Power Cleans and Wrist Flexibility

So I’m watching the videos for power cleans, and I’m started to try them at the gym since some other cyclists are doing them. I figure as long as I don’t let the weights freefall, I should be in the clear.

Anyways, about the catching phase of the power clean where you “catch” the bar on your shoulders in a front squat position… I can’t do that. there is just no way in hell that my wrists will bend far back enough or that I can ever get into a arm position so that my hands are still touching the bar with the bar in a front squat position.

Holding an unweighed bar, the lowest the bar will go with the bar being held only by my fingertips is right under my chin with my chin raised up…

So is it okay to do the power clean w/o catching the bar on my shoulders since the only way I can do this is to literally drop the weight from my hands…

The only way I can have my hands touching the bar on a front squat position is to hold the bar arm crossed in front of me, else only the tip of my index finger can barely touch the bar if my arms were in the traditional clean position.

Any suggestions? Is it unsafe to clean heavy w/o being able to catch the bar w/ my shoulders and rely only on my arms?

You’ll get used to it after a while. Until then, continue stretching your wrists and triceps.

[quote]lesfayes wrote:
You’ll get used to it after a while. Until then, continue stretching your wrists and triceps.[/quote]

I couldn’t hold the bar in the clean position to start with, either. I started doing wrist stretches pushing my hand back against a wall and manually pulling it back every day with my warmup. After a few weeks I could get a few fingers under in the rack position. Just standing around in the rack position helped stretch things further. Now the only one that won’t get under is my little finger. For me it was definitely my wrists / fingers, though.

I did some front squatting with holding my arms out straight in front of me. If you hold them up a little higher than horizontal then the bar should stay on your shoulders. Front squatting like that seemed okay, but I’m not sure if you can / should clean like that. It might show you if you have flexibility problems with not being able to hold your arms up high enough, though. Just a thought.

Shoulder dislocates with a dowel or broom handle will help with flexibility to get your elbows higher.

Take a lacross ball [or toher grippy rubber ball] and aggressively roll the shit out of your forearm flexors [the underside]. Give each forearm a solid, paiinful rolling out for about 2-3 mins EACH. This will loosen the fascia and you will get the “flexibility” very quickly. With one client i did it in 1 session.


I used to have the same thought process as the guys above until I started reading some articles and thoughts on this at http://www.ultimatestrengthandconditioning.com and realized that I didn’t really need to be doing these lifts. there are some great alternatives that don’t require the catch such as the power pull. I think there is a video or article on the lift at that site. I also started asking some strength coaches I know and they agreed that the catch was unnecessary. thank god because my elbows KILL when I try to do a clean with good technique. Given the fasct that you’re a cyclist, I’d say there is also no real reason to do this lift. The whole point of the clean is to attempt to create power through the ground in very short bursts. You’re not doing that in your sport so to take on a new exercise that may hurt you and won’t really help with your sport doesn’t make any sense. There are plenty of other things you can be doing.