When you hear the words power clean your first thought might center on an innovative product to help something in your home sparkle. In fact, power clean is a way of weight lifting that more effectively works your muscles. Power clean techniques are useful for their ability to help build strength as well as speed. Benefits include better performance when you run, play ball or engage in virtually every other sport.

How to do a Power Clean

One of the most important keys to lifting safely is form. Although it is easy to learn the two pulls (first and second) that make up the power clean, it is also easy to become injured. Go slowly as you begin. You may even consider asking a trainer to review your form as you become familiar with the technique.


Your feet should be about shoulder length apart with the barbell placed directly in front of you. Be sure your toes face forward as you move into a squatting position.

Prepare to grab

Extend your hands forward to the outside of your knees. Keeping your back and elbows straight, firmly grasp the bar.

Check your form

If you are in front of a mirror check to see that your head, neck and back are held straight. Notice your abs. It is important to let your core support you as you lift, so be sure to pull your abs in tight as you lift.


The inside of your elbows should meet the outside of your knees. Your knuckles should be facing forward on the top of the bar. Lift slowly from the squatting position. Don’t forget to monitor your breath. Exhale as you push up through your heels and straighten your knees. Push your hips toward the bar as you pull it past your knees.

Keep lifting

Remember your form as you lift – your knees and hips will be straight. As you continue moving into the standing position pull the bar toward your chest while lifting (or shrugging) your shoulders. Lift your calves as you pull and bend your elbows so that they point away from your body. When you look in the mirror your arms should look like the letter “V” turn sideways.

Lower gently

Lower the bar in stages beginning with your elbows. Next return your body to a squatting position remembering to breathe as you lower the bar. With knees bent, slowly return the bar to the beginning position on the floor.

Final tips…

Don’t overdo it with power cleans; a little goes a long way. Go for a few reps at perfect form instead of many sloppy or rushed reps.

Power cleans aren’t just for muscle builders. They are for everyone interested in building lean muscle, improving sports performance and burning calories. Power cleans are also a great way to engage your core and your glutes. If you are looking for a new fitness strategy that improves the way you look, feel and perform, the power clean may be just right for you.