Question on Power Clean technique and Strength.

When cleaning, how high should you generally pull the bar before you catch it? Should I focus on trying to pull weights to a certain height before I move up in weight?
Also, what kind of assistance work do you do for your clean and how do you fit it into your program. Thank you very much for your thoughts.

If you can pull the bar to just above your waist, then you should be able to get under it. That’s usually as high as the bar needs to go. But of course, if you can get it higher then it’s easier to get under the bar.

Remember, the clean is all about EXPLOSIVE power. You have got to put a lot of speed on the bar in order to pull it high enough to get under it.

You should focus on speed! But you need a good base of strength first. Also, assistance exercises that will help include squats (front and back), deadlifts, clean pulls, snatch pulls, hang cleans, etc! There are many other assistance exercises you can do!

When I competed in Olympic lifting, a typical workout would start with cleans, then go to clean pulls and finish with squats. Or we would clean one day and do clean pulls on another day. It depends on your goals and whether you compete or not.

Hope that helps!

Nate Dogg,can you suggest any good books or videos that demonstrate some of these movements,I know ideally you want an olympic coach but I live in a remote area without access to one.
Thanks ulisses.

I started cleaning in high school and my coach told me to come up on my toes and shrug the bar with my traps for a couple warm ups then start flipping your arms out and squatting under. Doing deadlifts and front squats should really help. It is all about form and explosive power but be careful it can be a very injury prone excercise.

It really depends on if you are doing a power-clean to improve pulling strength, or a real squat clean. On the powerclean you are training full extension and 2nd pull acceleration. If the weight doesn’t really “pop” up to the shoulders when you hit the 2nd pull, it is too heavy. On a squat clean you might want to aim for the same height every lift, since the real challenge is flipping under the bar as fast as possible. The best OL lifters actually need the least height on their pulls, because they are so quick in getting under the bar.

lots of info on the net for OL form. just use a search engine.

Best way to find information on how to do the Olympic lifts correctly is to contact USA weightlifting. I don’t have the phone number off hand, but I think their website is

They might sell videos showing how to do the exercise. Also, Ian King sells a video on ALL of his exercises, including technique for the clean. Check out his Web site for info.

USA Weightlifting does sell an excellent video of the Olympic Lifts. You might also pick up the book,“An Introduction To Olympic-Style Weightlifting” by John M. Cissik. Amazon has it for sale. It demonstrates the lifts, assistance exercises and programs.