T Nation

Power Clean Question


After performing 5x5 power cleans from the floor I experience a slight biceps pump. Is this normal or an indicator of improper form?

p.s. I've already searched the site.



You have to check out your form. You are probably pulling with your arms.


the biceps are definately not prime movers during powercleans. If you're doing them properly they shouldn't be sore, the next day, or even tired after completing the set.

You need to pull the weight up smoothly to about half shin level, then really explode up with everything in your soul as fast as humanly possible, maybe faster.

at this point you just get under the bar bye letting it land on the front of your shoulders. Then stand up tall.

While this is a very simple synopsis of a complex movement, I suggest you hit up the Search feature (make sure your popup blocker is off).

You really shouldn't feel the biceps doing anything if you're able to accelerate the bar vertically onto your shoulders.

In the clean, form and acceleration are everything.

Good luck


I will experience a small pump in my biceps later on in my sets of cleans... when that happens I can tell that I'm not being explosive enough... I would focus on making certain you're exploding through the hips...

good luck!


Thanks for the responses. Let me add a little information I should have originally included just to be sure.

I am using 80% of my 1RM and the last set is pretty taxing, which is why I suspected form. I'm hitting the traps pretty hard because they are always sore the for 1-2 days. I do however have to lower the weight without dropping, so I thought the lowering phase could contribute to the biceps work.

I lift alone in my basement so a critique isn't easy. If I reviewed my own video, would I be looking for elbow flex before the shrug at maximum extension?


5x5 @80% may be a little ambitious if you're just starting out on the clean - you may consider changing the rep range to 6 x 3 while you're mastering the move.

You're probably right, lowering the weight will cause a bit of a bicep pump if you have to do it slowly.

As for checking if you're pulling with the arms - the cue you mentioned is a good one, though not foolproof. Generally you don't want to see arm bend before you start to drop down to catch the weight, which may occur slightly after full extension.

Good luck,



I can't say that I get that sort of pump in my biceps when I do power clns. I've power cln'd. I do feel it in my traps and other body parts


Buffalo, just to clarify something. Does a power clean involves more of a pull from the arms/back since you arent catching it in a full squat?


NO. The movement for a power clean is the same as a full clean. The only difference that in the power clean, the weight is lighter so you don't have to jump under the bar in a deep squat position. You should never be pulling with the arms. When the arms bend, the power ends.

Can you 'rack' the bar across the front of your shoulders properly? Because if you can, you can lower the bar by letting the bar drop onto your upper thighs without having to lower the bar slowly.