How To Squat Clean | Techniques


By Myprotein Writer

Sean Mcloughlin

Spending time improving your technique in Olympic weightlifting is a great way to improve your WOD times and your overall strength.

In this article we’re going to take a look at the Clean and how to improve your technique.

How To | The Squat Clean

You’re going to need a firm base to stand on, gyms always have good stable floors to absorb a lot of impact but most good commercial gyms now have lifting platforms so grab one quick. Make sure your barbell is straight and also the ends are secure and spin freely.

Stand with your feet under the bar, line the bottom lace of your shoe up with the barbell. Make sure your feet are under your hips as this is the strongest position to deliver power upwards. Take a hookgrip of the bar a thumb length outside of your legs.

Hookgrip? Sounds like a pirate weightlifter but it’s actually a secure lock on the bar that’s going to give you confidence that you’re not going to lose the bar on the way up.

Place your palm over the barbell as you normally would, wrap your thumb under the bar then wrap your fingers over the bar and also over as many fingers as you can over the thumb. This is going to feel uncomfortable at first but you’re going to love it after a while.

the barbell squat clean

Keeping your chest up ahead looking in front of you and shoulders over the bar.

Keeping the knuckles turned downwards is a great tip for keeping the bar close.

Leading with your chest begin to extend your legs, make sure you keep shoulders over the bar, once the bar passes your knee start to pull your shoulder backwards and thrust your hips forward. The bar should make contact around mid to upper thigh and this gives the upward momentum needed.

Continue to extend upwards up onto your toes and shrug the bar.

the clean shrug

Once the bar is travelling upwards it a case of dropping and pulling under the bar, keeping your elbows high and upper torso strong.

Moving your feet out slightly helps close the distance and should be a more comfortable and stable squat position.

squat clean

Don’t celebrate your achievement too early, once you’re stable it’s time to stand that weight up so you need to keep that strong torso we set up. Breathe out slowly on the way up and keep those elbows high to force the chest up and stabilising the bar.

Drop the bar safely and high five your bro who filmed your first clean!

Other variances you’re going to see coming up in CrossFit are power cleans and hang cleans, these are the same movement with different portions taken out.

The power clean does not allow you to catch the bar with your hips below parallel with the top of your knee, so you need to move the bar higher, and yourself faster under the bar without dropping into a full squat.

The hang clean starts from the hang position which is identical to the top of your deadlift position, from there you are going to run the bar down your thighs to the top of your knee and begin the clean from that position, this is eliminating the first pull from the floor to your knee.

Once you stand the weight up you will need to begin the next repetition from the hang position again so work on dropping the bar to your hips with just the bar or some pvc pipe first.

Sean’s Top Tips!

Line the bar up with the bottom lace of your shoe

Hookgrip on the bar

Shoulders over the bar

Extend all the way onto your toes

Remember to shrug!

Elbows high in the catch

Breathe out when you stand up.

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