T Nation

Keep Stalling on 5x5 Power Cleans

Okay I’ve been on the texas method for around 4 months and have made great gains. Problem is I can’t seem to make it past 170 on power cleans even though my squat, dead, and other lifts are going up. I’ve already tried deloading 15%, Should I change rep schemes or something?

I have a feeling that 5x5 squats are hurting PC performnce. Maybe one of you strong mofos can help me out… EX of last week was…

----Monday----
Squat 225x5x5
Bench 170x5x5
power cleans 170x2x5 then back off sets bc I stalled
Dips 45x3x5
Chins 10x3x5

----WED----
Front squat 175x3x3
press 125x3x3
power cleans 170x3x3
ez curls 50x3x10
seated calf raise 125x3x20

----Friday----
Squat 260x5
Bench 190x4
Deadlift 380x1
Decline situps 120x2x12

What do I gotta do to keep the weight going up on power cleans?

As I understand it power cleans and olympic lifts go up slowly, because they are ultimately dependent on your absolute strength.

You have to substantially improve absolute strength in a related lift in order to acquire a smaller gain in a dynamic lift since both have to do with how much force your muscles can generate. The difference is in the distance the weight has to travel and the time frame in which it has to do it. Since the weight has to travel roughly twice the distance in a power clean relative to a deadlift, you’re doing good if you can get 1/2 of your deadlift weight to your shoulders.

Mikhail Koklayev can squat-clean around 550 with an mid 800’s DL but he’s an elite level olympic lifter.

I think your doing pretty good power cleaning 170 for reps with a 380 DL single. Give it time and just keep trying to get the reps.

Thanks :slight_smile:

So should I stay at 170 and begin trying to add reps to get to the 5x5 or should I go for a 5x3 and keep trying to add weight? Maybe I should switch to bb rows for a while and give pc’s a break?

Power cleans and olympic lifts are most certainly NOT slow lifts. The definition of power is work in a given amount of time. Power is the ability to move quickly. They are very explosive by nature.

To the OP, 5 reps for a set of power cleans seems pretty high in my experience. I always get the most out of them when I cap the sets at 3 reps.

[quote]utHAUS wrote:
Power cleans and olympic lifts are most certainly NOT slow lifts. The definition of power is work in a given amount of time. Power is the ability to move quickly. They are very explosive by nature.

To the OP, 5 reps for a set of power cleans seems pretty high in my experience. I always get the most out of them when I cap the sets at 3 reps.[/quote]

By slow I believe he meant slow to go heavier on. If you add 5lbs/week on squat for instance you likely can’t do it on p. cleans. He wasn’t referring to the speed the bar is traveling.

I have yet to get mine past 120 for a single (my body weight) but it’s close. I also do sets of three but build in weight working to triples at 110. I’ll keep an eye on this thread for help to increase mine. Maybe if I stopped trashing myself doing multiple sets before I go heavier :slight_smile:

[quote]elano wrote:
Thanks :slight_smile:

So should I stay at 170 and begin trying to add reps to get to the 5x5 or should I go for a 5x3 and keep trying to add weight? Maybe I should switch to bb rows for a while and give pc’s a break?[/quote]

I have to agree with utHAUS. Past three reps on cleans and my form goes in the crapper plus I’m increasing the likelihood that I’ll get hurt because of it. I always vote for raising weight for myself, but you can also add sets to get that 24/25 total reps. You’ll certainly get more muscle growth by adding more sets of three. whether you use 5x3 or 8x3 depends on which is more important to you - bigger or stronger. You’ll get both eventually, anyway as long as you keep at it, whichever you choose.

Apologies to utHAUS for my lack of clarity. Thanks to ouroboro_s for saying what I meant.

So 5 reps for cleans is unnecessary?

[quote]skidmark wrote:
elano wrote:
Thanks :slight_smile:

So should I stay at 170 and begin trying to add reps to get to the 5x5 or should I go for a 5x3 and keep trying to add weight? Maybe I should switch to bb rows for a while and give pc’s a break?

I have to agree with utHAUS. Past three reps on cleans and my form goes in the crapper plus I’m increasing the likelihood that I’ll get hurt because of it. I always vote for raising weight for myself, but you can also add sets to get that 24/25 total reps. You’ll certainly get more muscle growth by adding more sets of three. whether you use 5x3 or 8x3 depends on which is more important to you - bigger or stronger. You’ll get both eventually, anyway as long as you keep at it, whichever you choose.

Apologies to utHAUS for my lack of clarity. Thanks to ouroboro_s for saying what I meant.[/quote]

Thank you skidmark and utHAUS. Yall have given me some useful advice. I’ll start doing sets of tripples, doubles, and singles and keep trying to bump the weight up.

[quote]blazindave wrote:
So 5 reps for cleans is unnecessary?[/quote]

If you’re a beginner, Mark Rippetoe says 3x5 is perfect.

At what point do you define intermediate?
I weigh 145 and i can do 155 for 5 reps and 2 sets. 3rd set is only 3 reps.
Should i try to do 35 now instead of 53?

[quote]elano wrote:
Okay I’ve been on the texas method for around 4 months and have made great gains. Problem is I can’t seem to make it past 170 on power cleans even though my squat, dead, and other lifts are going up. I’ve already tried deloading 15%, Should I change rep schemes or something?

I have a feeling that 5x5 squats are hurting PC performnce. Maybe one of you strong mofos can help me out… EX of last week was…

----Monday----
Squat 225x5x5
Bench 170x5x5
power cleans 170x2x5 then back off sets bc I stalled
Dips 45x3x5
Chins 10x3x5

----WED----
Front squat 175x3x3
press 125x3x3
power cleans 170x3x3
ez curls 50x3x10
seated calf raise 125x3x20

----Friday----
Squat 260x5
Bench 190x4
Deadlift 380x1
Decline situps 120x2x12

What do I gotta do to keep the weight going up on power cleans?[/quote]

First thing I would change is to do your power cleans first (before squat and bench) in your training session. Doing them will warm you up for squats and will take nothing away from them (the other way round your already fatigued when its time to power clean).

Second thing to change is to vary your reps more. You should rather do more sets with low reps and dare I say lighter weights. Doing sets of 4-6 reps is okay for a while (month or so) but doing something like 5-10 sets of 1-3 reps (with weights light enough to be able to do at least 1-2 reps more on each set) is THE way to build strength (and technique) in olympic lifts.

[quote]skidmark wrote:
As I understand it power cleans and olympic lifts go up slowly, because they are ultimately dependent on your absolute strength.
[/quote]

This isn’t necessarily true and for the case of the OP, the issue most likely is poor technique or form breaking down rather than a strength issue.

[quote]elano wrote:
blazindave wrote:
So 5 reps for cleans is unnecessary?

If you’re a beginner, Mark Rippetoe says 3x5 is perfect.[/quote]

Actually he recommends 5x3 for powercleans. He says not to do more than 3 reps on them as form begins to break down and its a more technical lift.

I’m going to try 5x3 for a while instead of 5x5 and try to keep bumping the weight up.

I do squats first because they are most important to me.

Your power cleaning the same weight as your benching. I’d say you should drop the cleans altogether, put bent over rows in their place and keep moving up in your lifts, come back to the cleans after a while. Alternatively you can deload on the cleans and keep trying to break your plateau.

but honestly, 1 lift plateauing while others are still increasing = time to change exercises.

How do your power cleans look like? You can easily squeeze like 10kgs out of a lift if you correct form. I only say this cause power clean is a fairly technical lift.

When my PC stalled, it was grip-related. There’s a lot more grip strength needed for an explosive movement like that. You may want to try working your grip for a while, chalk, or hook grip if you can handle it.

I believe to have seen that the optimal setup for increasing strength on said olympic lifts is to aim for around 8 sets of 2 reps.

[quote]elano wrote:
I’m going to try 5x3 for a while instead of 5x5 and try to keep bumping the weight up.

I do squats first because they are most important to me.[/quote]

When I do cleans, they’re the first move on my back day. I still squat heavy on leg day.

[quote]elano wrote:
skidmark wrote:
elano wrote:
Thanks :slight_smile:

So should I stay at 170 and begin trying to add reps to get to the 5x5 or should I go for a 5x3 and keep trying to add weight? Maybe I should switch to bb rows for a while and give pc’s a break?

I have to agree with utHAUS. Past three reps on cleans and my form goes in the crapper plus I’m increasing the likelihood that I’ll get hurt because of it. I always vote for raising weight for myself, but you can also add sets to get that 24/25 total reps. You’ll certainly get more muscle growth by adding more sets of three. whether you use 5x3 or 8x3 depends on which is more important to you - bigger or stronger. You’ll get both eventually, anyway as long as you keep at it, whichever you choose.

Apologies to utHAUS for my lack of clarity. Thanks to ouroboro_s for saying what I meant.

Thank you skidmark and utHAUS. Yall have given me some useful advice. I’ll start doing sets of tripples, doubles, and singles and keep trying to bump the weight up.
[/quote]

Train for explosion technique. Try to learn to bend your hand in the catch. My power clean went from 185 max to 235 it was mostly technique that helped. My bench and other things went up a little but not in comparison to power clean since you are supposed to do less. Also doing it tired makes you stall and do crap form. Just think you can do it and don’t stall.