T Nation

When Doing Cleans....


What excatly are the "primary" muscles?
I just started doing standing push presses, switching from seated military presses with a barbell or dumbell. I usually did the seated ones as I was reluctant to try to clean my pressing weight to my shoulders and fail in a racket of falling weights.

Well, after my standing push presses went quite well, (thanks for pushing them as a better excercise, T-Nation!) I decided to do some hanging cleans with the weight. This morning, my traps are incredibly sore, which almost never happens anymore. I thought that cleans were more of a middle back/shoulder excercise and less of a trap movement.

So, was I doing them wrong, or are the traps more heavily involved than I thought?


The traps are more involved than you thought, but if you space your hands wider, it will hit your shoulders more. However, it hill make the high-pull portiion of the lift more difficult.


I think that you are doing them approximately right if you get sore traps.


Cleans are going to be primarily a posterior chain exercise. If you are doing the "Power" hang clean (in which you catch the bar in standing), there will be a greater component of the trapezius, but the force generated to bring the bar to your shoulders comes from the posterior chain.


To generate maximum pulling power you fire your traps as the last part of the chain. Thats how I perceive and feel it. After that you change direction as fast as possible and drop under the weight.