Power Cleans and 5/3/1

First of all, power cleans aren’t that hard to learn. It seems like everyone believes they’re as complicated and  difficult to do as organic chemistry. If that were the case, people    who stock shelves at Home Depot and Lowe’s would be the most    amazing athletes ever. Picking something up and racking it across the shoulders is a natural movement, so don’t let these experts ruin a fun exercise. To those that say “I don’t think I can learn the Power Clean and want to do something else.”  My official response is this: Expect more of yourself.  What happens when adversity happens in your life or you are confronted with a challenge?  Apparently you fucking wilt and cower because you don’t even have the balls/confidence to pick up a barbell and put it on your shoulders.  So change your attitude and expect to be great, expect to do well.  Too many “men” tiptoe when they should be kicking with steel toed boots.

Now if you’re going to be a competitive Olympic lifter it might be different, but you don’t need to hire a quarterback coach in order to throw a football around with your friends, do    you?

These aren’t going to hurt your squat or deadlift in the least bit; for some this might actually increase their deadlift due to the extra upper back work. I usually have people do these as the first exercise of the day, right before they squat or  deadlift.

Most of the time people get a good boost to their second  exercise due to the explosive nature of the power clean. For sets    and reps, I highly recommend people use my 5/3/1 set up; it’s  easy to follow and you might actually get stronger.

Here are some easy ways to teach yourself how to power  clean:

1. First, be sure you can walk and chew Red Man at the same  time.

2. Please be able to show me you have some kind of muscle development and coordination and can do pushups, sit-ups, dips, and    lunges (without falling).

3. Pick the bar up with good form (i.e. deadlift).

4. Once the bar passes the knees, jump like you mean it.

5. Rack the barbell across shoulders and stand up.

6. Put the bar back down again.

7. Don’t be a fucking pussy with this exercise or wimp it up.


5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training Program for Building Raw Strength


  • Comment by Tony — September 9, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    Rule #7 is the best….applies to everything

  • Comment by dwoodske — September 9, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Ha ha, so true.

  • Comment by Bob — September 9, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

    when doing power cleans, i cant get the bar racked across my shoulders due to lack of flexibility from 3 previous surgeries. and yes i have been stretching like its my job. The best i can do is catch it in a military press position which has strained my shoulder and lower back from catching too far in front. what would you suggest as an alternative? hang snatch? high-pulls or lube the vag up and force it to happen.

  • Comment by Jim Wendler — September 9, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

    I suggest you do the Power Clean – that’s how I have to catch it and it’s fine. Strong is strong and I don’t make excuses.

  • Comment by Tully — September 10, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    The ‘Don’t listen to what every single person in the universe has to say about power-cleans, and don’t be a pussy’ are the two best pieces of advice I have gotten on these. Once I decided to just say ‘Fuck it, jump and rack the fucking bar’, stuff started to go much more smoothly than thinking of all kinds of bullshit. Especially not worrying about the bar dropping, or thinking I had to hold onto it, just jump and put it up there. Blah blah blah, nothing new. It’s the same as surfing, snowboarding or skating: you have to commit to every wave, kicker, or ledge or your just gonna end up on your ass.

  • Comment by Adriaan — September 12, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    If i have never done power cleans, with which weight should i start?

  • Comment by Brian — December 29, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    It is a bad idea to include power cleas as an accessory excercise on squat day?

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