If you step inside any high school or college weightroom, chances are you’ll see athletes performing one particular exercise: power cleans.
The power clean is a favorite with athletes and coaches simply because of the power it requires and develops (hence, the name). It involves rapidly lifting a barbell off of the ground, using the legs, and catching it on the front of one’s shoulders.
Power is one of the attributes needed to be successful as an athlete. It allows you to sprint, cut, swing, throw, etc.
So, logically, power cleans would be great for athletes, right?
It’s an exercise that a majority of athletes have no business doing.
- Power cleans have a huge learning curve. This movement is derived from a sport of its own, Olympic weightlifting, that takes years to become proficient in. It can take many months for an athlete to learn how to power clean properly, before even increasing weight – meaning, no power is developed the entire time.
- Power cleans require mobility that many athletes lack. During the final portion of this exercise, the catch, the barbell lands in a way that requires great flexibility (which most athletes lack) in the wrists, shoulders, and upper-back. Performing this movement without the right flexibility can cause injury.
- Power cleans develop power in one direction, while sports are multi-directional. Athletes need to be powerful in multiple directions. The power clean only covers one direction. Enough time needs to be spent working in those others directions to ensure an athlete is well-prepared for his or her sport.
There are many other exercises available to athletes that:
- Develop power
- Take much less time to learn
- Require less mobility/flexibility
- And work multiple directions.
Some examples include:
- Sprints, shuffles, and cuts
- Jumps (broad, single-legged, diagonal)
- Medicine ball slams, rotational throws, rotational slams, and scoop tosses
- Deadlifts, squats, and kettlebell swings
- Lunges (walking, reverse, and lateral)
An athlete focusing on these exercises will improve his or her speed, power, and athleticism much more so than someone focusing on power cleans.
For all of these reasons, the Athlete’s Strength Program at GameChanger focuses on these essential, effective exercises.
Our program is designed to get athletes better and faster in the safest and most effective manner.
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