The power clean is a compound Olympic-style lift used in weightlifting. To execute it, the lifter moves a barbell from the ground to a racked position across the shoulders with speed and force so that at the end of movement, the bar rests on the front of the shoulders with the lifter standing up straight with feet parallel. The power clean is a variation of the clean and jerk, one of the lifts in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. The power clean is often used by athletes from other sports, such as athletics, to develop power and speed.
The power clean comes with a wide range of benefits if someone is willing to put in the time, energy and practice required to execute it correctly, but what exactly are these benefits? Why are power cleans a favourite among weightlifters and athletes alike? Should you be utilising this intensive compound exercise in your regular workout? Find out in this handy guide, where we offer you our top 7 reasons why everyone should power clean in more detail!
1. Power Cleans Boost Muscle Development
When it comes to muscle, size and strength are the two main factors that determine how well your body can handle heavy weights. Power cleans help you develop both of these. They are one of the most popular weightlifting exercises for building strength because they activate large muscle groups in the entire body from multiple angles. Though technically a leg exercise, power cleans build much more than your quads. They develop muscles in the lower body like the calves, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as the muscles of the upper back and core.
2. Power Cleans Build Functional Strength
The power clean improves functional strength and fitness for daily life, as the ability to lift a heavy weight from the ground to shoulder height in one swift movement can come in extremely useful and even potentially necessary for some people! Additionally, as power cleans also target fast twitch muscle fibres, they build power that can help you run faster, jump higher and lift heavier in whatever sport or activity you love to do.
3. Power Cleans Burn Body Fat
A power clean is extremely effective for burning calories and body fat as it is a high-intensity exercise that engages the entire body. Used with lighter weights and higher reps, the power clean is effective for burning body fat and dropping calories to help you achieve that lean and muscle-defined look.
4. Power Cleans Improve Explosive Power
If you are looking for a weight lifting exercise that improves explosiveness quickly, then the power clean is for you. The power clean builds explosiveness, as the lifter must accelerate the bar from the floor to the hip, and then drop underneath the bar at speed in order to receive the bar on the shoulders. This develops the ability to produce force at a high velocity. As this intensive movement builds your overall power and strength, this will also lead to explosive potential.
5. Power Cleans Assist Athletes
Improved explosiveness developed by the power clean can help athletes in any fast paced sports that include running or jumping. This could include athletics, rugby, basketball, cricket and many more! The potential benefits of power cleans to athletic performance are endless, which is why many athletes choose to utilise this compound exercise.
6. Power Cleans Improve Coordination
Since a power clean is a full body movement performed at speed, it requires good inter-muscular coordination to execute well. The process of learning this lift will therefore improve your coordination, even if it feels difficult at first.
In the power clean, you must drive the bar off the floor using leg and back strength. Then, as the bar is coming up under its own momentum, you quickly drop under it and whip the elbows round to receive the bar. This change of direction requires good inter-muscular coordination. You must also engage your core at the right moment to ensure that you receive the bar with a braced torso and flat back.
7. Power Cleans Provide a Full Body Workout
A power clean is a compound exercise, meaning it uses multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously for maximum benefits. This Olympic-style lift requires the coordination of every muscle group in the body and, over time, the power clean adds to muscle density, functional strength and flexibility, with an emphasis on the legs, back and core.
Work On Your Power Clean Today with an Expert Strength Training Class at Strength Ambassadors!
Whether it’s to assist your athletic journey, build muscle or burn off the calories, this lift is a great, but complex one. We always recommend working with an expert strength trainer when working with complex movements and heavy weights like those in a power clean.
At Strength Ambassadors, we are experts in building functional and targeted strength, whatever that means for you. Work with an expert with one of our Strength Gym Memberships or try one of our Strength Training Classes for a more focused workout.