Power Clean technique


New Member
Is it a good idea to try to teach myself power cleans? I am reading rippetoe's starting strength which gives an awesome analysis of the technique, but I have also heard it said that olympic lifts need to be taught by a coach who can critique and correct your technique.
Anyone have an opinion on this? Or recommendations for reading or viewing?
I don't see a problem trying to learn the technique yourself if you aren't intending to do more than use it as an exercise. However, if you are thinking of competing at some point or of moving on to develop the lift further (squat cleans etc.) then I would recommend getting some good coaching right from the start. We all know how hard it is to relearn something and break bad habits.

I have taught myself to do power cleans and I really like them as an exercise but I'm sure I have a long way to go before I get a good and consistent technique for all my reps. It's always possible to make a vid of your action and then watch it over so you can see exactly where you need to improve the lift. Rippetoe's SS has some great tips to help too.

One thing to watch with power cleans, especially if you are lifting near your max loads, is that it is very easy to pull a muscle without a really thorough warm-up (probably less likely if you are young and flexible - I am neither!). You will also need to learn to use a hook grip which takes a while to get used to and will give your thumbs at least a bit of discomfort until they toughen up. Wrist pain might be another bother depending on your flexibility. These things will improve with time but my suggestion is to build up the loads gradually and allow your body to build up a resistance to them rather than going all out too soon, which is what I did and I then suffered the consequences – I had to stop power cleans and let my wrists and forearms heal up.

If you have access to bumper plates and can drop the bar between lifts so much the better. Lowering a 100kg clean back down on to your thighs is not a whole lot of fun if you get the timing wrong.

Watch YouTube vids of all the top Oly lifters; check out training vids and competition lifts.
thanks for the tips. I have no aspirations to compete. I actually have an injury prone back, so I am re-teaching myself squats and deadlifts, doing a 5x5 program with very light weights for these lifts.
The idea is to train using lifts that strengthen my back and teach it to function in whole-body movements, so I thought power cleans might be cool. If my plan works and I remain injury-free in a few months I think I will give them a try.
I do the power clean for HIIT/Tabata a few times a week. I did hang cleans yesterday and had to jump to do it properly. I think I'll have to incorporate the jump in the power clean eventually when I begin adding weight to the bar. I also do a high speed deadlift with shrug-on-tiptoe so that teaches me the first part of the power clean but with much more weight. I can't jump there.

The power clean is several motions done in sequence and I think you can teach yourself each of them or perhaps two of them separately at first like hang clean before you graduate to the complete power clean. As with any new exercise, start with a light weight and graduate to heavier weight as your technique and strength improves.

I found that stretching the hamstrings and the calves help in every exercise I do including the power clean.

-edit- Just looked at my favorites on youtube and user Madaozeki put up some serious various-clean videos. Check them out. -edit-