T Nation

Power Clean - Getting a Straight Bar Path


Looking for some help with my Power Clean. Have started working this 2x / week sometimes 3 with a the 3rd being a light day to practice technique. Sorry, no video that I can post yet.

Basically, difficulty is in getting a straight bar path. I tend to reverse curl it just a bit. It's getting better, and weight is coming along, but compared to my deadlift, seems to be too low.

Raw DL Conventional style = 505

Latest Power Clean workout went like this: Started with light jump squats then PC - 135, 160, 185, 200, 210 - 2 reps each. 225lbs, 5 singles with 60 secs rest between, all hook grip + chalk.

I have been watching videos of others and have a buddy that is CSCS that helps with form. Your point of view appreciated - thx!


Your DL has NO BEARING on your Clean mate.

Post up a video of your DL and see if your back stays 'perfectly straight - witht he natural curve of your lower back'.

Why take 60seconds rest in between? You want to learn the technique to get it down first.

I'd recommend at least 12-16reps at a 'training weight' in each session. Anything below say 75% is a 'warm up' and is not to be counted.

Once you clock in about 150-200 reps your form will be a lot better.

Your arms need to 'whip' through and not reverse curl it. By reverse curling it the bar will go away from you. You want to stay close to the bar as it's more efficient.

Do it with an empty bar/ light weight, say 40-50kg and see how your form is. You need to build your technique up. As soon as you start reverse curling it, it's too heavy/ technique is not ingrained enough for you to use proper technique. The more reps you get in the faster you will get to the point.

Lifting with someone that knows how to lift that will comment on your lifts will IMMENSELY speed up your learning. All the lifters I know have been coached so I can't comment on coaching yourself.



Yeah DL has very little effect on your clean until you get the mechanics down. For example I can clean over 300lbs [seems weird to talk in lbs] yet i couldn't pull 505lb the other day when i tried. But i bet i could pull that 505 if i worked at it for a 2-3 weeks.

So as Koing said, it's a matter of you get good at what you do most. So dont look for on thing to make something else better. Your DL and clean numbers are only relative if trined in conjunction for a good time period.

If you do more cleans, you'll get better at cleans. Get as many reps of 40-60kg as you can in a week. after a month you'll have it [as far as it can be had without solid coaching, which you say you may have].



I can Clean 155kg but rarely ever DL more then 195kg at the best of time. 1RM of 200kg.



210kilo dead, 95k clean !! it has very little to do with clean!


Well, the clean is coming along - yesterday for work sets did 100k for 7 singles, buddy reps so about 30 secs between reps. I am learning more about the 'whipping' arms around instead of the reverse curl. It has been helping to keep elbows higher and above the bar for a bit longer and then a quick whip under the bar to rack it.

Short rest periods are to increase training density and focus on Type IIb fibers. It was a progressive pull day yesterday, cleans then clean pulls then speed DL's and tire flips to finish. A good day...


Can you define what you mean by training density?

Also I dont quite understand what you mean by focusing on type IIb fibers. Those fibers are more load dependent when talking about 'focusing' on them (see: size principle). Since type IIb fibers mainly use the ATP-PC system (fast, powerful, short), taking the shorter rest periods are going to either (depending on the load); force your body to use alternate muscle fiber groups or cause you to fail the lift. Two things you don't really want to happen when training OLifting/power. OLifting/power/str rest periods are usually higher to allow the body to regain ATP-PC stores to complete the next lift.

Maybe that's what you want to happen, but just keep that in mind when justifying 'why' you are doing something.

Either way, at this stage you mainly want to focus on the neural aspect of things and getting the proper movement patterns down. The rest periods are not going to be a huge factor at this point until you start slinging weight closer to your training loads.


Yes more rest period.



Nice to be able to discuss this - not too many here in my area that even know what fibers we're talking about, might think it's a cereal or something.

TYPE IIb FIBERS: These fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create energy and are the "classic" fast twitch muscle fibers that excel at producing quick, powerful bursts of speed. This muscle fiber has the highest rate of contraction (rapid firing) of all the muscle fiber types, but it also has a much faster rate of fatigue and can't last as long before it needs rest.

That is why I am training near my maximal load (90-95% 1RM) doing singles with shorter rest. With 'training density' I mean more weight and higher 1RM% loads in less time. I did entire progressive pull workout, cleans, clean pulls, DL and tire flips in in about 50 mins. More weight in less time. Yes, quality of the reps are important; I don't just go in a sling weight around. Reps are very strict form.

However, that being said - I would enjoy listening to your points of view...that's why I'm here.



Thanks for clearing that up, I assumed that's what you meant by training density and its awesome that you are putting the science towards training. The only thing is that the definition you presented for fast twitch fibers (IIb) is the exact reason why you must give adequate rest in between lifts.

Taking more rest in between sets allows the body to fully recover the ATP (anaerobic) system so that these fast twitch fibers can optimally perform. If the ATP system is not given enough time to recovery, the body will run out of energy before it can complete the lift and can be a reason for a failed attempt. Also, since the movement takes only seconds to complete, the glycolytic system never has to help out and ATP is the only source the fast twitch fibers can rely on.

So by taking larger rest periods, your body will realize it needs to create larger ATP stores and also adapt to refill those stores more quickly. Keep in mind this is a pretty simplistic way of looking at things and obviously there are other factors that can come in to play, especially as you become more advanced.

Also I meant 'sling weight around' merely as an expression when you get to your max weights. I wasn't sure if you mentioned what intensities you were using. But if we use you as an example when you mentioned training with 90% + and short rest periods back to back, I can assume that you could probably do more reps/higher load and its not your true 90/95%. (obviously focus on technique before increasing)

I'm not saying what you are doing is wrong, just want you to understand that shorter rest periods are best left for things like hypertrophy and certain types of endurance training. This is especially important if your main focus is OLifting or some kind of strength/power training.

Btw, what are a couple of your short term/long term goals? That's a great way of deciding on what types of training variables you could use.


Long term goals: 405 close grip bench, 315 power clean while staying at similar body weight as now.
Current best 335 close grip bench, 230 power clean. BW = 220.

I find it interesting that I can rest just 30-60 secs and hit 225 multiple times (5-7x in a session) but max attempt I have hit is 230.
Training this way forces me to concentrate as my personality type operates highly efficient when under pressure. I create pressure for myself with the training density - it's a mental thing for me. Long rest periods bore me and I get lethargic. So, I have adapted my stimulus to keep me interested. I have trained powerlifting style before, long rests, max effort, but didn't like my body composition nor bulk when training that way. Now, I am using more explosive movements, unilateral movements and functional exercises and liking the results.
Recently lost 5lbs. BW while moving close grip bench up 40lbs in 3 months. That's my kind of results.

Power Clean is something that interests me because of the technique factor.

Thanks for the comments.


Do what is working for you and do what you enjoy. If you don't like long rest periods, fuck em! I wasn't sure if your main focus was the Olympic lifts which is why I thought your logic was slightly backwards but it seems you have other goals in mind. Just keep doing what works and enjoy the power cleans.

I will add though, that the reason your max is at 230 is mostly neural and technique. Adaptations will come with practice. Also great to hear body composition is heading in the right direction. Keep up the good work.


235 power clean in today's session - it's coming along. Form still not perfect but CNS is adapting to the weights. Want 275 PC by Summer's end...


I realize that this is a bit of highjacking the thread, but lately I've been focusing upon clean and push press using Hepburn routine approach. I've started with 5 singles worked to 8 singles and then building two 8x2, then to 8x3. I've been doing this 3x/week. My upper body is getting huge and much improved strength wise.

I realize that your goals are different than mine, but if you build up your total body it should transfer over to other attributes one would think. The biggest advantage I have gained is the set up and keeping a very good arch in the back and using Dan John's bow and arrow concept.


Setup is very important in lifting. The stronger your position at the starter the better you can hold on to it. If your form breaks or is less then ideal IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER mate as you continue the lift!



Hey - thanks for the comment; I watched the video where Dan John is teaching a group the bow/arrow concept. Very insightful - going to work on this starting Fri @ next WO.

Thanks again,


Sorry, but isn't that a compelling argument for the deadlift carrying over to the clean?
It's easy to hold a good position through the setup and 1st pull of a 140 c+j if you deadlift 250 (as an example). If you DL 160...not so much.


It only works if you deadlift like you do the first pull of your clean. Most people don't. It doesn't matter so much what you can pull off the floor, it matters what you can pull off the floor while maintaining a good body position to set yourself up for the second pull.



Clean pulls 'should' be done the same way you do Cleans.

If you DL the same way you do the Clean then thats fine. But most people won't as the weight is too heavy. I'd get the person to do Clean pulls instead about 110%



I agree with the above two folks. If you deadlift you get good at deadlifting. Your style is going to work to deadlift then the body will do what it has to to get a better deadlift. This can be opposite of what you want to get a good clean. For example to set up for a good clean you need a very good arched back, some huge deadlifters actually think that a very good arched back takes away from the deadlift they almost want a somewhat "rounded upper back" to decrease range of motion so to speak. Just my two cents and my observations.

Another one to reference is Kono - the olympic lifts are about explosion, training into those high weights may break down your form into nothing technical.