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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 09-05-2007, 09:15 AM   #1
Ryan Whipple
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Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

After doing Elizabeth today and comparing my experience with Grace, I feel like I've learned a little about myself.

For Grace, I did 95#, all reps in 5:36. Today, each set of cleans at 95# was broken. Badly. I just felt that I couldn't get enough momentum on the pull to catch it right. I am confused because Grace's power cleans seemed easy enough, but regular cleaning (which I've heard should allow more weight to be moved) was really challenging!

So here's my thought. I am 21/m/127 and my CFT scores are a 175 squat (probably only 155 in good form), a 105 press, and a 225 deadlift. Am I just lacking lower body strength in comparison to my upper body? Is this a reason I would find power cleans much easier than squat cleans? I'm so confused by my backwards-seeming abilities!
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:24 AM   #2
Brandon Oto
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

Full cleans take more movement, effort, technique, and balance. They can pull a higher max weight, but they're neither faster nor easier.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:31 AM   #3
David Wood
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

Ditto what Brandon said.

A squat clean will allow you a bigger single (critical for success in Oly lifting). But they require significantly more "work" (and technique), and at lower weights, will seem unnecessary (because you *can* powerclean the weight).

Both of these are exactly the reasons we (should) do them. (Gotta put that last qualifier in, because I wimp out and do too many power cleans myself . . . but it is wimping out.)
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:35 AM   #4
Ryan Whipple
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

So a squat clean isn't really the most efficient way to move the weight, which is why in high rep workouts like this it seems rediculously hard compared to power cleans? That makes sense... Will there come a time when I can do this workout with cleans heavier than my power cleans, or will the extra-work factor always be a holdup on workouts like this? The fact that I used more weight on a "weaker" lift prevented me from using less weight today, but I think I understand things a bit better now.
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:17 AM   #5
Scott Allen Hanson
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

Ryan,

I'd say full cleans will always be harder at high reps. Think of it this way, your basically doing a power clean (the pull is the same), with a full front squat added. In Elizabeth, you're adding a total of 45 front squats. It's going to be slower and harder. I did Elizabeth last week after the inspiration of Greg Amundsen's vid, although I did it with squat cleans. The hardest part at the end was coming out of the hole with the bar racked. Some have characterized a squat clean (might have been Coach B) as a "failed power clean".
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:32 AM   #6
Brandon Oto
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

The only way I could see it being easier at reasonable weights is if you're so fatigued that you can't catch it as high anymore.

Something else to think about is that by "power clean," a lot of us also tend to mean "power clean with some arm pull"; if we're not being strict, if the weight's not heavy enough, I suspect most of us cheat in both ways. Oh well. Again, as your arms fatigue, the form may straighten itself out.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:17 AM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

The high rep squat cleans are mainly to (1) get you to get your form down right as well as (2) provide a better metcon effort. The more you tire the more you have to rely on technique otherwise you're gonna bust yourself. And like everyone said they allow greater max weight to be pulled.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Whipple View Post
Is this a reason I would find power cleans much easier than squat cleans?
The barbell travels the same distance for both - from floor to shoulder height - but the body itself squats down/stands up twice for the squat clean compared to one and a quarter for the power clean. Therefore the mechanical work is higher for the squat clean when you add in the amount of body movement and bodyweight.

The squat clean is not metabolically easier or less demanding - it makes heavier weights in the clean possible. The mechanical work is equivalent to doing an air squat before every power clean. And that assumes perfect squat clean technique. If you are catching the bar high and then riding it down into the squat, the total mechanical work is goes up even more.

Last edited by Lincoln Brigham : 09-05-2007 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:54 PM   #9
Chris Drewry
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

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Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
If you are catching the bar high and then riding it down into the squat, the total mechanical work is goes up even more.

I find myself doing this a lot.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:30 AM   #10
Gerhard Lavin
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Re: Cleans and power cleans: am I just awkward?

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Originally Posted by Lincoln Brigham View Post
If you are catching the bar high and then riding it down into the squat, the total mechanical work is goes up even more.
Just a thought. If you are doing your cleans in that fashion, then what you are doing is a power clean/front squat combo rather than a clean. Different mechanics. Good for metcon but not necessarily good for learning the clean technique.
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