The classic power clean hits four major muscle groups in one go. Check your form, then use the challenging change-ups to build more lean size and avoid injury
By Ray KlerckTHE LOW-DOWN
Make like a swimmer about to dive off a starter’s block and grab a loaded barbell with an overhand grip. Keep your arms fully extended to make your upper back muscles pull the weight. TIP Puff your chest out (as if you needed encouragement) by pulling your shoulderblades back as far as you can. When this move is over, you’ll stand taller by improving your posture.ON THE PULL
Each rep is made of two pulls. The first is slow and draws power from your lower back and hamstrings. The second is more explosive, so use your hips and shoulders to yank the barbell to the top of your chest.TIP Just like waking up in the morning, your hips shouldn’t rise before your shoulders or you’ll overstretch your hamstrings.HIGH AND MIGHTY
Now is the time to stand tall. When the bar is in line with your thighs, get ready to rise up onto your toes and lean back slightly to channel the upwards energy (built up by your legs and back) into heaving the bar up. The end result: more speed on the field and court. TIP The bar isn’t a philandering girlfriend – don’t keep an eye on it. This is an explosive exercise, so focus on keeping your chin up.THE FINAL PUSH
When the bar is just below your chin, bend your legs to dip underneath it and rotate your elbows so your palms are facing away from you. Reverse the move to the start. You just worked all your major muscle groups with a single move. Now do it again.TIP Flatten your feet to the floor before you’ve dipped into a quarter squat and you’ll be able to push upwards with more force and power.
Extra muscles worked: traps, upper backStart with the bar hanging from your arms at knee level rather than from the floor, and then perform the rep as above. Do four sets of 12 reps at the tail end of your back workout for traps like the pyramids.
Extra muscles worked: quads, glutes, absPull the bar up from the floor and, once it is resting on the tops of your shoulders, dip into a squat. Do 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps using a light weight at the start of your leg workout. You’ll develop strong legs and carve out your abs.
Extra muscles worked: quadsGet in a lunge – left foot 10-15 centimetres in front of your right foot – then do the reps with the same form as a power clean. Perform 3-4 sets of seven reps on each leg at the start of your leg workout. This develops power and balance in your legs.