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Self Teaching the Power Clean

I bought some books over the last few weeks and one I really liked was the basic barbell training by Mark Rippetoe.

I can’t quite seem to master the low bar without bad shoulder pain but overall I found the book informative even if the picture illustrations were a bit crap.

I found it interesting he teaches the power clean in his book. He teaches a kind of jump and shrug method which is nothing like other books written by olympic coaches I have read.

Has anyone ever really been successful learning how to power clean without coaching? It seems a very technical lift and not something that a new lifter could learn very well merely from a book.

Do you still get benefits of a power clean with less than perfect technical form? I am tempted to start doing them but I am not sure how worthwhile they will be.

I know jim wendler has shitty power clean form and still does them, if I remember rightly in an interview he said his goal was to clean 500 pounds with the worst form imaginable because that was the biggest display of strength.

I know it was a joke but do even mongrelised self taught newb power cleans have some benefits?

Right now it looks like I am attempting to crush my pelvis with the bar and then doing a crappy front squat and standing up with the weight.

Well I’ll preface with I’m learning now only done them 3 sessions in my life. First thing that helps me is to break the lift into three parts deadlift portion, jump portion, rack portion. Even just doing hang cleans over and over has helped me suck less. It’s three lifts in one movement so training the CNS to do all three in unison is going to take time. Just stick with it and keep repping.

Power cleans yeah, took me a couple of weeks to get it feel right, still not perfect but not bad IMO. I still can’t do a full clean as I don’t feel comfortable with dropping down so low to catch the bar. I use CaliforniaStrength’s videos for clean progression.

Depending on what your goal is, maybe consider high pull variations or Amit Sapir’s olympic deadlift? I only do power cleans for the sake of being able to do power cleana, whatever strength/explosiveness I gain is just a nice side benefit.

[quote]Paradise Lost wrote:
Do you still get benefits of a power clean with less than perfect technical form?

You can do clean pulls and derive the same benefits if your goal isn’t to be competent in the actual olympic lifts.

If your goal is explossiveness in your lower body lifts, you can simply include some speed work.

[quote]Paradise Lost wrote:
Has anyone ever really been successful learning how to power clean without coaching?[/quote]
Yes. Lots of people. Pretty much everyone who followed Starting Strength to the letter.

Absolutely yes. “Good enough” cleans are good enough. That is not an excuse to use dangerous form or weight that’s legitimately too heavy. But cleans are a big barbell exercise, just like deadlifts, squats, front squats, or overhead presses. Read, study, and learn. Practice. Increase volume and load gradually, and you’ll be fine.

I really like Dan John’s “bow and arrow” concept. The guy’s doing a snatch here, but the concept is exactly the same for cleans.

And actually, I just wrote an article about the Olympic lifts, should hopefully be up soon. A snippet:
If you’re using a body part split, clean and snatch variations lend themselves best to being the first exercise performed on back, shoulder, or leg days. The details will vary depending on your particular goal, but it’s hard to go wrong learning with low volume. Introducing the lifts with 3-5x1-3 allows a small handful of quality reps each session, so technique rather than weight can be the priority.

Wil Fleming, Charles Staley, Christian Thibaudeau, Jon-Erik Kawamoto, Allen Hedrick, Lee Boyce, and other great coaches have written tons of articles breaking down the clean and/or snatch.

I was just about to say Flemings stuff is awesome and really helped me.