T Nation

Need To Improve My Clean.


I'm somewhat of a beginner with respect to olympic lifting, but I still know more than everyone in my gym. My problem is I'm training to compete in Skeleton (Luge headfirst on your tummy), and I need to improve my powerclean. SO far my 1RM is 95.5 Kilos. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great.

I'm 175 lbs, and I'd like to be 185 before I try out for this team next august (2006). Any suggestions to bulk up quick, and properly? ("legal" suggestions please!)

Thanks guys.



Thats a respectable clean it would be better if you could clean 1.5x your prospective body weight... so around 120 kg.


The transformation program and the bulgarian twist programs will definitely help you put on weight and still improve your clean.

I haven't tried this yet, I should... but this looks like it would help to me(Copied from something christian wrote)

Christian Thibaudeau
Bulgarian loading secrets for strength

Over the past 20 years, Bulgaria has developed some of strongest Olympic lifters on the face of the earth. Year after year they are in contention to win the best team award at the world championships. Even more impressive is the fact that their first team constantly finishes in the top 3 world ranking while their "backup lifters" also win medals for Qatar (Bulgaria loaned lifters to Qatar for an hefty sum of money). Bad mouths will be soon to associate this domination with steroids. Let me be clear on this: at the elite level in Olympic lifting almost everybody uses steroids and the steroids available in Bulgaria are not different from those available anywhere else! Furthermore, Bulgaria is a small country (approximately 7-8 million peoples) so it doesn?t have the talent pool that countries like China or the former Soviet Union has/had. Evidently, the fact that they are superior stems from somewhere else.

Bulgarian lifters use a very atypical loading scheme. A form of loading that I call Bulgarian wave loading. Those who heard a few things about Bulgarian lifters are led to believe that they always lift maximal weights, 7 days a week. That is not entirely true. Bulgaria lifters go for their daily max at every 2 sessions. However that daily max is not necessarily a personal best attempt, rather it's a load that is very challenging for that day. In most cases, it equates to 85-95% of their competitive max.

In their "heavy" sessions Bulgarian lifters will build up to their daily max. This max is not an end in itself, rather it is the starting point of their training: the daily max is used to calculate the training load for the rest of the day. Once a lifter reaches his max, he backs down 25-40lbs and do 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps. That are the money sets! With this form of training your daily session is always adapted to your present capacities.

Bulgarian wave loading parameters

Sets 1-3:Warm-ups with a load lower than 60% of the competition max/personal record
Sets 4-7:Work up to the daily 1 rep maximum
Sets 8-9:Daily max - 40lbs for 3 reps
Sets 10-12:Daily max - 25lbs for 2 reps

They will use this form of loading for 3 daily exercises. On "lighter" days they will do technique work with a relatively light load (60-70%). They will not have a precise number of sets to do. They do 3 different exercises, allocating 15-20 minutes per exercise and they do however sets they feel comfortable doing that day. This is not unlike Charles Staley?s EDT, and it is also a technique used by Canadian weightlifting coach Pierre Roy.

Adapting the Bulgarian system to your capacities

Obviously you do not have the benefits of using anabolic aids nor can you spend most of your day training like Bulgarian lifters do. However the basic method can still be applied. You just need to reduce the training frequency a bit.
It is not a method limited to the Olympic lifts. If anything it works better for basic strength lifts like the squat, bench press and deadlift.
Bulgarian loading is for strength gains, not for size gains. Athletes seeking a boost in their strength without too much bodyweight gain will be well served by the method.

A typical modified Bulgarian strength program

Day 1. Hard session
A. Power clean from hang
wave loading
2 minutes of rest between sets.
10 minutes break between exercise A. and exercise B.
B. Back squat
wave loading
2 minutes of rest between sets.
10 minutes break between exercise B. and exercise C.
C. 1/2 rack deadlift
wave loading
2 minutes of rest between sets.

Day 2. Easy session
A. Bench press
3-4 reps
60-70% of maximum
15 minutes, do as many sets as you feel comfortable doing
B. Push press
3-4 reps
60-70% of maximum
15 minutes, do as many sets as you feel comfortable doing
C. Incline press
3-4 reps
60-70% of maximum
15 minutes, do as many sets as you feel comfortable doing

Day 3. Easy session
A. Power clean from hang
3-4 reps
60-70% of maximum
15 minutes, do as many sets as you feel comfortable doing
B. Romanian deadlift
3-4 reps
60-70% of maximum
15 minutes, do as many sets as you feel comfortable doing
C. Barbell rowing
3-4 reps
60-70% of maximum
15 minutes, do as many sets as you feel comfortable doing

Day 4. Hard session
A. Bench press
wave loading
2 minutes of rest between sets.
10 minutes break between exercise A. and exercise B.
B. Push press
wave loading
2 minutes of rest between sets.
10 minutes break between exercise A. and exercise B.
C. Close grip bench press
wave loading
2 minutes of rest between sets.
10 minutes break between exercise A. and exercise B.

Training Split

Ideally you would follow this split:
Monday: Day 1
Tuesday: Day 2
Wednesday: off
Thursday: Day 3
Friday: Day 4
Saturday: off
Sunday: off

This will allow for maximum recovery between hard sessions and as a result, constant progress!

The choice of exercise is up to you, depending on your goals you may want to vary exercise selection. But the important thing is to understand the concept. And do no forget to use both hard and easy sessions!


Monday-light technical

Snatch, the goal is to perform 20 perfect reps.

Set 1: 5 reps (25-30kg less than your max)
Set 2: 5 reps (add 2.5kg)
Set 3: 5 reps (add 2.5kg)
Set 4: 1 rep (add 2.5kg)
Set 5: 1 rep (add 2.5kg)
Set 6: 1 rep (add 2.5kg
Set 7: 1 rep (add 2.5kg)
Set 8: 1 rep (add 2.5kg)

If you completed all 20 reps with perfect for you are allowed to start the next Monday workout with 2.5-5kg more. If the reps were not all successful and technically solid, you keep the same starting weight the following Monday.

Do the same thing with the clean & jerk.

Tuesday-Heavy Power work plus OH and/or Fr.Squat

Work up to your maximum on either:

a) Power snatch from floor
b) Power snatch from blocks
c) Power snatch from hang


a) Power clean from floor
b) Power clean from blocks
c) Power clean from hang

Note 1: Do not use the same starting position for both lifts. For example if you choose to perform the power snatch from blocks, select the power clean from the floor or from the hang.

Note 2:
Week 1: Work up to the max weight you can handle for a set of 3 reps.

Week 2: Work up to the max weight you can handle for a set of 2 reps.

Week 3: Work up to your 1 rep max.

The squatting is performed in wave form:

Week 1: 1 x 7, 1 x 6, 1 x 5, 1 x 7, 1 x 6 , 1 x 7

Week 2: 1 x 5, 1 x 4, 1 x 3, 1 x 5, 1 x 4, 1 x 3

Week 3: 1 x 3, 1 x 2, 1 x 1, 1 x 3, 1 x 2, 1 x 1

Thursday - light technical, heavy squat/pulls

Snatch and clean & jerk are the same as Monday (same weights too).

Perform either heavy pulls from blocks, hang or floor for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps.


Back squat in the same wave format as the squatting on Tuesday.

NOTE: If you perform front squat on Tuesday, go with pulls on Thursday. If you went with overhead squat on Tuesday, go with back squats on Thursday.

Gradually work up to your maximum on the competitive lifts. You are allowed to miss a weight 3 times. In other words if you fail with a weight, you can try it again 2 more times. If you miss 3 times it's over.


Oh and as far as bulking... easiest way is dairy products and protien powder.

Drink between half a gallon to full gallon of milk during the course of the day... get 20-40gm of protien preworkout and around 40-60gm or protien post workout... then eat 8-12 oz of cottage cheese before bed.


  • between half and full gallon of milk
  • a lot of cottage cheese
  • purchase some Grow!

If you keep all your meals the same just including more dairy adds SO many calories... its a cheap and really easy way to gain weight.

If you have a propensity towards gaining fat. 1-2 rounds of 4min Tabata Burpees once a week will (in most cases) solve this problem.

I'm not a FFB so if you have that problem (excessive fat gain) hopefully someone with more knowledge will chime in.

I should take my own advice...hmmm.


Thanks for the help! Man that's a way better esponse than I ever expected. I already do some waveloading, but this is a little different. I'll give it a shot for sure.



any other suggestions?


i didnt read all of Xen's post, but when i was on my high school's weight lifting team we would do hang cleans and power pulls (thas what my coach called them anyway, you basically do a fast deadlift and just let the bar go when it gets to waist level, but this may be a problem if you go to a commercial gym). But definately do hang cleans as that is the most common sticking point in the lift. Also, front squats will help so you dont have any problems recovering from a low drop. As far as bulking, check out the Massive Eating thread. Good luck bringing up the lift numbers and makin ghte team.


your welcome man but im really just copy and pasting ct's stuff... all the credit belongs to him!


seems like good advice as far as the program goes. just be careful about consuming "a gallon of milk a day". i HAVE done this before but ive yet to meet any one else who doesnt get really f'd up by consuming large quantities of milk (unless you are already a heavy milk drinker and not bothered by it). i would ease into the milk thing. and..there are plenty of other ways to get protein and calories other than pounding a gallon of milk a day.
im not shooting down what xen said--hell if it works for you, then go for it. just be prepared, if youre not already drinking milk like theres no tomorrow.

train hard,
ryan b.


Everything above are good things to follow. Cleans are my favorite lift by far. Here are some of the things that I do that I feel have helped me improve.

Assistance exercises
1. Front squats (once I couldn't clean a weight with a powerclean style clean, the one where you only do a slight dip or a 1/4 squat to get the weight I then tried to do what they do in the olympics. Some people call it a squat clean. When practiced regularly you will be able to "squat clean" more than you can power clean because you simply just front squat the weight up. It takes a little practice and as long as you have bumper plates and a platform you can always throw the weight if you get "stuck" or can't complete the lift.)
2. Deadlifts (By improving your deadlifts you will be able to gain more momentum in the initial phase of the lift. The clean is a speed lift so momentum is critical.)
3. Hamstring exercises:
Str8 Leg Deadlifts
Glute Ham Raises
Snatch grip deadlifts off a box
4. Jumping exercises ( I am a fan of jumping. Jumping is a quick powerful exercise and it will help develop awesome speed and power.)
Box jumps, depth jumps etc.
5. Bent over barbell rows
6. strengthen lower back and abs

Most importantly practice cleans and make a progressive program for yourself so you can increase your poundages.

Have fun cleaning,
Kir Dog


True and very good advice... I just know that loading up on dairy is a really easy and cheap way. Probably NOT the most efficient... but its one of those things that if you're backed into a corner and need something that you KNOW will work, it's there for you.


Thanks guys!

Man, you guys are no joke. Thanks for the great advice. I'll let you boys know where I'm at in a couple months!



milk bulking put quite a lot of fat on me, i'm a ffb, just a warning for you fellows out there


yea i should have put a disclaimer... i'm a super skinny bastard... i can eat 5k+ calories and still have abs.