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The power clean is one of the most feared and underused methods of gaining strength and mass in the gym. That’s because it’s very nature – fast and furious – tend to make for an energy-sapping, if not humbling, day at the gym.
Strength and speed are the foundation of power development, but acceleration is one of the most important aspects in all of sport. The ability to get an object or your body moving depends on the rate at which force is applied. That is, the faster you apply a force to an object, the faster it accelerates. Training for explosive power using weights helps improve rapid force development, which has great implications for performance carryover to most sports.
For bodybuilders and strength athletes the power clean will help increase overall poundage on most lifts by training the neurological system to recruit fibers more rapidly. But rather than look at this exercise as a strength or mass builder, it should be considered an explosive hip power movement.
This hip dominant exercise, when performed properly, can be quite beneficial for increasing power and speed through the hips and knees making weights feel lighter when reverting back to squats, leg presses and leg extensions. However, when performed incorrectly – as is sometimes the case – it yields little benefit and exposes you to a litany of injuries. So technique is paramount in preserving this lift’s worth.
MAKING IT WORK
Keep your reps low (no more then 6) and don’t be afraid to reposition between reps. Perform this exercise first in your plyometric workout or leg routine for three sets taking a solid 2-3 minutes rest between sets. Use the following routine to build power cleans into a strength/power day.
Exercise Sets/Reps Power clean 5/5 Push press 5/5 Squat 5/5 Barbell step-up 5/5 Barbell lunge 5/5 Leg curl 5/5
–Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
David Sandler, MS, CSCS is the director of StrengthPro, Inc., a Las Vegas-based sports-performance consulting group. For more info, visit www.strengthpro.com.