercises: clean, overhead press, bentover row, front squat; I'll usually do about 4 - 5 reps of each exercise before moving to the next exercise with no rest until I finish the circuit. I then rest for about 90 - 120 sec and continue with the next set. I usually don't do an X number of sets but rather just go for 15 - 20 min. This allows me to check my progress by the number of total reps I do for the given amount of time, i.e., density training.

No matter how you incorporate this lift it is guaranteed to work wonders on overall body strength!


#18

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:
Muppet wrote:
The clean is a high-cns exercise. As such, it does not like being one of the last exercises you do. I do mine either 1st or 2nd in the workout.

Also, I almost never do more then 3reps per set of any olympic exercise, I'd rather add more sets.

This statement is rubbish! Why?! If one's goal were to gain more strength in the clean I could see ONLYusing sets of 3; however, nothing was mentioned about his overall goals. Also, he stated he just started doing them so maybe he could benefit from doing more reps. Not to mention it never hurts to attempt the more technically difficult lifts later in the workout this is one way to effectively challenge the body...there is no rule on when to do them. It is these simplistic generalizations that people listen to that keeps them from progressing.

Sorry, but your statement is rubbish. I have never ever seen a program (routine, ...whatever) with cleans not being the first exercise. Oh yeah, I remember one program from CS Dynamo, whwre they were the second exercise, right after snatches.

Come on, have you ever tried doing oly lifts as the last. When you are drained, exhausted..., you just wnat to get injured if you do that. Oly lifters do them as the first exercise, basically 99% do them as their first exercise. First technically difficult lifts, then raw strength stuff (coach told me that, and believe me he has every right to say that). So, oly lifts, pulls, squats, and other stuff (back, shoulders...).

I'm quite sure that it would be most beneficial to them as the first exercise, even when not being fully into oly lifting.

Just my opinion based on my experience and on what I've read and coach told me.


#19

I did cleans for sets of 10-20 for 2 months. I started at 65lbs with hang cleans and worked my way up to 135 for 3 sets of 20 of power cleans.

I've done low-rep cleans and had a PR of 205, but felt like I got nothing out of them.

A guy training for the olympics in o-lifting was working out when I was doing my high-rep cleans and said it was a much better idea for athletics and safer to do low weight and high reps like I was doing.

This whole low-rep or high-rep advocacy is a bunch of crap. Everyone's bodies are a bit different so experiment vs. be stuck doing what someone else tells you.

I would train them first in a workout.


#20

Yes, and I regularly do them in the middle unless I am going max effort. But I am a big guy with lots of endurance which I got from training this way.