The clean deadlift is the most basic strength builder for the pull of the clean. It resembles a standard deadlift to large degree, but the critical difference is that the positions, posture and balance match that of a clean, rather than allowing the higher hips, balance toward the heels, and potentially rounded back of a standard or powerlifting deadlift.
Set the clean starting position tightly—heels approximately hip-width with toes turned out, bar over the balls of the foot, knees over the bar and pushed out inside the arms, clean-width grip, arms relaxed and stretched long, shoulder joint above the bar, trunk braced forcefully with the back extended, and the head and eyes forward.
Push with the legs through the whole foot against the floor similarly to a squat. Maintain even balance over the whole foot and actively keep the bar as close to the legs as possible, and maintain approximately the same back angle until the bar is past the knees. Once at lower to mid-thigh, open the hips as you finish extending the legs into a standing position.
While the deadlift is fundamentally not a speed or power exercise, we generally want to move the bar up relatively quickly without compromising balance, position or posture.
At the top, ensure the quads, glutes and abs are all tight to extend the entire body with proper posture while still balanced equally over the whole foot. The trunk should be vertical or leaned back very slightly—any backward lean should be from the hip, not hyperextension of the lower back.
Return the bar to the floor under minimal control, maintaining your grip and basic position and posture. Generally the focus is the concentric motion, so the eccentric portion is not emphasized.
The clean deadlift is the most basic strength development lift for the pull of the clean. Lifters will be able to manage somewhat heavier weights than in the clean pull, and the slower speed will allow more focus on posture, position and balance, so that these things can also be strengthened and practiced. In addition to a basic strength builder, the clean deadlift can also be used as a remedial exercise to practice balance and position in the pull, or as part of a learning progression for the clean.
Generally the clean deadlift should be done for 2-6 reps per set anywhere from 80%-120% of the lifter’s best clean depending on the lifter and how it fits into the program. Newer lifters whose cleans are significantly limited by technique will likely need to pull much heavier percentages to adequately train strength in the pull.
In any case, the weight should not exceed what the lifter can do with reasonably proper positioning—if being used for posture, position and balance training, weights need to be controlled to allow perfect positioning and movement. As a heavy strength exercise, it should be placed toward the end of a workout. Typically pulling exercises are performed before squats, but this order can be reversed for lifters who need to emphasize squat strength over pulling strength.
The clean deadlift can be performed on a riser, from blocks, with flat feet at the top, with slow eccentrics (3-6 seconds typically), with one or more pauses on the way up, from various hang or block heights, with slow concentrics in the lower range to emphasize control over posture and balance, with a static or dynamic start, with or without straps, and many other possibilities.