How "Power Cleans" Can Help Your Everyday Activity

The Power Clean. According to Mark Rippetoe, the father of Weightlifting and Powerlifting programs, The Power Clean is one of the most important Olympic Lift that can improve power and speed (for athletes of any sports). Of course, at CrossFit, we do a little more than Power Cleans, but this statement is probably the truest for the rest of us who goes to school, works at an office, runs a business or homemaker. 

Pay attention to the video shown below by Julie Foucher, an Elite CrossFit Games athlete, CrossFit Seminar Staff member, who is also a medical student. 

She is demonstrating the Power Clean using a barbell. A weightlifting equipment that CrossFitters are all used to, but can sometimes be considered as "scary" or "manly" and even "dangerous" for mis-informed people. But pay attention to the movement itself and ignore the barbell. The movement is actually something that we do a lot which is ... lifting an object from the ground to the shoulder. That is really all that you are doing with the Power Clean.

Technically, you are doing a Power Clean when you are:

  • putting your backpack on your shoulder
  • picking up your child 
  • putting your luggage in your trunk 
  • picking up a box 
  • and so on ... (you get my point =))

The movement starts with the object on the ground, you picking it up like a deadlift, engaging your legs (instead of your back), "jerking" it up with your hips (not your arms) and then standing up with the object on your shoulders.

By doing the Power Clean, you can pick objects up safely and easily while at the same time working on getting stronger, better looking legs and arms. Not a bad deal.

In today's class, you will be working on your Power Clean. And we will use various pieces of equipments (dumbbell, kettlebell or medicine ball) if you are unfamiliar with the barbell.

When performing the movement, your focus will be:

  1. Starting position - setup with your arms straight, hips back, chest up
  2. Use your hips - jump up and then use your arms. Do not pull with your arms
  3. Catch on the shoulder - as the weight moves up because of your explosive jump, catch it on your shoulders. I say "on the shoulder" because one of the common mistakes is catching it on your top chest / right below clavicle. This happens a lot because some are afraid of the bar. Don't be afraid, pick it up, jerk it off your hips and then catch it on your shoulders.
  4. Keep your chest up! Just like any CrossFit movement, chest up is always the best position. As you bring the weight up, lead with your chest, not with your butt.

Last but not least ... Listen to your coach's cues, move well, be safe and be brave. 

See you in class!