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7 Coaching Tools to Master the Power Clean: Part II

The Power Clean is a complex skill that can be broken down into different phases and movements, all focused on putting an athlete in a position to seamlessly rip a barbell off the ground. Some could argue, teaching this movement is a more difficult skill than executing it!

To put you in a better position to teach, let's revisit our definition of skill work: dedicated, targeted training that drives prudent application which yields accelerated returns. This definition can be carried over to coaching as much as it does to movement. Proper implementation of practicing skills will accomplish two goals:

  1. Create a Default - (alliteration alert!) automatic actions for athletes
  2. Self Awareness - develop the ability for them to observe themselves

Continuing to accelerate the learning velocity of the Power Clean for your athletes, we continue this series piecing the Power Clean together like puzzle. The following movements are representative of skill work. Although they are perform at a low intensity with an empty barbell, they are crucial for breaking two of the biggest bad habits for beginners: non-straight bar path and lack of full hip-extension.

To refresh, catch up on Part I, and continue with the movements found below.

Clean Extension from Above the Knee

We use this exercise to teach how to generate explosive vertical propulsion through the coordination of leg, ankle, and hip extension, culminating in proper arm action.

Points of Performance:

  • Unlock the knees and hips, and hinge yourself into a Universal Athletic Position.  The bar should be “hanging” just above the kneecap with nearly vertical shins and your chest up.  In this position, you should feel tension and a slight stretch in the hamstrings.
  • While keeping the whole foot in contact with the ground, the pressure of the foot should move towards the back of the foot, but not on the heels.
  • Begin by performing the second half of the Clean Pull to Hip (but the movement won’t stop there).
  • Once the bar reaches the upper third of the thigh, the bar and upper thighs meet to make contact as you extend vertically up onto toes.
  • Shrug and pull the bar up with high elbows and vertical (as much as possible) forearms.
  • Lower the bar and repeat.

Clean Extension

We use this exercise to teach how to generate explosive vertical propulsion through the coordination of leg, ankle, and hip extension, culminating in proper arm action.

Points of Performance:

  • Assume the same starting position as the Clean Pull to Hip
  • Begin by performing the Clean Pull to Hip (but the movement won’t stop there).
  • Once the bar reaches the upper third of the thigh, the bar and upper thighs meet to make contact as you extend vertically up onto toes.
  • Shrug and pull the bar up with high elbows and vertical (as much as feasible) forearms.
  • Lower the bar and repeat.

TO BE CONcluded...

Master the mundane! Recall the purpose of skill work and connect it with these skill practice movements:

  1. Create a default bar path and expectation of full hip extension with the Power Clean
  2. Establish a self-awareness of the athlete's body position moving around the barbell and execution of these movements

Put these tools to practice and don't miss out as we roll out the 3 remaining tools to master this movement!

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Don Ricci, CSCS

Block One Coach at Power Athlete
Don was a two time National Champion and All-American water polo goalie at the University of Southern California prior to getting involved in coaching strength & conditioning and weightlifting.As the owner and Head Coach of DELTA Weightlifting in Sacramento, CA, the Power Athlete Methodology has been a crucial component in developing better overall athleticism with his competitive weightlifters with international level athletes and national medalists to show for it.In addition to proudly being a Power Athlete Block One Coach, Don is also a USA Weightlifting Level 4 International Coach, a USA Weightlifting Lead Instructor for the Level 1 & 2 Coaching Certification Courses, and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA).Don has coached and trained athletes from virtually every sport at levels ranging from youth beginner to National Team level.

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  1. Pingback: How to Teach the Power Clean PART 2

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