In today’s article, we’re going to be looking at a vastly underutilized exercise in the power clean, which is why we’re looking at several interesting power clean benefits.
Walk into any commercial gym worldwide, and one of the first things you’ll notice is a lack of Olympic bumper plates and platforms.
As a result of this, not nearly enough Olympic lifting takes place in commercial gyms, and athletes, lifters, and people, in general, are missing out as a result.
When it comes to Olympic lifts and exercises, power cleans in our humble opinion are vastly underappreciated and underutilized, and we intend on changing that.
There are numerous benefits to be had, and if you’re looking to take your training and your physique to the next level, they should be incorporated into your weekly training routine.
Considered the ultimate compound delt exercise, here are 16 interesting benefits.
What Are Power Cleans?
Before we look at the benefits that are available to be had, we first need to look at what power cleans are in the first place.
Power cleans started with the weightlifter standing behind the bar with a wider-than-usual stance.
They will then grip the bar with an overhand grip and will deadlift the bar before extending their hips and then shrugging the bar, dropping underneath it, extending the elbows outwards, bending the knees marginally, and then standing up with the bar so that it rests upon the clavicle.
Most lifters will perform power cleans on a platform, using bumper Olympic plates so that they can simply drop the rubber plates and the barbell onto the floor once the lift has been completed.
For shoulder development, explosive power, stability, flexibility, mobility, and a whole lot more besides, power cleans simply cannot be beaten.
How To Do A Power Clean?
If you’re looking to improve your explosive strength, bring up your delts, and improve your Olympic lifts in the process, power cleans are an exercise that you should incorporate into your weekly training routine.
One of the main issues with power clean, however, is the fact that as a compound lift, they’re very complex, and mastering the technique of the power clean is by no means an easy task.
To help make the transition easier here is a step-by-step look at how to correctly perform a power clean.
To start off with, you are going to have to ensure that your stance is on point.
Begin by placing your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing outwards slightly as if pointing at 11 and 1 on a clock face.
Before you begin the lift, be sure to brace and engage your lats, as these will assist with drive and stability.
The First Part Of The Lift:
Now, holding a barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, drive the bar upwards and imagine you’re trying to push the floor away from you with your feet as you drive the bar upwards.
Keep your elbows touching the outside of your thighs, and don’t change this until the barbell is now touching your thighs.
The Second Part Of The Lift:
This part of the exercise is where you really bring your hips into the equation, as you are looking to power the bar upwards, past your thighs.
As you bring the bar into the air, you need to pull your elbows high as you drop down into the catching portion of the lift.
Catching The Barbell:
A solid looking clean will look very similar to a front squat, which means that the second the bar is above your hips, you need to catch the bar using leg power and core strength to get it up to your shoulders as if you were doing a front squat and were on your way back up to the starting position.
Make sure that the barbell is actually in contact with your shoulders, with both elbows high up and pointing directly in front of you.
Now that you’ve got the barbell up, be sure to stand up straight and stabilize yourself with the bar resting on your shoulders.
Hold for a second or two and then lower the weight back down to the floor in a slow, methodical, and controlled manner.
If you’re using bumper plates and have suitable flooring to do so, you can also drop the barbell, but we recommend you practice lowering the weight first, as this will help you to stay in control of the weight.
The Power Clean Benefits:
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s a look at several key benefits to be had.
1. Improve Your Grip Strength
The first benefit we’re going to be looking at today is the fact that power cleans can help to improve your grip strength very noticeably.
This exercise requires you to grip a heavy bar at high-velocity levels which means that you need to grip it, hard, otherwise you’ll drop it and put yourself at risk of injury.
2. Burn Fat
The power clean is a very physically demanding exercise, and it is one that requires a great deal of energy and explosive power.
For people looking to burn fat and lose weight, power cleans are a very beneficial exercise.
Because of the fact that it recruits so many muscle groups, this exercise requires a lot of energy and burns off a lot of calories in the process.
Cardio isn’t the only way to burn fat, get more vascular, and get leaner, it turns out that lifting weights will help get you lean and shredded, and power cleans certainly lead the way.
3. Awesome Full-body Workout
It’s rare that one exercise will work the upper and lower body muscles at once, yet with power cleans that is precisely what will happen.
The beginning of the exercise will recruit muscles in the posterior chain – hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and so on, whereas the second part of the exercise will recruit your anterior muscles, I.E the deltoids, the core, and the quads.
Combine these muscle groups together and it’s easy to see why this compound exercise is considered to be the ultimate full-body exercise.
4. Something Different To Try On Shoulder Day
Working the deltoids on shoulder day is all fun and games, but there are only so many dumbbell presses, military presses, and lateral raises you can do before your delt training gets monotonous and boring.
Another of the awesome benefits we’ll be discussing today, is the fact that they offer you something different to try on shoulder day.
The main muscle groups worked during this exercise are located in the delts, meaning that power cleans are fantastic for shoulder day, and as they’re different and unique, they give you something new to try when you want to mix things up.
5. Improved Posture
Thanks to the fact that so many of us spend so many hours sitting at desks, hunched over computers for days each week, posture problems are now more common than ever.
While this is good news if you’re a chiropractor, it’s not so great if you suffer from back and neck pain.
Power cleans are amazing for people dealing with poor posture as it recruits and strengthens muscles located in your posterior chain that play a key role in promoting good posture.
The more power cleans you perform, the better your posture will be.
6. Muscular Physique
Another of the key benefits that we’ll be looking at today is the fact that power cleans are ideal for people looking to build a muscular and powerful physique.
Power cleans recruit multiple muscle groups at once and are therefore a great compound exercise for people looking to build muscle and bulk up.
For a powerful and muscular physique, make sure you perform plenty of power cleans when working your delts.
7. Strengthen Your Bones
Power cleans, and indeed any other resistance-based exercise for that matter, are fantastic for people that are looking for stronger bones.
When we’re young, we can get away with being reckless in the gym and when training, but as we grow older we find that we need to take more care of our bodies, which is where the importance of having strong bones really becomes apparent.
As we age, our bones can become softer and brittle, which puts us at risk of osteoporosis and numerous other bone-related health issues.
Resistance training, in this case, in the form of power cleaning, however, helps to strengthen your bones and increase bone mineral density.
The stronger your bones are, the less susceptible to injury and bone-related health issues you will be.
8. Mix Up Your Training
Another one of the many benefits that we’re going to be covering in detail today, is the fact that power cleans are ideal for people that are looking to mix up their training.
Most typical bodybuilding routines consist of the same exercises and movements, with a distinct lack of Olympic lifts and unique movements.
As far as power cleans go, though, these are a very unique way to mix up your training and try something different that you probably haven’t tried before.
Not only will this help to keep your workouts fresh and interesting, but it’ll also work your delts in a slightly different way, meaning that you can develop them in a slightly different way.
Every so often it’s good to mix up your training and try something new, and with power cleans, that is precisely what you can do.
9. Better Balance
One of the lesser-known benefits is the fact that they’re so beneficial for people looking to improve their balance.
Because they work your core, and because you have to work so hard to stabilize yourself when you perform the lift, power cleans are the ultimate exercise for those of you looking to work on your balance.
10. Ideal For Athletes
Another of the key benefits that we’re going to be looking at today is the fact that they’re great for athletes.
Power cleans will help to improve strength, grip, muscular endurance, balance, and explosive power, making them the perfect movement to carry over into a variety of different sports and physical activities.
If you are looking to improve your athletic performance and take your performance up a gear, power cleans are ideal.
11. A Great Talking Point In The Gym
Now, we all know that you go to the gym to train, not to socialize, and distract other members, but there’s no rule that states that you can’t talk between sets.
If you are looking to socialize, gyms can be useful, especially if you have a talking point or an ice breaker. That’s where the many benefits really become apparent.
With power cleans, because the exercise is so unusual to most regular gymgoers, it’s a great talking point and it’s a great exercise that you can use to teach others in the process.
12. Enhanced GH Production
Growth Hormone is a highly androgenic anabolic hormone that plays numerous roles in the human body when it comes to muscle growth, repair, and recovery.
Alongside testosterone, it is arguably the most important hormone to have at your disposal and so the more you produce, the more you will benefit.
What does this have to do with your hormones?
Well, as power cleans are a very testing compound movement, experts have found that heavy compound exercises will promote an increase in the amount of growth hormone that you naturally produce.
If you are able to produce more growth hormones, you will build more muscle and you will also recover much faster as well.
13. No Gym Needed
Okay, when most people perform power cleans, they will do so in a gym or a CrossFit box (official CrossFit term for a gym) but in reality, you can perform power cleans anywhere, at any time, with no gym required.
To do power cleans, all you need is a barbell, the weights, an open space, and a suitable place to drop the bar without damaging the floor.
That means that you can do power cleans at home, in the garage, in the back yard, or anywhere else for that matter, making them a very convenient exercise to perform.
14. Build A Set Of Awesome Delts
Despite the fact that power cleans work a variety of different muscles, one of the first things you will notice about people that perform power cleans on a regular basis is the fact that they tend to have an awesome set of delts.
Power cleans work the front delt primarily, though, in truth, the middle and rear delts also benefit, so if you do want to build a set of boulder shoulders, be sure to perform this exercise and you’ll soon see the difference that it makes.
15. Tone Your Muscles
Not only do power cleans help you to build muscle and improve your strength levels, but they also help you to tone your muscles as well.
If you want to build yourself a leaner, more ripped, and defined physique, power cleans are perfect as they help you to tone the muscles and work on your muscle definition.
If you crave striated and toned delts, for example, performing power cleans will help you to do that, making your arms look leaner and more defined.
Not only that, but the exercise is also ideal for people that are looking to burn fat and lose weight, and as you know, the more fat that you burn covering the muscles, the leaner and more defined you will look.
16. Increase Pressing Power
Despite the fact that power cleans don’t actually require you to press the weight, they work incredibly well for people that are looking to increase their overall pressing power.
Because of the muscles worked, as well as the stabilizer muscles incorporated in performing the exercise, you’ll find that regular power cleans will help you noticeably increase your pressing power.
The military press and dumbbell press are both great exercises for bringing up the shoulders, and as you perform more power cleans, you’ll find that your presses improve quite noticeably.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Hang Clean Vs Power Clean – What Are the Differences?
The hang clean is a great exercise routine that targets the entire body. It involves hanging from a pullup bar while performing various exercises. These exercises target the back, chest, shoulders, arms, legs, abs, and core. You may use a weight belt if necessary.
Power cleans are similar to hang clean except they involve pulling yourself off the floor using only your legs. This exercise is great for building power and explosiveness.
What Does A Power Clean Work?
The power clean is a great exercise for the entire body. It works out the whole body while working the muscles in a different way than any other exercise. You use your legs, hips, back, shoulders, arms, chest, abs, and core. If you have never done a power clean before, then start off slow and build up to the full movement. Start with just your legs and move up slowly.
So, we'll probably wrap things up as we know that you want to head down to the Box or the gym to start trying power clean!
As you can see, there are too many power clean benefits, if you want to build a strong core, and try something new, you already know which exercises we suggest you perform.