Gym Shorts: The Clean

New to the clean (aka squat clean or full clean) or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

The Clean

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps:

  • Set Up
    • Grip one hand width outside knurling
    • Back straight
    • Knees in line with toes
    • Heels hip width apart
    • Bar overmidfoot
  • Up to the Jump
    • Keep bar close to body
    • Arms straight
    • Shoulders over bar as long as possible
    • Forcefully extend hips & knees
    • Jump when bar brushes mid-thigh
  • Jump to Completion
    • Slam elbows up
    • Thighs below parallel: full squat
    • Lead up with chest

The clean is half of the Olympic lift the clean and jerk and something those who want to seriously pursue weightlifting will need to train and practice.

As opposed to the power clean, which we may program as part of a novice’s linear progression, the clean–where the lifter catches the bar in the bottom of an front squat–is a lift for those who want to pursue weightlifting.

If you’re considering competing in a weightlifting meet, you’ll have to complete a clean & jerk as one of the two lifts (the other is the snatch).

We tend to only program these for intermediate or advanced lifters who want to compete in weightlifting or who, after they spend time getting stronger, desire to focus their strength training on weightlifting.

Program these for lower reps–usually no more than 3–though we may program high volume with a higher number of sets (e.g. 6-8×3).

If you want to compete in weightlifting, you’ll need to practice this regularly, so you will practice have a high frequency program.

Having said all this, it’s still important to train the “slow lifts”–the squat, deadlift, press, and, yes, the bench press to continue to increase your strength as you develop your power & practice the Olympic lifts.

If you’re considering competing in weightlifting or interested in dabbling in weightlifting (or you’re a CrossFitter) consider adding the clean to your program.

Click HERE to see our in depth video on the power clean, and HERE to learn about how to program if you want to get into weightlifting.




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