| | 7 Coaching Tools to Master the Power Clean: Part I

Author / Donald Ricci

Understanding the WHY behind sets, reps, or a movement does not prepare you to coach, especially when it comes to a complex skill like the Power Clean. In order to accelerate the learning velocity of the Power Clean for your athletes, this article series will piece this movement together like puzzle to empower you to teach this movement effectively and proficiently! The concepts we’re going to dive into during this series are applicable to teaching all skills, so pay close attention.

Teaching the Power Clean can be challenging, and at times counter-productive with groups or teams of athletes without a systematic teaching process – but it doesn’t have to be! I’m going to share a simple teaching tools that has proven effective when teaching not only individuals, but also groups and teams. This article will focus on the foundational movements to help you identify limiting factors that will appear during a Power Clean and establish the ranges of motion your novice athletes will operate in as they begin to master this movement.

Front Squat

While in the context of Bedrock we are only performing Power Cleans as opposed to Cleans; nevertheless, the Front Squat should still be the first step in the teaching progression. Why? Because the Front Squat teaches the athlete to get into the proper receiving position. You’ll be able to identify right away the limiting factors that will inhibit a perfect catch and you’ll be able to establish proper coaching directions like the classic, “lead with the elbows!” you’ll no doubt be yelling as they fight for a new PR later down the road.

Points of Performance:

  • Set your grip a thumb’s width from the knurling, or as comfortably outside of the shoulders as possible before un-racking.
  • While striving to keep as much of your hands on the bar as possible, un-rack the bar with it resting primarily on the meat shelf created your shoulders, not your wrists, and your elbows should be up (think triceps parallel to the ground)
  • Set your trunk, descend with a controlled tempo, and stand up with speed.

Clean Deadlift to Hip

We use this exercise to teach a proper start position, how to break the bar’s inertia off the floor, and how to move the bar past the knees. This steady movement will tell you so much about your athlete including whether they’re ready to pull from the floor or have to master the remaining skills before earning the floor.

Points of Performance:

    • Squat down to the bar.
    • Take hold with a grip that is at least a thumb/s width from the knurling.
    • Pressure of the foot should be balanced with the whole foot in contact with the ground.
    • Push the ground away with the legs
    • Stand up
    • Lower the bar and repeat

*If you have an athlete with limited ankle or hip mobility, or are working with taller athletes (volleyball or basketball, for example), you can place the bar blocks to elevate it to a position where you can achieve the same guidelines with proper posture and position.

To Be Continued…

At my gym,we’ve found that the best way to teach any of the Olympic lifts is by breaking the whole movement up into smaller parts, also known as “chunking.” In doing this, you set the athlete up for greater success by starting with the least amount of moving parts to think, about while progressively adding more steps as time goes on, eventually putting all the pieces together seamlessly and effortlessly.

Put these tools to practice and don’t miss out as we roll out the 5 remaining tools to master this movement!




Share this article

Donald Ricci

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. He is the founder and head coach of DELTA Weightlifting, a high performing USA Weightlifting Club and is a Police Officer in Central Virginia.

The Power Athlete Methodology has been a crucial component in developing better overall athleticism not only for his on the job performance in law enforcement, but also for 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 USA Weightlifting Coaching 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.


  1. How to Teach the Power Clean PART 1 on December 20, 2018 at 9:05 am

    […] here to read the full article and Empower Your […]

  2. Sarah Cummings on December 20, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Great! Thanks for sharing these steps that can help to avoid injuries. 🙂

  3. Don Ricci on December 21, 2018 at 9:05 am

    People helping people, Sarah. Thanks for the note!

Leave a Comment


Never miss out on an epic blog post or podcast, drop your email below and we’ll stay in-touch.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.