Clean progression

Learning progression to teach the Power clean

The Olympic lifts are difficult skills to teach and acquire, but this also counts for sport skills. By means of a learning progression any skill can be acquired. The learning progression to teach proper technique in the power clean, starts with the High hang clean pull, to focus on the triple extension of the ankle, knee and hip, the so called jumping phase.

If the athlete masters the High hang clean pull and shows good technique in the Front squat, he should have little difficulty to rack the bar in the High hang power clean.

Until this step in the learning progression all the lifts were performed from above the knees (high hang position). Lifting from above the knees is relatively easy and can be quickly mastered by any athlete. The next step is the Low hang clean pull to teach the scoop. In the low hang position the bar is lifted from just below the kneecaps. The scoop gets the athlete in a good jumping position. When the scoop is performed properly the hips and knees are driven forward (rotary action of the hips) resulting in a slight hip and knee flexion. This imposes a stretch on the knee and hip extensors. The stored elastic energy during the stretch enables the muscles of the legs to react more explosively. The scoop is the key to a productive power clean.

If the scoop is mastered and the athlete has sufficient flexibility at the hips and low back he can start lifting from the floor. The Power clean is the last step in the learning progression.

Training variation

The high and low hang versions are not only a means to get to lifting from the floor, but they can make up a big part of the training program, even when the power clean from the floor is mastered. Till the athlete has not developed the necessary hip and low back flexibility to lift from the floor, only high hang and low hang versions are used.

  • High hang clean pull

    The high hang clean pull starts in the power position. This is the position from which the most power can be exerted. The power position is a frequently recurring position in sports.

  • High hang power clean

    In the high hang power clean, the athlete starts to pull the bar up from the power position. At the highest point of the bar, the athlete pulls himself under the bar and catches the bar in the front squat position.

  • Low hang clean pull

    The next step is the low hang clean pull to teach the scoop. The scoop provides a plyometric effect that enables the muscles of the legs to react more explosively. In the low hang position the bar is lifted from just below the kneecaps.

  • Low hang power clean

    The low hang power clean is an intermediate level exercise. The bar is lifted from just below the kneecaps. On completing the second pull, the athlete catches the bar in the front squat position.

  • Power clean

    The power clean is an advanced exercise in which the bar is lifted from the floor. The power is exerted over a long trajectory, generating a high power output. Lifting a barbell from the floor demands good flexibility at the ankles, hips and lower back.