T Nation

Newb Question about the Power Clean


I decided to look into Olympic lifting and was watching a few videos about cleaning the bar. I tried it out but I can't do it with the "elbows up" position that seems to be important. If I have my elbows up/out the bar would be hitting me in the throat, not the shoulders. I tried it with no bar just to see if I could figure out the position but anytime I get my elbows that high, no matter my shoulder/back position, my hands are behind my head. Am I just built really strange? Is the "elbows up" position as important as I've heard? Help would be appreciated!!


Hands behind your head - maybe you have long forearms/short humerus/both? Try widening the grip?


I tried going as wide as I could but anything wide enough seems to cause my elbow to point more out than up or require my elbow twist instead of bend.

I did search but maybe someone knows of an article etc...that talks about the clean and alternate ways of holding the bar dependent on how you are shaped?

This kinda sucks.


I suspect the problem is that your wrists / fingers aren't flexible enough to bend backwards yet.

The bar should rest comfortably on your delts IF you keep your elbows up:

You don't need to grip the bar with your hands - and most people don't have the flexibility to do so.

When I started out I did a lot of stretching the wrists / fingers back. Pulling them back with my other hand. Pushing them back using a wall for leverage. Pushing them back using the bar to help stretch them. Things got significantly better in a couple weeks.

Maybe you do have odd athropomentry such that you can't do it...

I'd love to see vids if that is the case.

EDIT: You do need to be able to whip your elbows up around the bar for powercleans. I mean... What the hell else are you gonna do with your hands? I'd be pretty confident that you can stretch things out for the rack position with a bit of persistence and patience.


Alexus -

Thanks for the info/video. It's weird because I am double-jointed in the extreme but it's possible that my shoulder/back muscles are tight and making things twist weird.


Props to Alexus. :slight_smile:

First off, you must learn how to put the bar on the right front-squat position BEFORE considering doing power cleans. Wrist flexibility is often the issue.

If you can't do power cleans properly yet but want to increase your explosive strength, you can use power snatches as a great (or even BETTER) alternative.