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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 05-25-2011, 08:55 PM   #1
Michael Dowling
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are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

i will get killed for this here but it directly impacts the program i'm doing. i'm on week 10 of a strength program and just dumped power cleans in favor of pendlay rows and glute ham raises.

in 9 weeks of power cleans i never got comfortable with them, i had nagging pain in my shoulders and lower back. i've posted my lifts for feedback and while not perfect i don't think i was doing them in a way that would cause pain or injury. i got up to about a 5 x 3 of 160 lbs, it felt light but adversely affected my body, nothing major just significant discomfort, especially at the shoulders. and at the light weight the cost/benefit seemed skewed to me.

i think power cleans can be a great exercise but the fact is most people can't do them at a weight that is going to increase strength (or even come close, i would wager i would need to be repping 225 at least to really generate strength gains from the exercise). you can do 135 lb perfect form power cleans
all day and they aren't really going to make you stronger or do much of anything really other than make you better at power cleaning 135 lbs.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:03 PM   #2
Eric Montgomery
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

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. Obviously 225lbs would be better, just like it's better to squat 350lbs than it is to squat 300lbs, but any improvement helps.

Aside from the KB swing, the power clean is the easiest dynamic hip extension movement to teach--that's why they're included in SS alongside the basics like squats and deads. If you had continued pain from doing them and your form was ok you're probably dealing with some mobility issues, and it would make more sense to address them rather than ditch power cleans.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:00 PM   #3
Matt Thomas
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

Personal opinion is no. It is not important for all lifters. If I needed to power clean for some reason then I would use it. However, if I was just working for personal gains with no real athletic necessity involved my question would be, what is the power clean getting me that deadlifts (and squats) can't? I agree with Eric that your discomfort should not be an excuse to not fix mobility issues or technique problems if that is the issue. But if it cannot be fixed then I personally would not feel bad about not including them.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:36 PM   #4
Sam Ser
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

Why are you using power cleans to develop strength?
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:02 AM   #5
Michael Dowling
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

i would've stuck with the power cleans for the duration of the program but i did strain my trap a bit last week. that was the real motivating factor for ditching them in lieu of pendlay rows and ghr.

power cleans are part of most novice strength programs, that is why i was doing them to develop strength. but i just feel at the light weights i see most people doing them they aren't really going to be very effective in that regard.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:52 AM   #6
Jon Gregory
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

I just watched the vid you posted a while back. Have you worked on your form since then? You weren't setting your back very well and were pulling early not reaching triple extension.
These little faults cause imbalances in the movement which can, in part, help explain some discomfort.
PC's are a very important lift for developing the ability to generate power from the hips and posterior chain. Don't ditch them, just do them right! Maybe you would benefit from a couple of coaching sessions - most people, me included, would!!
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:56 AM   #7
Tamara Cohen
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

I find it funny that people don't understand how a power clean offers an important training benefit that it is different from a deadlift or a squat. It makes me think that some people here have never power cleaned before...
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:07 AM   #8
Jon Gregory
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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
I find it funny that people don't understand how a power clean offers an important training benefit that it is different from a deadlift or a squat. It makes me think that some people here have never power cleaned before...
And they're so much fun too! Why wouldn't you want to do them?!!
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:21 AM   #9
Michael Dowling
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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
I just watched the vid you posted a while back. Have you worked on your form since then? You weren't setting your back very well and were pulling early not reaching triple extension.
i think so, i took the advice to heart and really focused on setting my back. the early arm bend i would say i largely cured too. after making these adjustments the 3 X 5 of 160 lbs flew up, it wasn't heavy, but i had like a stinging in my shoulders, my wrists were killing me.

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 may revisit them once this program is done, i'm on week 10 and still not exactly crushing the weight so i imagine i could get another 10 weeks at least out of it with micro-loading and resetting.

________

also keep in mind i'm going on 34, at 22/23 i'm sure i would be crushing power cleans right now with little issues.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:24 AM   #10
Tamara Cohen
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Re: are power cleans useful for the majority of lifters?

Let me refer people to pages 168-204 of Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training (2nd Ed.) if you need some reasons to power clean.

Yes, there are people who don't need to power clean. But, a lot of people simply don't power clean because they suck at power cleans. Those people should fix that problem.
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