Power Cleans - Quadriceps Exercise Guide with Photos
Power cleans, when properly performed, can provide
a knockout punch to your workout. No other exercise comes close
in power production due to the speed of this exercise. This exercise
can crank up the speed of athletes and even the general fitness
enthusiast will feel better from the extra spring in their step.
Let's take a look at how this exercise can bring some power to your
Muscles Targeted: Power cleans primarily target your quadriceps,
hamstrings, gluteus maximus and erector spinae. These muscle groups
are all directly stimulated by this powerful movement. The muscles
of your upper back and shoulders, the rhomboids and trapezius, are
also important in pulling the bar up and maintaining form throughout.
Your forearms and biceps are involved in the pull also.
Exercise Instructions: Place a barbell
on the floor at your feet. Keeping your back straight, squat
down and grasp the barbell with both hands using an overhand
grip just beyond shoulder width apart. In one motion, lift
the barbell by using your legs so that you end up standing
up straight. Be sure to keep your arms hanging straight down
so that the barbell ends up being just about at mid-thigh
level. Next, in one motion, lift the barbell to your chin
by raising your elbows up toward the ceiling while one of
your legs drops back underneath you to give you additional
support. Just as the barbell nears your chin, you will drop
your elbows which will cause your wrists to tuck underneath
the barbell. Finally, bring your support leg back underneath
you so that you are now standing up straight with the barbell
tucked under your chin. Return to the start position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: There are no other exercises
that develop power and explosiveness as well as power cleans. If
you are looking to jump higher or run faster, you need to feature
this exercise in your workout routine. The power clean trains what
is called the triple extension. This movement is the coordination
of your hips, knees and ankles in a move that is found in most sporting
events. It can be fun to learn and many new lifters take to the
lift quickly after getting the flexibility down to perform it. For
the bodybuilding enthusiast, this exercise will build up the traps
to a level beyond all others, giving the lifter shoulders that rise
up to meet their ears.
Things To Avoid: Power cleans can take some time to learn
and will demand strict attention while performing. Keep your head
up high and look straight when lifting. Make sure you avoid pulling
the bar up with your arms. This will greatly lower the amount of
weight you can pull and stop you from reaping the full benefit of
the exercise. When it is time to catch the bar, make sure it falls
onto your shoulders and you're not trying to hold the bar up with
your arms. When you're at the height of the lift some lifters will
leave their feet, don't do this as it means your weight is too light.
Reps and Sets: Power cleans are typically performed using
lower reps. They are a demanding exercise and it can be hard for
a lifter to keep exerting at a high level demanded for high repetition
cleans, which can lead to a breakdown in form. Aim for sets of 3-6
and repetitions of 2-4 to maintain maximal power output throughout
performance of this exercise.
Other Exercises To Use: No exercises can replace the power
clean in your workout routine. You can use some other exercises
to target the same muscle groups. Some lifts to consider using instead
of power cleans are barbell deadlifts. Also, there is transference
from barbell squatting strength to power cleans and for that they
can be considered as a substitute. Barbell Romanian deadlifts can
be used to strengthen and stretch the hamstrings in preparation
for power cleans. View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the quadriceps.
Start slowly when first learning power cleans. It
might take some time for the required flexibility to develop so
that you can perform this exercise properly. It is best to start
light with just the bar. Some will need to start with something
as light as a broom handle. Stick with it and you will soon be more
powerful than ever!