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Old 05-26-2011, 07:00 AM   #11
Jon Gregory
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

How does your form hold up over the course of a 3x5? Wrist pain is likely an issue with racking the bar and possibly mobility issues. The shoulder pain I really don't know what would cause that. I can always feel my shoulders after a good PC session because of the shrug but it shouldn't hurt. If you are finding you consistently hurt from doing them you are likely doing something wrong and need coaching.
PC's are of enormous benefit but if you really don't want to do them you might want to think about replacing them with something explosive. The body weight movements such as broad jumps will help develop explosive hip drive but its not the same! KB swings are good.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:42 AM   #12
Matt Thomas
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

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Originally Posted by Tamara Cohen View Post
It makes me think that some people here have never power cleaned before...
And you'd be wrong. At least in this case.

I understand that power cleans offer different benefits. But if someone's main goal was to get strong I don't see why that's not possible to do without power cleans. Plenty of very very strong individuals do it. Again, not saying power cleans shouldn't be done because of a lack of technique. That is no excuse. But I really don't believe they're vital for all goals.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:44 AM   #13
Mark Martinez
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

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Originally Posted by Jon Gregory View Post
PC's are of enormous benefit but if you really don't want to do them you might want to think about replacing them with something explosive. The body weight movements such as broad jumps will help develop explosive hip drive but its not the same! KB swings are good.
Totally agree with this. I'd add in box jumps and max height box or vert jump from static postion.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:52 AM   #14
Michael Dowling
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

i don't think power cleans are all together worthless but i do think because of the difficulty, inherent risk of injury, and the fact that the vast majority of people do them at ridiculously light weights for low reps they aren't very beneficial for most people i see doing them (myself included).

that doesn't go for people doing olympic lifts who can PC their body weight at the very least. i would imagine power cleaning your body weight for reps would be quite good in building strength, power, and explosiveness.

but let's get real i'm a 200 lb man, power cleaning 160 lbs for sets is a joke, no matter which way you slice it 160 lbs isn't a lot of weight at all, it even feels light that's what is frustrating about the pain it causes. i really feel like i can PC at least 205 but not without significant injury risk, even with my form buttoned down.

i think for some people (actually most people) the only way to power clean comfortably is to do it at light weight, it's these people i'm wondering if power cleans are worth doing.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:08 AM   #15
Arturo Garcia
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

I did them for about 8 weeks recently for the first time ever and worked up to 200 x 5 sets of 3. I then decided to do an extra 4th rep on that 5th set and injured my left wrist, which is not fully healed yet. So I don't really think I'll do them again. My wrists are kinda injury-prone so I don't need to put them at risk so often. I'm not a competitive athlete so I'm not sure I need them so much. I must say I was truly enjoying the movement though! Although sometimes I'd have 3-4 bruises near my clavicles and near my shoulder bones. It was indeed uncomfortable. Also very noisy to drop with metal plates, despite improvising some old jeep tyres and stuff like that.

Last weekend, just for fun, I said to myself that I wanted to try an explosive movement, just because I like them. So I decidedto try the DB snatch! I had never gone heavy on this and I started adding weight and doing singles with both arms. I got really excited to snatch 100# with either arms, just seems cool although probably not very strong around these boards. I feel there is less risk of wrist injury with this movement. And I just love it so I'm gonna keep doing it at least once a week.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:09 AM   #16
Tamara Cohen
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

While age and injury are certainly valid reasons that certain populations don't need to power clean, 34 is hardly the time when age should become a factor in ditching power cleans.

I would again encourage people to read the pages I referenced and perhaps to search the SS forums on this topic. Bill Start would be another good resource.

I'm glad no one mentioned age to the 55 year old woman I was working with on Olympic lifts last night. Otherwise, she may never have competed and qualified for the CrossFit Games this year. I'm looking forward to seeing how much better her power cleans are in a few weeks.

Last edited by Tamara Cohen : 05-26-2011 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:05 AM   #17
Eric Montgomery
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

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Originally Posted by Michael Dowling View Post
i don't think power cleans are all together worthless but i do think because of the difficulty, inherent risk of injury, and the fact that the vast majority of people do them at ridiculously light weights for low reps they aren't very beneficial for most people i see doing them (myself included).

that doesn't go for people doing olympic lifts who can PC their body weight at the very least. i would imagine power cleaning your body weight for reps would be quite good in building strength, power, and explosiveness.

but let's get real i'm a 200 lb man, power cleaning 160 lbs for sets is a joke, no matter which way you slice it 160 lbs isn't a lot of weight at all, it even feels light that's what is frustrating about the pain it causes. i really feel like i can PC at least 205 but not without significant injury risk, even with my form buttoned down.

i think for some people (actually most people) the only way to power clean comfortably is to do it at light weight, it's these people i'm wondering if power cleans are worth doing.
I don't think power cleans (done correctly) have any higher of an injury risk than any other barbell lift. If your wrists keep hurting you're doing something wrong--your wrists shouldn't bear any strain because all they're doing is connecting you to the bar during the pull (just like pulling a deadlift) then guiding the bar once you receive it on your shoulders.

I agree that doing a lot of power cleans at low weights isn't particularly useful, but I'm thinking more along the lines of a metcon that has you doing 20+ reps at 50% of your 1RM. That's not what you're dealing with on a linear progression. Sure, 160lbs isn't particularly heavy in the grand scheme of things, but it's heavy for you. You don't get up to that 205lb power clean without having a 160lb power clean first.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:16 AM   #18
Andrew Bell
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

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There's no set number of pounds you have to clean to get a benefit from the movement--if you're power cleaning 155lbs or 175lbs, you're able to generate more force and explosiveness and demonstrate better neuromuscular efficiency than someone who can power clean 135lbs.
Great post from Eric that I think OP should read again.

Your not understanding what is getting worked when you do them if you want to sub in Pendley Rows and GHR's.

Try this in your next work out that you want to try something a little different and maybe you'll feel what is getting worked:
Load up a bar to your true 65% of your 1RM clean. Take a stop watch and start it. REALLY focus on exploding at 100% every rep (bar speed is the goal here and not how fast you can get all 3 reps done) so take a second to reset between reps. Your next set starts exactly 60 seconds from the completion of the last rep from the previous set.

Try to make it through 10 sets and see how your body feels. You should feel a tingle that is a little different because your neurological system (motor unit) is getting more work than just your muscles, and you need to understand the benefits of that and why it's built into the system you are using.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:46 AM   #19
adam adkins
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

You are confused about what the PC does and what it is for.

Power is a product of strength and speed. You can increase your power by increasing your strength but increasing your power won't necessarily increase you strength (you could increase speed to achieve the same result).

The PC is a power movement. So your question is two fold with many different answers.

The first question is, is power useful for the majority of lifters? And, as I said, that question has many faces. Who are the majority of lifters? If you mean athletes, then clearly yes. If you mean soccer moms that want to squeeze into a cocktail dress then maybe not. So lets just assume it is a "yes."

So now the question is, is the PC the best way to train power? The answer to that depends on who you talk to. DeFranco says no, Dan John says yes, Louis is a strength specialist, so he has his own method of training power.

So the final answer is no, you don't need PCs. There are clearly those who acheive extremely high levels of fitness and athletic performance without them. If you are on a pure strength program designed up bench/dead/squat numbers you would likely benefit from training power but would likely be better served with speed days rather than PCs.

With all that said, virtually everyone can benefit, at some point in their training, from working their body as an entire unit. And for doing that the PC is king.

Last edited by adam adkins : 05-26-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:06 PM   #20
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

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those i could deal with, it wasn't until i tweaked my trap that i decided to cut them out. this topic was really just a result of me thinking about power cleans in general and how i see them utilized (very light weight with mostly low reps which seems not very beneficial). if i'm lifting light weights like a 3 X 5 of 160 are the benefits of lifting that light worth the physical pain and injury risk inherent with power cleans?
I'm older than you, and seem to manage to clean (and jerk, and snatch) without any particular ill effects. If you're getting hurt, especially at "light" weights, fix your form.

Power cleans are a power exercise. While olympic lifters routinely clean almost as much as they squat, most people won't, especially at first. That doesn't mean the exercise is useless, it just means it develops other aspects of fitness than pure strength. Only you can decide if being more explosive matters to you.

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