Barbell Power Clean


Form Friday: Barbell Power Clean

by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercises: Barbell Power Clean
Muscle Groups:  Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes, Quads, Traps, Shoulders
Importance:  This explosive Olympic lift helps develop power and force production through hip, knee, and shoulder extension. And not only is this movement a total body exercise that will improve muscular strength and coordination but it will also burn body fat due to the compound nature of the exercise. This specific movement requires perfect technique to successfully perform so follow the step by step instructions listed below to ensure your form is on point.

Proper Form:

  1. Begin by standing over a loaded barbell positioned on the floor with your feet about hip width distance apart and the balls of your feet beneath the bar
  2. Squat down and grab the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width
  3. Position your shoulders over the bar and keep your arms straight
  4. Begin to pull the bar off the floor, keep your lats engaged, by extending at the knees and beginning to extend at the hips
  5. Once the bar passes your knees, begin to raise your shoulders up and further engage your lats to keep the bar close to your thigh
  6. As the bar passes mid-thigh, extend fully through your hips and ankles as you pull the bar into your body so that the bar makes contact with your thighs as you start to make a quick and powerful “jump”
  7. Shrug your shoulders and pull the barbell upward while your elbows flex out to the sides and the bar remains close to your body
  8. Pull yourself underneath the bar while rotating the elbows underneath the bar and driving them upward
  9. Catch the bar on your shoulders with your chest up, slight bend at the knees; be sure your thighs do not go below parallel to the floor
  10. Drive up through the bottom of your feet until you are standing tall with the bar in the front rack position
  11. Bend your knees slightly and lower the bar to your thighs and then to the floor in a controlled manner

Progression/Regression: Barbell Shrugs or High Pulls, Front Squats, Barbell Squat Clean, Barbell Hang Power Clean


  • Use your hips but do not punch the bar away from your body, instead “scoop” the bar to keep it close
  • Drive your elbows up and keep your chest tall when you catch the bar

Sample Workout: 5 Rounds of 15 Power Cleans, 10 Front Squats, 5 Push Presses