- Published: Sunday, 11 May 2014 22:31
- Written by Justin Ford
- Hits: 1800
I get the privilege to travel around and coach some very strong, energetic people in weightlifting. I teach a very basic style of hip extension applying physics you know the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter (the loaded bar) and energy (the lifter). Some coaches teach a "hip bang or bounce" but the differences are for another post. I teach a very straight pull which results in a straight bar path. What gets me is once the coaching session is underway i almost always hear "wow I need help my power clean is 225 but my squat clean is 230!" First off I shutter every time I hear the term squat clean and my weightlifting friends / snobs will agree. THERE IS NO REASON TO SAY SQUAT CLEAN! But the bigger question is why on earth would it be acceptable for your power clean to be more than your clean or even close?
There are three main culprits that cause this to be the norm in a lot of gyms and we will briefly look at each. First off many lifters especially newbies don't have the flexibility or mobility to do a full squat. Secondly in addition to not having the mobility many don't know how to squat. A lifter with poor mobility will tend to squat by 1st pushing their butt back and try to get depth by leaning forward and rounding the lower back. With this lethal cocktail of poor mobility and poor technique it's no wonder why many can't squat under a weight with it in a front rack.
So what would be the third reason? It's the pull stupid! Many times when lifters pull a power clean their pull is a back lift instead of a hip dominant lift. Using the big electors to pull a weight generally forces the lifter back on the heels. Now everyone take a break, stand up, rock back on your heels and try to squat down. What happens you stick your butt back! Yes using the back to create momentum does just that but it puts the lifter so out of position that they can not squat under the bar. Over time the electors become very strong leaving the gluteus to slowly be under developed from the lack of proper squatting and activation. It's a vicious cycle that leads to power cleans being more than "squat"cleans.
What should a lifter do? Work on your mobility not just when you're at the gym but everyday and several times a day. Perfect your pull. Learn how to use your hips they are or should be stronger than your back and way more explosive. Take the power clean out of your training. If you catch a clean high punish yourself with a good front squat if you catch a clean in good position then reward yourself with a good front squat.