Power cleans are an Olympic lift that can help any athlete improve their vertical jump and overall athletic prowess regardless of the sport(s) that they participate in.
Regardless of if the athlete in question is a high school student or a world class professional, explosive power lifts are the key to unlocking untapped potential that can take any performers skills to the next level. Whether the athlete in question wants to improve his vertical jump to dunk a basketball, be quicker around the soccer field, or even physically dominate competitors on the golf course, athletic strength training is the vehicle to get desired results.
Power cleans are also commonly referred to as hang cleans and are a component of the competitive Olympic lift known as the clean and jerk. When done correctly the power clean utilizes 52 percent of the muscles in the body (the squat by comparison only uses 33 percent of the muscles in the body and the bench press works out a mere 15% of the muscles).
Performing a power clean
The basic motion used when performing the power clean exercise can best be described as holding a weight bar slightly above the knees with the arms hanging down at a comfortable shoulder width apart. This starting position assumes that a manageable amount of weight has already been lifted off of the floor with the athlete using his or her legs and not their back to place the bar in this desired spot to begin. The actual lifting motion involves very quickly bringing the bar up to shoulder height with the lifter snapping the weight up in such a manner that the completed position has their palms facing up (and positioned near their chin) and elbows pointing out in front of them.
Once the proper form is mastered the actual performing of one repetition will involve quickly and often violently whipping the weight bar upwards while the athlete simultaneously drops their backside down (driving their heels into the floor) and catches the bar in a position that resembles the posture of a front squat lift. In performing this behavior the lifter is essentially yanking the bar up while dropping their body underneath it. At the conclusion of each repetition the bar is safely dropped down to the position around the knees that it began and the process is repeated until a complete set is done. Once a set is complete the bar is securely returned to the floor in a manner that ensures the athlete is safe and able to avoid unnecessary injury.
Due to the nature of this lift as the weight increases many power cleaners may find that they are constrained not by how much weight they can reasonably lift but rather by the insufficient grip that develops between their hands and the bar. For this reason numerous lifting aids are available to help provide a secure grip that actually minimizes the likelihood of injury. Among the advisable tools readily available to power lifters are (1) chalk powder to minimize moisture in the palms of the hands, (2) weight lifting gloves to provide addition traction while also allowing for a more comfortable grip, and finally (3) inexpensive cloth weight lifting straps. Of the three items mentioned weight lifting straps make the single biggest impact. Straps traditionally loop around the wrist and then are wrapped tightly around the bar in the exact spot the hand will grip. When used properly weight lifting straps create a secure bond between the hands and the weight lifting bar.
Additional equipment recommended includes athlete dallas cowboys polo shirt with flat rubber soles. Performing this exercise in anything less than the advised footwear (including barefoot or in sandals) is a foot injury disaster waiting to happen. A leather or synthetic weight belt to minimize undue strain on the back is also advisable to curtain any threat of long term back trouble. This lift also requires the presence of a spotter as much as any other. With the tremendous momentum and fatigue that are generated there is always the threat of a lifter losing his or her balance and dangerously toppling backwards underneath the weight of the bar. A spotter standing directly behind the lifter can mitigate this problem by catching the power lifter in the event that anything goes wrong.
Benefits of power cleans
As previously mentioned power cleans incorporate an unprecedented 52 percent of the muscles in the body. The unique blend of upper body, core, and lower body exertion provides an optimal workout for improving vertical jumping as well as overall quickness on the court or playing field. While power cleans are far from being a household term the lift is becoming increasingly popular thanks in large part to the proliferation of strength and conditioning advocates around the NFL and college football programs. While there are critics that are quick to point out the stress put on the joints and risks involved with using too much weight it is important to note that almost any exercise can be detrimental when performed incorrectly.
When performed properly power cleans can be the single most important part of workout regimes for any athlete. Safety should always be of the utmost concern and for this reason it is advised that power cleans or any similarly exhausting lift be placed at the top of a daily workout so as to be the first lift performed. Auxiliary lifts that isolate particular small muscles should be appropriately performed towards the end of a workout where a lifting failure is less dangerous. With proper safety precautions in mind every athlete looking to dominate their sport should incorporate power cleans into their vertical exercises for improved performance.
write by Isidore