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Power Cleans before Deadlifts

Hello CT,

I’ve been implementing your layered system and have been making nice strength gains during my caloric deficit (about 200-300 below maintenance. My goal has been to get stronger while dieting, which is going well for me. I was wondering if I could do cleans as an activation before my deadlift layers.

Currently doing this:

  1. ramp to 1RM
  2. Density @ 90%: Clusters
  3. Loaded Carries

Do you think the cleans have any place in this set-up, as an assistance/activation? If not before, possibly after what I describe above? Thank you.

EDIT: Also, being that I intend to remain at this slight caloric deficit for a while, is the inclusion of another lift only going to hurt recovery?

I believe he wrote a program that involved this exact thing. If I remember correctly you work towards a certain RM on the Power Clean. Once you reach that RM you switch to Deadlifts so you can keep adding weight to the bar.

I think the same program advocated starting a pressing workout with Military Press and then switching to Incline and finally Bench Press in order to keep adding weight to the bar.

But I could be wrong…

@ Granite: I believe that was from HPM, way back a few years ago. Loved that program, with a constant ramp just switching exercises to a stronger one.

Using the Power Clean as an activation should work well enough. Along the lines of 2-4 sets of 1-5 reps depending on the weight.

Example may be:

  1. Activation: Power Clean warm up, ramp to a 5rm
  2. Switch to a stronger variation: Clean Low-Pull 5rm
  3. Strength: Deadlift 3rm
  4. Density: 90% of #3 for Clusters
  5. Carries

I added a Clean Low-pull to bridge the gap between the Power Clean and Deadlift. Some may have a bigger gap than others and this will add more volume to what’s already a good amount of volume. If you can handle it, this could work. If not just skip it and go straight to #3.

I wouldnt add it to a 1rm since it would most probably influence the DL 1rm, unnecessary fatigue if shooting for a PR.

In any case, the Power Clean would be as an activation, just before the the Dealift 1rm.

I’m not speaking for CT, but this would be “à la HPM” style of ramping.

I gotcha. So, it’s certainly doable, and wouldn’t be too much for someone who is dieting, I presume. Thank you!

@Mike: It will most certainly help you performance that’s for sure. As long as you keep them light enough that you don’t grind any reps, you should benefit from it as an activation.

Nice. I’m doing deads today and will go with what you outlined, minus the low pulls. I’m thinking 3 sets of some nice clean reps to get me ready for the day. I ramp to 385 1RM, and I’m feeling like possibly hitting a PR today