T Nation

Power Cleans and Shoulder Health

As I approach the end of my 3rd decade lifting the weights, I am beginning to feel the slightest ache in my anterior deltoid (one side only). I’ve managed only one shoulder injury over my life (ten years ago) which rehabbed very nicely.

I have always favored compound movements and am wondering if this is the time to hang up the power clean. Has anyone else in my demographic had to hang up a lift and what do you think of hanging up this one?


Is the ache on the same side you had your previous shoulder injury? I found that shoulder rehab/prehab is an ongoing process. If your ache is anterior deltoid, look into stabilizing/strengthening the posterior/rotator cuff. I don’t know about hanging up an exercise as opposed to eradicating the shoulder ache so it doesn’t hinder additional lifts.

Thanks for suggestion on shoulder work, I don’t prehab as consistently as I’d like and vowed after first go around with injury. Original injury was not real serious, subacromial impingement. Ache is same side. Other than my main lifts - squat, deadlift, bench, powerclean - the only other work I do now is body weight stuff like pushups, pullups, and other bodyweight variations. I wonder if time to return to some “secondary” type lifts like lateral raise, front raise, etc? I don’t usually do the more specific muscle exercises because bodyweight is often my only option on the road and when I’m in the gym I usually want to make sure I hit the big ones, no splits since it can be days between gym chances.

I was at our annual throwing convention and one of the guys gave a presentation at what had happened at a big gathering held by 2008 OG discus champ Gerd Kanter, who outlined his entire program. Gerd only does pulls no catches for his cleans or snatches, for him he believes risk of injury outweighs benefit.

Kogi Murofushi 2004 OG Hammer champ, also presented, and they showed some video of him power cleaning, he had a very shallow catch, (OL catch a little above parrallel and call it a power clean or power snatch) Kojis back was vertical, and he flipped his wrists over at the top and immediatley drew the elbows back to lower the weight again. Did not catch on the shoulders, until last rep (had a best power clean in this style of 195kg at around 97kg )

When I power clean I do a flip catch at my neck, buy the weight comes straight back down. Can catch on shoulders and do when I jerk, but get more speed and power with straps and my flip catch.

You point out something I hadn’t thought about. I’m wondering now if my catch is sloppy/bad form is creeping in. I tend to hold at the top just above my front chest/shoulders and flipping down quick rather than bringing bar to rest for a second. I think my grip my be too narrow and I’m compensating with quickness. I haven’t been around a coach in a long time. thanks for input.