Clean Long Pull
AKA Muscle clean
The clean long pull is a variation of the muscle clean that further emphasizes upper body strength.
The clean long pull is simply a muscle clean in which the bar is not allowed to make contact with the body on the way up and no hook grip is used. This limits the contribution of the legs and hips to the elevation of the bar and forces the upper body to do more of the work. Start with the bar on the floor in the clean starting position, making sure your elbows are oriented to the sides (arms internally rotated). Lift the bar as you would for a clean until reaching the top of the upward extension of the body, but letting the bar stay just in front of the body and not touching at any time. At this point, rather than repositioning your feet and pulling yourself into a squat under the barbell as you would in the clean, keep the knees straight and the body extended and pull the elbows up as high as possible, keeping the bar in immediate proximity to the body. The elbows should move out to the sides as they move up (if the arms are properly internally rotated during the lift). Once the elbows reach maximal height, turn the arms over to bring the bar the rest of the way up and back into the proper clean rack position, being sure to bring it back into the shoulders instead of leaning the chest forward to meet the bar. The legs must remain straight once extended in the pull. Maintain constant tension against the bar throughout the movement, and make sure the bar is moving continuously—there should be no pausing or hesitation during the lift.
The elbows should never drop from their elevated position during the turnover. It’s helpful to think of the movement as a clean high-pull (but without letting the bar touch the body) with an added turnover of the bar afterward. This will help reinforce the idea of lifting the elbows high and to the sides before the turnover.
The clean long pull is helpful at lighter weights to learn and reinforce the proper upper body mechanics of the turnover (third pull) of the clean. At more challenging weights, the clean long pull will help strengthen the turnover of the clean.
The clean long pull can be performed early in a training session as a technique primer, or as a training exercise. It can also be performed at the end of a training session as accessory work. Use 3-5 reps per set generally, although the clean long pull can also be done for heavy singles and doubles.
The clean long pull can be performed as muscle clean by allowing the bar to contact the body at the hips as it does in the clean. The clean long pull can also be performed from the hang or from blocks. Straps or the hook grip can be used if desired, but doing the lift without straps and especially without the hook grip will help with grip strength and help the transition between the pulling and rack grips.