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Power Clean vs Squat Clean


I think the idea is that you are supposed to be able to (front) squat up more weight with your legs than you can pull (powerclean) to your shoulders. This makes squat cleaning superior to power cleaning with respect to lifting more weight. This sounds good in theory to me.

A lot of people at my gym seem to be able to power clean more than they can squat clean, though (myself included). Is this because it takes a lot of work for ones front squat to be stronger than ones powerclean (my problem) or just the technical aspect of putting the moves together (perhaps other peoples problem)?

I guess I'm trying to establish whether I really do suck at front squatting (can powerclean more than I front squat) or whether this is just a typical part of the learning process (that most people experience - but it will come right eventually).


I'm a newb but it seems strange to me that your front squat would be less than power clean.


It is because your technique in the recovery phase, as well as the ability to drop quickly under the bar, is untrained.


There's a big technical/ mental component to it also. I see a lot of guys doing PC in the gym because they want to get yolked traps but end up more or less reverse curling the weight. This cohort can sometimes be lumped together with those that don't squat too much.

If you don't learn a systematic approach to OL then I find that more often then not you have a mental block of getting under the bar (think splitting feet way wide instead of front squatting) because it happens quickly, requires tons of coordination and they may be unsure of their ability to fully front squat a weight. Luckily, this is typically an easy(er) problem to fix. First, get comfortable squatting, overhead, front, back you name it.

Do it frequently (like as much as 3x a week) and do it heavy so that there's no doubt you'll be able to stand up with it. Then get flexible, hips, hams, calves. After that I'll usually take someone back through the second pull of the clean and teach them to properly rack the bar when in the front squat position. And after a few weeks/months of correction they're smashing previous lift records with more range of motion.

This outline is for a full clean for just a power clean one thing to be weary of is in the first motion off the floor you get your hips as high as they'll go then try to RDL (retarded dead lift?) the weight up to the rack position.
All of this is of course highly variable depending on what you are trying to get out of it. If you're trying to compete then get better at full cleans. But if you're just trying to get more explosive you can stick with just PC, I guess.


Lot of people do pc for the simple reason in much easier in terms of techincal aspect of squat clean.

I agree with you dexter people either do reverse curl or upright rows ( not high pulls ) in powerclean.

power clean is an auxilary movement to improve your squat clean .

My pc of advice would be do squat clean.

If you are doing powerclean, once you receive the bar on your shoulder. where ever you receive if its too high does'nt matter just do a full squat from there and stand up. this will train you for full squat clean and also improve your front squats.



Work out how many hrs you have spent squat cleaning and then how many hrs you can PC. If a lifter has put time towards squat cleaning theres no reason why they can't squat clean/ front squat more then they can PC.

Squat Clean = more technical, requires a decent chunk of training to learn how to do it properly, takes time and patient and people either don't care too much or can't get coached by someone. If you get coached it isn't that hard man. I've gotten 2 guys to Clean 100, 110 in about 7months of training whilst missing 3-4-6weeks at time.

In an ideal world where you had 'good technique' you would almost certainly front squat more then you can PC. As to the actual % it's hard to say.

FS: 170
PC: 135
Clean: 155

I'd just say if you can PC to about 75-80 your doing well. I've nearly gotten under 160 also...



I don't mean to hijack but how can i be sure I'm using my traps and not reverse curling? I try to make sure the bar stays as close to my body and consciously shrug as part of the second pull.

Is that enough?


Two things that seems to help is...
1. Breaking the entire movement down into subcategories and working those progressions
2. "Jumping" under the bar and throwing the elbows forward and receiving the bar on the shoulders

Deadlift with shrug

...then lead into...

Deadlift with highpull

If form sucks, moving up in weight will only get you degenerative discs.


KG. right? sorry if thats a stupid question. It seems on here moest people usually use lbs.


I'm from England so everything is in Kg's.



Take a video and we can tell you.

The bar should stay relatively close to your body on the way up. If it's coming 'away' from your body then your reverse curling it too much.. Lift with someone holding a piece of rope hanging down in front of you by say 4-6inches. They are off to the side obviously. If you touch the bit of rope/ elastic it's coming away from you too much. If not your at least keeping it closer.



You dont want to reverse curl at all. Its a high pull. Any bit of reverse curl will move the bar away from the body. Honestly, the term high pull is even a little misleading. Its more of getting the bar has high as you can with the shrug and the triple extension and then droping under the bar and throwing the elbows forward to receive it. That's what separates the power clean from the squat clean (lower weight can obviously move faster/higher i.e the power clean)


I pull more frequently than I squat (alternating powercleans / powersnatches every workout). Because I LOVE to pull and I HATE to squat. I also pull first because it seemed more technical (I tell myself)...

I guess all that is contributing to the problem...

Will prioritize squats in the New Year (and deadlifts because the problem is due to my legs being weak). Squat first (because I hate them the most) and maybe make myself squat whatever I just powercleaned / powersnatched) to really crank the volume.

I will front squat more (0.5kg is more dammit) than my bodyweight before the end of next year. dammit.


Post a video.

Look at any great olympic lifter. Big quads and hips and small upper body. Im not saying they are weak in their upper bodies, but the hips and the quads drive the lift. These have got to be your primary focus.

Everyone hates hearing this but drop the weight and learn how to use your hips with an empty bar. Just from what you are saying its obvious that youre missing the most important aspect of olympic lifting... The hip drive.