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Olympic Lifts to Increase Clean?

I lift at home, don’t have a squat rack and therefore have always had to “clean” the bar unto my shoulders so i can front squat. But now, when i want to start squatting more i don’t have the strength to clean the bar unto my shoulders. So i was wondering what kind of oly lifts to start performing that can strengthen my hang clean/power clean, anything to get my strength up so i can bring the bar vertically up unto my shoulders.

I’ve already did some research, and have learned about Hang cleans, high pulls, etc. But i am still not sure 100% as to what I should be doing.


I don’t know crap about oly lifting but if you want to do squats at home without cleaning the barbell try barbell hack squats.


All these will be a temporary solution.
If your squat is 100kg - Ok, but when it become 150…

Try finding a squat stands http://www.bodyactive.co.uk/gfx/York%20squat%20stand.JPG

I’ve tried hack squats, and don’t like them because they keep rubbing and hitting against my giant calves.

And I know it will be a temporary solution, but atm i’m only squatting 125 ATG, which is around my 60%1RM, around there. Don’t care about maxing my squat, i already have larger than usual calves/quads, and only do squats for the hormonal and strength benefit.

As for buying squats, at the moment that is not an option, just wont happen the way my life is set up.

Anyone else have any idea what kind of oly lifts i should concentrate on to STRENGTHEN my cleans?

more cleans.

Olympic rows

Well, for starters, the Oly lifts are the clean and jerk and the snatch. It seems kinda strange to ask for an Oly lift to improve an Oly lift. Obviously if you practice the clean, it’s going to get better.

You could also try conventional deadlifts. If you can deadlift 500 lbs, 225 is gonna feel light off the floor (I would think). Other than that, practice dropping under the bar faster when you clean.

Frankly, I think the clean is a great exercise, so I’m not going to question why you’re doing it…but surely you can find some other way to get the bar onto your shoulders in the meantime.

Frankly I think your situation could use a little more thought. A makeshift squat station, provided you are able to drop the bar on the floor if necessary, and especially if you’re doing front squats, would be a cinch to rig up. If you’re anything like me in terms of height and flexibility, you could just set up some saw-horses or benches at belly button height and start from a bottom position on the first rep.

Furthermore, there are exercises you can do to overload the necessary muscles that are equally difficult but require less weight: lunges (especially with the bar in the front squat position, or with DBs), overhead squats (if you aren’t full of shit about having huge quads, these might be just what you want: tons of strength, full body benefits, and they require all of 120lbs for most people), and very close stance deadlifts (which hit the quads pretty decently) come to mind.

But to go along with your question for the heck of it, and because improving the clean is a noble goal, here are a few things that help the clean IMO.

One-arm DB clean (be sure to take it from the ground and use a neutral grip) - this exercise could even benefit you if you go light and throw them in at the end of the workout

High pulls - be sure to use a proper triple extension, and don’t “meet the weight” - pull up and back at the end

Snatch (or clean) grip pulls - similar to a deadlift, but with more pronounced extension of the hips after the knees and a shrug and calf raise at the end, see a Staley article entitled pull your chain (actually a good resource for you, period)

Light “form focused” FULL cleans…I don’t practice these because I prefer the benefits of power cleans, but your full clean should be much higher than your power clean if you practice it. Most people can’t full clean their way out of a paper bag. Use 50 percent of your max clean or less for these

Jump shrugs

If you had the equipment, Thibs had an article a while back on functional isometrics that was good, but that would be taking it a little far if you weren’t a competing o lifter.

Dan John’s ebook From the Ground Up

I agree with wfifer for the most part, though I was less picky about your wording. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, if you mean 125lb is 60% of your 1rm that’d make your 1rm around 200, and that is pretty bad if you have “huge” quads…I mean, either you’re chubby or you REALLY need to work on your movement patterns and recruitment.

If you front squat 125kg regularly and your max is 200kg, that’s not bad at all in my estimation, though I’d keep pushing the envelope if I were you.

And here’s a little tip…60% of 1rm provides WAY fewer strength benefits and almost no hormonal benefits compared to 70-100% of your 1rm.

It’s easy once you get some decent leg development to fall into the trap of thinking you’ll “specialize” on your upper body til it “catches up”…but for me it just doesn’t work like that. As Dan John says, the body is one piece. Your legs SHOULD be more developed than your upper body.

Thanks for all the advice
I will try
-more cleans
-Weighted lunges in front squat position ( already do weighted lunges with 70/80lbs in backpack, but this should be better)
-overhead squats look good too.
-high pulls

  • full cleans

Will look into everything else you all said also.

Also conwict: I am honestly not sure what my one rep max is for squats. I once had the chance of going to a gym, and i did 3-4 sets of around 185 ( 6-7 reps) parralel, so my max might be over 200. I also disagree that you can’t get any hormonal benefit even though i’m not squatting heavy. I make sure to go ATG, and keep the squats in the higher rep ranges.

From a bodybuilder’s perspective, my quads/calves are nothing special for anyone that squats heavy. And No i’m not chubby ( 5’9, 152 , just compared to normal people i have bigger legs and good quad seperation. Guess my calves/quads are genetics since my dad was pretty fit when he was young playing alot of soccer.

Thanks again.

[quote]Phate89 wrote:
I’ve tried hack squats, and don’t like them because they keep rubbing and hitting against my giant calves.

How big are your “giant” calves? You are 152 and are using 125 to squat with, I think you can manage hack squats in some fashion if you try.

i measured them with tape and when i flex them they come out to be almost 18inch. When i did hack squats i just didn’t feel it good in my legs, dunno.

Yes, of course you’ll get some benefit from squatting, even if you do it wrong provided you don’t get injured, or with minimal weight, or whatever. Squatting is much better than not squatting basically.

Thing is, you should really hit your legs hard no matter what if you want ANY part of your body to grow. My point is just that I think you’re holding yourself back by not pushing your squat to its limit.

Glad you’re looking into what I recommended, because I think it’s the way to go for home training, period. The O lifts are much better than many people give them credit for, for physical development. Just target whatever weak areas you have if necessary, which probably won’t be an issue for a while. The O lifts and the ones I recommended may leave your lats and biceps underdeveloped in comparison to your traps.

An obvious solution is to work chin-ups!

Dan John quote: “Double your pull-ups and add 100 pounds to your front squat. Yeah, you do need to.”

A couple of thoughts regarding training in home, in general.

BTW, as solo bench press will eventually be a problem if it isn’t already to perform alone with adequate intensity, consider doing chair dips, which are a decent exercise…moreso, look into various ways to increase the difficulty of pushups… rig a dip station… and rig a way to safely do floor presses. Then you shouldn’t even really worry about doing full ROM bench. Also, DB floor presses are very underrated. You can easily perform one-arm DB floor presses.

A good article for someone with your situation:

Thanks Convict

I found a way to use 2 chairs to use as a squat rack, its not the most stable, but it will do for now. I added more weight and wow, it definetly felt hard on my quads.

Also still looking around and trying to get my form right for cleans and pulls.

As for bench press and dips
I do dips, i love them. Sometimes when I am stuck and can’t increase reps i do weighted dips and they help a lot.

I don’t have a bench press, but i was creative and use 2 chairs and a pillow or 2 to subsitute it.

I try to progressively overload each session on my bench, and doing it solo can be dangerous but i still do it. I try to usually increase 1 rep on each set each session, sometimes i make it. sometimes on the last set i fail and i have to throw the weight off to one side.