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Progressing From the Hang Power Clean to the Power Clean: A 4-Step Model
James Duba, MA, CSCS, USAW,1 William J. Kraemer, PhD, CSCS, FNSCA,2 and Gerard Martin, MA, CSCS*D, USAW1 1 Division of Athletics; and 2Department of Kinesiology, Human Performance Laboratory, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

SUMMARY
VARIATIONS OF THE WEIGHTLIFTING COMPETITION LIFTS ARE OFTEN USED AS PART OF AN ATHLETE’S COMPREHENSIVE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAM, SPECIFICALLY TO IMPROVE TOTAL BODY POWER. ALTHOUGH THESE VARIATIONS ARE EFFECTIVE, THEIR COMPLEX TECHNIQUE SUGGESTS CAREFUL TEACHING TO THOSE LEARNING. THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO PROVIDE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROFESSIONALS A TEACHING PROGRESSION FOR THE POWER CLEAN, SPECIFICALLY FOR TEACHING THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SKILLED IN THE HANG POWER CLEAN. INTRODUCTION

following progression model for the power clean presents a progression from the hang power clean to the power clean, assuming that the lifter has a background understanding of and the ability to correctly perform the hang power clean. Before using this model to teach or learn the power clean, it is strongly encouraged for the lifter to be able to properly perform the hang power clean. This is especially important because the most complex portion of the power clean occurs during the second pull and the catch phase. Additionally, classic literature has suggested that weightlifting exercises are more effectively learned in a reverse order (i.e., a top–down approach) (10). Therefore, this model should be considered as an addition or an extension of the teaching progression to ‘‘A 6-step progression model for teaching the hang power clean (2).’’
THE POWER CLEAN

catch position (Figures 1e, 2e, 3e) in a smooth and efficient motion. There are many sources available that discuss weightlifting technique, specifically clean technique, in detail (1,8,10). According to these sources, 5 main stages of the power clean may be referred to: the first pull, the transition phase (also known as the scoop, double knee bend, unweighting phase, and adjustment phase), the second pull (also known as the final acceleration or the final explosion), the catch (also known as the squat under), and the recovery phase. It is important that each phase be performed to successfully complete the entire movement.

A BRIEF REVIEW OF EACH PHASE OF THE POWER CLEAN

uba et al. (2) presented a progression model for the hang power clean, a variation of the weightlifting competition clean and jerk exercise (7). This progression model demonstrated how the hang power clean can be effectively taught in 6 steps, giving the strength and conditioning professional the option of using this exercise as a main part of an athlete’s power training program. The

D

Incorporating the power clean into a strength and conditioning program expands the coach’s options for the choice of exercises used to promote the training of whole body muscular power. During the power clean, the lifter achieves the proper starting position (Figures 1a, 2a, 3a) and lifts the bar from the floor into the proper

First Pull. The first pull is the portion of the power clean from the lift off to approximately knee height (Figures 1b, 2b, 3b). During this stage, a proper starting position (Figures 1a, 2a, 3a), maintaining proper posture, maintaining a constant torso angle relative to the ground during the lift, and keeping the bar in slight contact or very close to the body are all extremely important.
KEY WORDS:

clean; weightlifting; power training; teaching progression

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VOLUME 31 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2009

Copyright Ó National Strength and Conditioning Association

In this progression model. The transition phase is the portion between the end of the first pull (Figures 1b. a proper movement from the starting position into the hang position is emphasized. some knee bending or hip extension may occur during this phase. There seems to be much debate in weightlifting regarding whether or not the transition phase should be deliberately taught to the beginning lifter. (c) Start of second pull. 3b) and the beginning of the second pull (Figures 1c. (e) Catch. (d) End of second pull. Depending on the lifter’s limb lengths and ratios. (b) End of first pull.nsca-lift.org 59 . if the athlete reaches the proper hang Strength and Conditioning Journal | www. 45° view. 45° view. 2b. Instead.Figure 1. (f ) Ending position. Transition Phase. front view. As a general rule. 45° view. 3c). (a) Starting position. 45° view. 2c. the lifter is not taught the transition phase directly. 45° view.

At this moment. position after the clean deadlift (which includes the first pull and transition phase). the power clean differs from the hang power clean. 3d). After this. 3d). front view. Second Pull. (a) Starting position.Progression to the Power Clean Figure 2. the lifter should be in an advantageous position to create maximal force into the ground. the lifter is also moving his/her body under the bar into the proper catch position (Figures 1e. front view. the transition phase was properly executed. Catch. the lifter must finish the power clean exactly like he or she would finish the concentric portion of the front squat. This is the portion of the exercise that is found to produce the highest power output (3–6. The catch phase of the power clean begins with an appropriate completion of the second pull (Figures 1d.9). 2e. displacing his or her feet from the power stance (Figure 2a–d) to the strength stance (Figure 2e and 2f ). 2d. front view. 3e). THE POWER CLEAN VERSUS THE HANG POWER CLEAN It is important to note the difference between the power clean and the hang power clean. (b) End of first pull. front view. Once in the catch position. the lifter briefly leaves the ground. 2d. After a proper first pull and transition phase (clean deadlift). 3f ). 3c) to near the full extension of the ankles. The recovery portion of the power clean begins with the appropriate catch position (Figures 1e. Correct rhythm of the catch stage occurs with synchronized foot and bar landing. 2e. and hips (Figures 1d. (c) Start of second pull. front view. side view. Recovery. it is absolutely necessary for the lifter to consciously apply full effort at this point during the power clean. (f ) Ending position. ending tall (Figures 1f. (e) Catch position. 3e). For this to happen. 2f. in that the maximal load used in the power clean is higher than 60 VOLUME 31 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2009 . 2c. (d) End of second pull. Although similar. knees. The second pull of the power clean is the point from the hang position (Figures 1c.

side view. side view. (a) Starting position. (d) End of second pull. (f ) Ending position. (c) Start of second pull. (b) End of first pull. side view. side view.org 61 . (e) Catch position.nsca-lift. Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.Figure 3. side view. 45° view.

and center of gravity on mid foot (Figure 2a–d)  Strength stance (also referred to as the squat stance): approximately shoulder width. this means that the maximal load used in power clean must be higher than the maximal load used in the hang power clean. toes pointing forward or slightly outward. 3c). 2a–f. the base and first step of the progression is a proper hang The important stances and posture associated with the progression are described below:  Power stance (also referred to as the pulling stance): approximately hip width. and the bar in slight contact with the body via wrist flexion (Figures 1b. which makes this progression model a modification of the USA Weightlifting model (1). that is.  Ending position: hang position— weight on the balls of feet. for full understanding of the hang power clean. and the center of gravity is brought toward the mid foot (Figures 1c. Although the shoulders move back with this hip extension. toes pointing forward or slightly outward. the lumbar spine extended. To teach the athlete the proper starting position. and wrists neutral or flexed (Heavy loads will cause the wrist to be more neutral.to 20-kg barbell with standard-sized training plates. the knees may be in advance of the elbows).’’ as this is the first step in our 4-step progression model presented in this article. 2b. training with the power clean allows the athlete to train with a greater absolute load than the hang power clean. they remain in front of the bar. the bar is brought from knee height to the hang position through hip extension. closed grip or hook grip.  Starting grip: firm shoulder width. when done correctly. Although the first exercise learned in this model is the clean deadlift. overhand grip (thumbs in). the bar is brought to the hang position  Action of the first pull: The bar is separated from the floor to knee height through knee extension and ankle plantar flexion with conscious thought of bringing the bar toward the body and moving the center of gravity toward the heels while keeping a constant posture. 3a–3c and Table 1 for posture cues) Figure 4. the thoracic spine extended. the second pull of the power clean occurs when the barbell is already accelerating. IMPORTANT STANCES AND POSTURE STEP 2: CLEAN DEADLIFT This 4-step model progresses the lifter from the hang power clean to the power clean (Figure 4). hips higher than the knees. the reader is encouraged to review ‘‘A 6-step progression model for teaching the hang power clean. a constant back angle relative to the ground. and eyes looking forward (see Figures 1a–f. The illustration showed that the barbell accelerates during the first pull and does not decelerate during the transition phase before the biggest acceleration occurs during the second pull (6). Therefore. bar at lower 62 VOLUME 31 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2009 . (see Table 2). This model is not designed to replace USA Weightlifting’s model but to add to the strength and conditioning professional’s options for teaching such a complex movement. Theoretically. and feet flat on the ground with the center of gravity over the middle of the foot (Figures 1a. Again.)  Starting stance: power stance (Figure 2a–d)  Starting position: clean deadlift position—head vertical or in alignment with the torso. Therefore. head vertical or in neutral alignment with spine. A study examining the snatch in elite weightlifters that illustrated barbell velocity during competition repetitions (reps) shows this theory. first pull. Four-step teaching model for the power clean. 3a)  Action: After getting into the proper clean deadlift starting position.Progression to the Power Clean the maximal load used in the hang power clean. whereas the second pull of the hang power clean occurs at a zero velocity. elbows and knees in alignment and side by side (if the athlete has a high leg length to torso length ratio. shoulders slightly ahead of the bar. Purpose. THE 4-STEP MODEL STEP 1: LEARN THE PROPER HANG POWER CLEAN TECHNIQUE power clean technique. 2a. for most tall athletes. the shoulders ahead of the bar. This gives strength and conditioning professionals the option of using a highly loaded power exercise as part of an athlete’s power training workouts. 2c. shoulders neutral. 3b)  Action of the transition: Without slowing or stopping the movement. and transition phases for the power clean using the 15. and center of gravity toward the heel (Figure 2e and 2f )  Proper posture: thoracic spine extended.

.nsca-lift. get tall. push your chest through your shirt Look straight ahead. weight deadlift.)  Starting stance: power stance (Figure 2a–d)  Starting position: clean deadlift position (Figures 1a. and the shoulders slightly in front of the bar (Figures 1c. midthigh level. 3a)  Action: After properly performing the clean deadlift to the hang position (first pull and transition phase). and legs) before lifting the bar from the floor Cues lifter to keep a constant torso angle from lift off to knee height If the lifter’s hip is too high or too low in the starting position Lift off from the Create tension in the arms starting position before lifting the bar. 2c. 2a. push your knees out of the way Knee extension to the knees. show off your shirt. arms.to 2-second pause between the transition phase and the second pull using the 15. and wrists neutral or flexed (Heavy loads will cause the wrist to be more neutral. trunk. Table 2 Action cues for the clean deadlift Phase of the power clean Cue How it helps When to use Starting position Elbows and knees in alignment. To teach the athlete how to properly perform the power clean. 3c) STEP 3: CLEAN DEADLIFT + HANG POWER CLEAN Purpose. big chest.e. Also helps the lifter avoid hyperextension of his/her neck during the triple extension in the second pull When the lifter is learning proper posture or he/she is rounding the back at any time during the movement When the lifter is losing concentration or looks excessively upward or downward to the point where his/her focus is negatively affecting head position Adapted from Duba et al (2). keep your shoulders over the bar. do not jerk the bar off the floor First pull Hip and shoulders rise together If the lifter has a tendency to be loose and then pull the bar off the floor If the lifter rises his/her shoulders more in relation to the hips or more in relation to the shoulders from lift off to knee height First pull Bring the weight toward your heels. pause for 1 to 2 seconds and execute the hang power clean into the catch position. closed grip or hook grip.to 20-kg barbell with standard-sized training plates. with a brief 1. then hip extension to the hang position Cues lifter to keep the shoulders If the lifter is not keeping in the correct position in relation his/her shoulders in front of the to the bar and to move the bar from lift off to knee height center of gravity toward the heel from lift off to knee height Cues lifter to use knee extension to bring the bar to knee height and hip extension to bring the bar to hang position height If the lifter tends to equally extend his/her knees and the hip during the clean deadlift First pull and transition Strength and Conditioning Journal | www.  Starting grip: firm shoulder width.Table 1 Posture cues to be used for the different steps of the progression Cue How it helps When to use Back tight. Cues lifter to assume the proper shoulders should be slightly starting position of the clean in front of the bar.org 63 . tension felt in the hamstrings. overhand grip (thumbs in). find a focal point Cues lifter to tighten and/or arch his/her back to improve on posture Cues lifter to have a focus point where he/she can fix on without being distracted. specifically addressing should be felt in the middle the shoulder and hip position of the foot relative to the bar Cues lifter to tighten all his/her levers (i.

2d. the second pull of the extend the hips power clean Bring your shoulders to your ears. 2e. arm strength should not be used to pull the bar up to the catch. push your shoulders through my hand (as the coach places his/her hands on the athlete’s shoulder) Feel the bar come high in the thigh. This is achieved through the action of bringing the elbows up. if the lifter lacks quickness when getting under the bar. knees. Also. and knee extension from the second pull should be used to transfer force into 64 VOLUME 31 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2009 . keep the wrists curled in Shoot your elbows through fast. if the lifter’s elbows are not staying out and rotating around the bar. and if the lifter is not dropping under the bar during the catch Catch Catch Displace your feet from hip width to shoulder width apart Cues the lifter to move his/her If the lifter is not displacing his/her feet at all or has a feet from the power stance tendency to stomp his/her feet to the strength stance back and into the ground during during the catch and the catch and if the lifter is fixes/prevents excessive displacing his/her feet excessively stomping or displacement in the catch of the feet during the catch Cues the lifter to land with a full foot and helps develop a good stable base in the catch Cues the lifter to have proper rhythm and timing during the catch Cues the lifter to sit his/her weight back and to get the elbows high in the catch If the lifter does not land on the full foot in the catch Catch Land with a flat foot Catch Feet and bar hit together in the catch If the lifter’s timing is off during the catch. this error is common when the athlete does not bring the elbows through quick enough If the lifter tends to land with insufficient hip flexion and/or elbow height in the catch Catch Elbows and butt should face away from each other in the catch  Action of the second pull: Nearly full extension of the ankles. push your Cues lifter to achieve feet through the ground. while the feet are displacing laterally. 3d)  Action of the catch: After the second pull. knees. keep the bar close to your body.Progression to the Power Clean Table 3 Action cues for the hang power clean portion Phase of the power clean Cue How it helps When to use Second pull Finish the pull. 3e). big jump. as opposed to trying to muscle the bar up using his/her arms If the lifter has a tendency to achieve only partial extension of the ankles. it is important to keep the bar close to the body to minimize its horizontal movement (looping) and to make sure the bar and feet land simultaneously. get under the bar Cues the lifter to shrug his/her shoulders straight up to the ears during the second pull of the power clean Cues the lifter to keep the bar close to the body during the second pull of the power clean Cues the lifter to keep the bar close to his/her body and to use quickness and body control to get under the bar. and around the bar. and hip during the second pull If the lifter has a tendency to eliminate the shrug or shrug backward or forward during the second pull Second pull Second pull If the lifter has a tendency to lose contact between the bar and the body during the second pull If the lifter has a tendency to loop the bar out during the catch. under. the ankle. and hips is achieved through aggressively pushing the feet into the ground rising up on the toes and shrugging the shoulders (Figures 1d. During this action. triple extension during explode. Instead. hip. rotate your elbows around the bar. the bar is caught in the catch position with the upper arms parallel to the ground and in the sagittal plane and the feet flat with the toes pointed forward or slightly outward (Figures 1e.

org 65 . overhand grip (thumbs in). there is no final explosion during the second pull) Whole movement Cues the lifter to use the Control the bar off the first pull and transition floor and explode when phase to get into the it comes above the proper position to apply knees.  Starting grip: firm shoulder width. William J. 2e. Gerard Martin is the strength and conditioning coordinator in the Division of Athletics at the University of Connecticut. 3d) and catch (Figures 1e. it is recommended for the lifter to practice with about 3 to 5 reps per set with lighter loads than would normally be used with the hang power clean.e. be patient Cues the lifter to initiate If the lifter rushes the start of the the second pull at the second pull and if the lifter comes proper position and off a flat foot before approaching moment during the power hang position height clean If the lifter applies so much effort during the first pull that he/she is not able to apply any more distinct effort during the second pull (i. With these lighter loads. 2d. With continued practice. 3c). though.nsca-lift. the strength and conditioning professional will then be able to appropriately use the power clean as a safe and effective means for a heavy power training. 3e. Strength and Conditioning Journal | www. the lifter should use a higher load with the power clean when compared with the hang power clean. and aligned in the sagittal plane (Figures 1f. Therefore. 2e. 2c. 3a)  Action: After properly performing the clean deadlift and when approaching the hang position (Figures 1c. 2f. Kraemer is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut and the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.)  Starting stance: power stance (Figure 2a–d)  Starting position: clean deadlift position (Figures 1a. closed grip or hook grip. 3f ) After introducing the progression model and learning each step. some lifters will learn quicker than others. it will make the lifter practice before he or she completely learns the power clean. 3e). James Duba is the head strength and conditioning coach for the Sacramento Monarchs and the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Sacramento Kings. 2e.Table 4 Action cues for proper rhythm of the power clean Phase of the power clean Cue How it helps When to use Start of the second pull Wait till the bar comes high in the thigh. 2e. 2a. explosively initiate the second pull (Figures 1d. 1f. forward. it is helpful to control the speed of the first pull and transition phase (clean deadlift portion) before applying full effort during the second pull. 3e. the lifter should apply full effort during the first pull and the transition phase without losing proper position. This helps the lifter to consistently maintain and reach the correct positions required for a proper technique. 2f. as opposed to bar from the floor.. 3f ) STEP 4: POWER CLEAN Purpose. and wrists neutral or flexed (Heavy loads will cause the wrist to be more neutral. 2e. To teach the athlete how to properly perform the power clean in one movement using the 15. forward. Consequently. 1f. 2f. Even with the same proper background in the hang power clean. 2f. wait for it. 3e). feel applying full effort at the the different speeds of start the movement the bar with the intent of then getting the body under the bar into the correct catch position (see Table 3)  Ending stance: strength stance (Figure 2e and 2f )  Ending grip: front squat rack position (Figures 1e. 3e) without hesitation (see Table 4)  Ending stance: strength stance (Figure 2e and 2f )  Ending grip: front squat rack position (Figures 1e. do not rip the full effort. the lifter then finishes the front squat driving through the heels with the elbows up. and aligned in the sagittal plane (Figures 1f. 3f )  Ending position: catch position (Figures 1e. the lifter then finishes the front squat driving through the heels with the elbows up. 3f )  Ending position: catch position (Figures 1e.to 20-kg barbell with standard-sized training plates. During this learning process.

1978. Strength Cond J 29(5): 26–35. 9. Roman RA and Shakirzyanov MS. The Snatch. A6-step progression model for teaching the hang power clean. J Strength Cond Res 16: 423–427. Vorobyev AN. pp. 1982. 2000. Gourgoulis V. 5. Hungary: International Weightlifting Federation. Enoka RM. J Sports Sci 18: 643–652. Ground reaction forces during the power clean. Kraemer WJ. 1985. Souza AL. 1980. 4. 2. Int J Sport Biomech 1: 122–130. 1–8. 38–47. The pull in Olympic weightlifting. 66 VOLUME 31 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2009 . A Textbook on Weightlifting. 2002. Three-dimensional kinematic analysis of the snatch of elite Greek weightlifters. pp. 10. Med Sci Sports 11(2): 131–137. NY: A is A Communications. Power production by Olympic weightlifters. 3. 6. 58–119. Clean and jerk. Med Sci Sports Exerc 12: 54–60.Progression to the Power Clean REFERENCES 1. 2007. and Martin G. Garhammer J. pp. Pierce K. Whitestone. Shimada SD. Biomechanical analysis profiles of Olympic weightlifters. Drechsler A. and Koontz A. The Weightlifting Encyclopedia. Duba J. Translated by Andrew C Jr. 1998. 53–119. 17–108. Budapest. Russia: Fizkultura i Sport. the Clean and Jerk. 7. 1999. and Garas A. 1979. Garhammer J. Moscow. Strength Cond J 21(3): 46–47. Mavromatis G. Aggelousis N. 8.

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