Exercise Library

Clean Pull



AKA Clean extension
 
The clean pull is the most common clean-related strength exercise.  
 
 
Execution
 
Set your clean starting position tightly and initiate the lift by pushing with the legs against the floor. Shift your weight back slightly more toward the heels as the bar separates from the floor, and maintain approximately the same back angle until the bar is at mid-thigh. At mid- to upper-thigh, your shoulders should be at least slightly in front of the bar. Accelerate the bar aggressively with violent leg and hip extension, keeping the bar close to the body and allowing it to contact at the upper thighs. The movement should be directed vertically with a focus on extending the body upward, although to maintain balance, it will be leaned back slightly. The arms are not engaged in the movement, but remain relaxed in extension. The shoulders should be shrugged up somewhat after the completion of leg and hip extension to continue the bar’s upward path and allow it to stay against the body. The aggressiveness of the push against the ground should result in the lifter’s heels rising off the floor as the extension is completed.
 
 
Purpose
 
The clean pull is a basic and important exercise for training the extension of the clean in terms of strength, speed, power, posture and balance. Lifters will be able to manage heavier weights than in the clean, which allows the development of strength to push weights in the clean. The clean pull 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.
 
 
Programming
 
Generally the clean pull should be done for 2-5 reps per set anywhere from 80%-110% of the lifter’s best clean depending on the lifter and how it fits into the program. In any case, the weight should not exceed what the lifter can do with reasonably proper positioning and speed in the final extension. As a strength exercise, it should be placed toward the end of a workout, but because it also involves some speed and technique, it’s generally best place before more basic strength work like squats. With lighter weights, it can be used before cleans as a technique primer.
 
 
Variations
 
The clean pull can be performed standing on a riser, from the hang, from blocks, with either a static start or dynamic start, with or without straps, with pauses on the way up, maintaining flat feet, and with prescribed concentric and/or eccentric speeds. Slower eccentric speeds in particular will increase the strengthening of pulling posture and back arch strength.






4 Comments
Tim 2018-09-21
How do you feel about programming pulls alongside a squat cycle?

Eg. Doing high volume/lower weight clean/snatch pulls during high volume sections of the squat cycle, low volume/higher weight pulls during low volume sections of the cycle
No reason you can do pulls and squats in a training cycle - that's done in nearly every weightlifting program ever. The more you're emphasizing squats, i.e. the more volume, intensity and/or frequency you're using, the less of those things you'll be able to handle with pulls.

Greg Everett
Tim 2018-09-22
I think I worded my last comment badly. Would it be useful to me to do, say, 10 rep clean pull sets during weeks when I would also be doing 10 rep squat sets at the beginning of a cycle, or would doing higher rep pulls be a waste of my time?
I wouldn't do 10s. 5-6 maybe, but again, if you're really trying to push the squat, you'll want to ease off the pulls to some extent. Doesn't mean they have to be easy, but it does mean you can't push them as hard as the squats.

Greg Everett
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