Improve Your Clean: 3 Part Drill

The clean, and all of its variations, is an incredible tool for athletic development, as well as general fitness. When executed properly, this one movement can help an athlete improve in all of these areas.
  1. Overall Strength & Power
  2. Coordination/Full-Body Proprioception
  3. Balance
  4. Mobility
That being said, many coaches and athletes ignore the highly technical nature of the Clean. In order to reap ALL of the potential benefits, one must continually focus on proper technique and positioning. For example, an early pull (lack of patience to the jumping position, or bending the arms before hip extension) will drastically limit the athlete’s ability to exert and develop maximum power. On the other hand, a sloppy catch (low elbows or a wide “Starfish” position) will hinder strength gains and reinforce poor mobility and body control. In order to ensure proper execution, we must continually practice movement and positioning before adding load. One way to do this is with the drill demonstrated in the video above. With a PVC, training bar, or empty barbell, the athlete will perform 9 different Cleans. First the athlete first finds position 1: a shoulder width stance, slight dip of the hips, arms long and loose, with a vertical torso. The athlete will then jump explosively, making the bar weightless, and meet the bar with a good front rack position in a quarter squat (or power position). The athlete then stands tall and resets at position 1. The next rep will be caught the same way, then the athlete will descend below parallel and complete a full squat. Resetting again, the athlete will finish by performing a full squat clean. The athlete will perform the same 3 clean catch variations at each of our 3 positions (1=high hang, 2=hang just above the knee, 3=mid-shin or “from the floor”). This progression will drill all 3 positions, how to move efficiently between them, and reinforce proper catch technique for any load. Add this drill into your warm-up anytime the workout calls for use of the Clean, and your athletes and their gains will benefit greatly!

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