T Nation

Self-Teaching the Full Clean?


Hey all,

I taught myself how to power clean a few months ago, which I usually use as a warm-up for deadlifts. I'd like to learn how to do a full clean, but on my own as I don't really have access to/time to get a coach or train at a olympic/crossfit-esque gym.

Like I said, I usually do power cleans prior to deadlifting, but today I decided to try the full clean. Attached is a video with 115 lbs, which is probably ~60% (estimate) of what I can power clean (catching in a knees slightly bent position). I know that my speed is terrible, but that's partly because the weight is somewhat light so it's difficult for me to full clean, and on the first set (not shown) I threw the bar into my chin when attempting to get under it :).

Anyway, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, both in terms of form and how I can go about teaching myself.


looks good considering!

the main thing to work on, for you, at the moment, is the second pull ie explosively driving your hips forward into the bar (and making contact between the top third of the thigh and bar), elbows turned out/pronated throughout pull

reverse chain method might be worth a try ie start high and lower down on each rep until you are starting from the floor (1-2 from the top of the thigh, 1-2 from the knee and 1-2 from the floor, that's 1 set)

I suggest concentrating on perfect form with plenty of reps and sets for a lengthy period of time, don't worry about the weight for now, maybe just enough to have something to feel/work against

in terms of resources obviously there is stuff on this site but also greenwood weightlifting, sean waxman, catalyst athletics, iron mind, sportivny


I've also been self teaching the olympic lifts. I find CaliforniaStrength on youtube to be a great resource. Glenn Plendlay breaks the movements down so it's really easy to follow. Here is a 3 part clean progression.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Thanks, that's great advice.

I combined what you said with the tutorials on the videos posted today. Any glaring issues? Those are 10 pound bumper plates on the bar.

I think my biggest issue is getting from below the knee to the hips then exploding upward. I find it difficult to push my knees out of the way to get into position.


Try to make the actual lift upward one continuous, fast, smooth movement. Don't pause at the top of the thigh, use momentum and hip drive/thigh contact; also at the start/first pull, keep your shoulders more over the bar, as you did in the first vid.

Keep the bar close to the thigh/in light contact through the second pull and powerfully drive the hips in when the bar touches/reaches the top third of the thigh. Re knees, maybe take your grip a touch wider to allow you to flare your knees out slightly before you start pulling from the floor? (having said that, I thought your start position looked technically very good in the first vid...)


yurp, calstrength and catalyst athletics are awesome resources, ill check out that other link you mentioned charlie when ive got a minute later

i too have attempted to teach myself the olympic lifts over the past couple of years, so im clearly no expert and won't derail this with all my personal quirks.

one thing that helped me a huge amount though, particularly when pulling from the floor, is to remember that the bar needs to accelerate all the way through the first and second pulls, i.e. dont go for broke right off the floor, just focus on control, keeping your shoulders out in front of the bar until youre past the knees, youve pulled the bar right into your lap and then extend the hips. thats the fun part, when you can put pedal to metal and hey presto the bar hits you in the chin (happens to me still when i get sloppy)

where are you based charlie?


very good point about controlling first pull/continuous acceleration. I live in London but my old gym was crystal palace. what about yourself?


btw my links got deleted by admin... they were to articles by sean waxman and greg everett about pulling technique/second pull, easy enough to find


Sorry to bring back an old thread, but would anyone mind providing some feedback on my power clean?

I dropped cleans/power cleans for awhile to focus on bringing my deadlift and squat up. However, I decided to try some power cleans the other day and worked up to a new 1RM (+50 pounds). They feel much more natural now, for some reason, but I'm sure they still need plenty of work. I think I need to push my knees back farther before I initiate the second (?) pull.



Baugust, I agree, you need to push the knees back a little longer in the first pull before initiating the second pull. Basically, extend the first pull a little longer.

Otherwise, nice job on the PR!! Looks pretty good overall.


Think of keeping your chest up rather than knees back (crap phone won't show vid). The latter tends to cause tipping forward. Keep your shoulders over the bar from the start though. That last point is the major difference between deadlift and clean in terms of pull ie staying over through first and second pull, as well as keeping your weight centred in your feet (deadlift being more in the heel). Well done on PR!


^^ Thanks for the advice guys.

I'll throw another video up after my session on Sunday.

Happy Thanksgiving!


just seen vid - get shoulders over, elbows out/pronated and keep the arms long and loose. your arms look a bit stiff which is slowing the second pull.


Tried implementing a few things you guys suggested.. at least staying over the bar and shoving my knees back. Better? Worse?



focus on controlling first pull and keeping your position as you squeeze away, then accelerate / explode!

stick with several working sets of 3-5 reps with good form and slowly creep the weight up for a few sessions or so before going for max.


Thanks for all the help Charlietr!

Might as well keep it going... I've been practicing some combos a la Wil Fleming (1+1+1 power clean, front squat, split jerk).

Here's a clip from today's session: 155x2, 200x1, and 205x1 (20 lb PR on the split jerk). Looking better? I still struggle pulling all the way to my hip before I initiate the second pull.

I also tried some power snatches, they are much much easier for me to pull to my hip. Thoughts?

Thanks again, guys.


Start your shrug a little earlier and bring the elbows up your sides more aggressively, you're kind of reverse curling the bar right now.

You also cut your pull (don't extend the hips fully). But it's not a huge issue, it was really noticeable at the lighter weights, but seemed to fix itself when it got heavier

The snatch makes contact higher than the clean because of the wider grip. I started cleaning with bent arms and can get the bar into my hip much better than I could before, not sure I'd recommend that to everyone though.


you're welcome!

clean: stay over more/longer in the second pull - RDLs

jerk: get back on your heels before you dip - Push press

snatch: as per clean - RDLs (snatch grip)


To the Original Poster, the above comment is spot on!