When you hear the term ‘power clean’ what does it make you think of, laundry? You’d really hope not as this is a fitness article. No, the term power clean refers to a classic exercise that more than likely you aren’t doing; even though you probably should be.
The power clean falls into a group of great, heavy-iron exercises that really make the body grow along with working on agility and balance. Along with great exercises like the deadlift and squat, the power clean is a wonderful exercise because it incorporates so many muscle groups at once. While that is one reason why you don’t see it in a lot of routines these days, it is also the exact reason why it should be included.
The Death of the Clean
One reason why exercises like cleans have gone out of fashion is because of bodybuilding and the multi-day split routine. It used to be when people wanted to add muscle size they would go on a heavy routine focused similar to a power lifter. Guys like Arnold, Sergio, and Reg Park were well known for lifting a lot of heavy weight in the offseason.
For the past decade or more most of the fitness information on the market focuses more on split routines with people working back one day, chest the next, then legs, etc. An exercise like the clean, that works muscles across multiple groups, has no place in that world. Squats still get attached to leg day and deadlifts go with legs or back, but for the most part cleans and jerks were moved to the shelf.
Benefits of the Power Clean
So why should you use cleans? Really why shouldn’t you! Let’s review the benefits of this exercise and then see how you can incorporate it into your routine.
- Overall Muscle Development – This exercise hits the shoulders, the legs, the hips, your core, the traps, and the back. Also, when you do exercises that incorporate so many muscles at one time it can spike extra growth hormone release as your body attempts to get stronger from the stress.
- Explosive Power – People that are involved in athletics often talk about explosive power. This is generated from teaching the body to move weight rapidly, yet still in control, in a way that exercises the muscle fibers responsible for these types of actions.
- Burn Baby Burn – Burning calories and excess body fat is a big goal for a lot of people. Because of the toll on the entire body, power cleans can really ramp up your metabolism for hours after the workout is over allowing an increase in calories burned.
- Grip Strength -Tossing around heavy weight in this manner forces your grip strength to increase.
- Coordination – The range of movement, balance requirements, and explosive aspect help train your body to become more coordination. This can pay off in a lot of different ways down the road.
How do you Include It?
People get far too caught up in traditional methods of training that involved fixed schedules. The body grows when you work it hard. Confusion is a wonderful thing as it forces adaptation. So adding this exercise into a workout routine is actually much easier than you think.
The easiest way is to simply insert a special workout day into your routine every so often. Let’s say you use a three-on and two-off schedule. After those two off days do one day of the following workout:
- High Rep Squats – 5 sets of 20 repetitions
- Power Clean – 5 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions
- Pullups – 5 sets of 10 repetitions
- Dips (bodyweight) – 5 sets of 10 repetitions
- Kettlebell Snatch – 5 sets of 15 repetitions.
Then take two more days off and jump back into your normal routine. Not only does that break up the schedule a bit, but it also gives you a different, yet very effective workout that works strength, endurance, explosive power, and coordination. Heck you might like it so much that you want to use it every week.