T Nation

Power Clean Troubles

I want to start chads SFMS, which calls for power cleans. However, as I was trying to learn the movement I found that the top or recieve postion seems impossible for me, as shown on any online source. Basically, to get my arms 90 degress to my body, I’m choaking myself with the bar, and the angle on my hand to forarm is quiet large. I’m 6’1 and change. Is this a common problem/lack of flexiblity? I’ll post picts if required

[quote]Vorn wrote:
I want to start chads SFMS, which calls for power cleans. However, as I was trying to learn the movement I found that the top or recieve postion seems impossible for me, as shown on any online source. Basically, to get my arms 90 degress to my body, I’m choaking myself with the bar, and the angle on my hand to forarm is quiet large. I’m 6’1 and change. Is this a common problem/lack of flexiblity? I’ll post picts if required[/quote]
Post pics please. I’ve had the same problems, maybe it’s just our arm length. I’m 6’4 and have trouble getting my elbows pointing STRAIGHT ahead. So I just let them point down a bit. I’m not sure if it affects the lift, but it still works the muscle just as good for me. Maybe in comps they wont accept it, but I don’t compete so I don’t care.

Vorn,

I’m doing the same program and have had to struggle a bit with the power clean myself. In fact, I always had some trouble with the front squat too, as such I avoided them much to my detriment. This time around, I’m not giving up until I got it.

The thing that helped the most for me so far, outside of practice, was to use more weight and while focusing on the elbow height when catching, to also try and catch with the torso a bit higher and straighter. This seemed to force me to catch a bit lower. i.e. not into my neck. I don’t know what this would do regarding other form factors though.

Rolo.

I’m no expert, but I don’t think you need to get the elbows at a 90deg angle for the lift to be effective. However, I think even with long arms this should be possible. I remember when I first started doing cleans I couldn’t achieve this level of flexibility (hint, hint). I have very long arms as well. I think it is something that just takes time until you achieve the flexibility necessary. Also, play with the positioning of your hands on the bar, a wider grip helped me also.

Sorry to not respond for a few days, just moved. I’ll post picts Monday or Tuesday.

Don’t know if this will help you any, but here it goes. When you have racked the bar across your shoulders, you want to have your upper arms parallel to the ground. Most people can’t do this due to inexperience and lack of flexibility in the forearms. When the bar is racked, you don’t have to maintain a full grip on the bar with your hands. Simply having control of the bar with your fingers will do you fine. Takes some practice, but it will help with your form issues.

[quote]Jimmy the Saint wrote:
Don’t know if this will help you any, but here it goes. When you have racked the bar across your shoulders, you want to have your upper arms parallel to the ground. Most people can’t do this due to inexperience and lack of flexibility in the forearms. When the bar is racked, you don’t have to maintain a full grip on the bar with your hands. Simply having control of the bar with your fingers will do you fine. Takes some practice, but it will help with your form issues.[/quote]

How can this be? With my upper arms parallel to the floor the bar would be in my neck. Where can we find some pictures?

in a power clean you don’t need to rack the weight like that though.

Clean and Jerk:

http://www.eng.auburn.edu/users/simonton/wl/cj.html

Notice how just his finger tips are in contact with the bar when it is racked on his shoulders. Like I said before (and Jimmy as well), this takes flexibility and time to develop. Practice with light weights until it becomes natural.

[quote]bikemike wrote:
Jimmy the Saint wrote:
Don’t know if this will help you any, but here it goes. When you have racked the bar across your shoulders, you want to have your upper arms parallel to the ground. Most people can’t do this due to inexperience and lack of flexibility in the forearms. When the bar is racked, you don’t have to maintain a full grip on the bar with your hands. Simply having control of the bar with your fingers will do you fine. Takes some practice, but it will help with your form issues.

How can this be? With my upper arms parallel to the floor the bar would be in my neck. Where can we find some pictures?[/quote]

And that is how the power clean should end. To know if you are ending your clean properly, you should be able to rack the weight across your deltoids and hold it there without even needing your hands on the bar. The skin around your deltoids and collar bones will be red if you are racking the clean properly.

Oh yeah, and this is better than pictures.

http://www.qwa.org/natrecvideo/CONTENT.ASP

[quote]Chris Mangano wrote:
Clean and Jerk:

http://www.eng.auburn.edu/users/simonton/wl/cj.html

Notice how just his finger tips are in contact with the bar when it is racked on his shoulders. Like I said before (and Jimmy as well), this takes flexibility and time to develop. Practice with light weights until it becomes natural.[/quote]

I agree completely with the clean as part of the clean and jerk. However, in the power clean–which is what he asked about, all you need is to get the weight up. Sometimes you see people who don’t even do the flip as part of the power clean.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
in a power clean you don’t need to rack the weight like that though.
[/quote]

I agree. When I do power cleans, the position I end up in is the same as my starting position for a push-press. The elbows are at about 45 degrees, and out to the sides a bit. They certainly aren’t at 90 degrees and straight out in front.

On what bigvook etc. wrote:

His arms are almost parallel to the ground when he catches the bar in the squat position; after he stands up, his arms are no where near parallel. I think a big problem for me is my overall lack of size. His chest and shoulders are huge. Like a front porch to catch the bar on. His upper arms look proportionally longer than mine, also. I’m trying to come up with an illustration of how to make this work, but I’m having problems.

Not to hijack this thread, but thanks to all.

[quote]bikemike wrote:
On what bigvook etc. wrote:

His arms are almost parallel to the ground when he catches the bar in the squat position; after he stands up, his arms are no where near parallel. I think a big problem for me is my overall lack of size. His chest and shoulders are huge. Like a front porch to catch the bar on. His upper arms look proportionally longer than mine, also. I’m trying to come up with an illustration of how to make this work, but I’m having problems.

Not to hijack this thread, but thanks to all.[/quote]

Dude, you’re still dealing in the difference between a power clean and a clean as in clean and jerk. They’re two different creatures.

There are many thoughts on how to grasp the flexibility and mobility of the power clean. The bottom line is if someone wants it clean and held…then it is Olympic…if someone wants to move some weight, just flick the wrists.

Regardless of either, practice with the lighter sets getting the elbows up and hold position. As you work heavier, flcik and go…just be sure not to widen the legs as you go. That can get ugly.

SP

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
I agree completely with the clean as part of the clean and jerk. However, in the power clean–which is what he asked about, all you need is to get the weight up. Sometimes you see people who don’t even do the flip as part of the power clean.[/quote]

Isn’t not doing the flip considered a clean pull? Also, wouldn’t being able to rack the bar properly allow someone to power clean more weight then just heaving the weight up and trying to hold it with your hands/forearms? I could very well be incorrect on this, I am pretty much just going off what makes sense to me.

[quote]Chris Mangano wrote:

Isn’t not doing the flip considered a clean pull? Also, wouldn’t being able to rack the bar properly allow someone to power clean more weight then just heaving the weight up and trying to hold it with your hands/forearms? I could very well be incorrect on this, I am pretty much just going off what makes sense to me.[/quote]

You’re absolutely right. In a clean pull, no attempt is made to catch the weight. In both a completed power clean and squat clean, the bar is racked on the shoulders. Trying to support the weight without resting it on the shoulders is pretty dangerous for the wrists and darned near impossible to balance if you’re pulling heavy for your strength level.

To the original poster - stretch your triceps, wrists, and upper back. Front squats help a lot in learning how to keep your arms up under load, too. If possible, have a spotter yelling at you “elbows! elbows!” as a cue to push them up and inwards. Also, make sure you’re not trying to squeeze the bar hard in the rack position - your hands should be open with the bar resting on your fingertips. It won’t choke you if you curl up the ends of your fingers to kind of “hook” it away from your throat.

-Dan

Everybody has this problem, and with sufficient practice, anybody can hold even the empty bar in rack. I suggest that you just spend as much time as possible with the bar in rack. Instead of switching the bar and unloading between exercises, just clean the thing, walk around for a while, and then walk it over to your next exercise. You’ll be surprised how fast you’ll developthe flexibility.

BTW, when the bar hits your throat you know you’re doing something right - it mean’s you’ve got a high, secure rack. Just don’t pass out.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:

BTW, when the bar hits your throat you know you’re doing something right - it mean’s you’ve got a high, secure rack. Just don’t pass out.[/quote]

Just like when you are doing front squats properly! I have to do them tomorrow morning with 4x6, supersetted with GHR, shudder…