Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting

Maximal Recovery Speed For Bigger Cleans

Cleaning as much weight as possible requires using every advantage available to recover from the lift. A technically adept lifter with reasonable explosiveness can clean 95% or more of his or her best front squat.

There are 5 parts to optimal clean recoveries:

First, you need to rack the bar before you reach the bottom of the squat. The sooner and higher you rack the bar, the more secure it will be and the more loaded eccentric motion you have to feed into elastic rebound out of the bottom.

Second, your trunk must be as rigid as possible, supported by pressurization and aggressive muscular tension. This keeps the rack position secure and maximizes the elastic reaction of the barbell and the legs by limiting the trunk’s absorption of force during the abrupt stop in the bottom.

Third, you need to sit into a full depth squat—this allows for the most abrupt stop in the bottom. Stopping short reduces the potential of the stretch-shortening reflex by slowing the braking of the downward force.

Fourth, your receiving position needs to be balanced. An imbalance in the squat position will force adjustment in the squat before recovery, meaning the effect of the elastic bounce out is lost.

Finally, you need to immediately drive out of the squat with as much aggression as possible, trying to accelerate up all the way to the top. This allows you to take advantage of that elasticity and generate more speed to carry you through the sticking point of the squat with less effort and fatigue.

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