Power Clean Your Deadlift Warmups

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Power Clean Your Deadlift Warmups

by Mark Rippetoe | October 31, 2023

The power clean is an important exercise in the Starting Strength
method, and it’s the one that gets left out most of the time. This is
because 1.) you are afraid to do something you regard as unfamiliar
or difficult, 2.) you don’t want to have to learn something new, and
3.) you just don’t think it is important. This also applies to your
coach, if he doesn’t have you doing the power clean.

The power clean is
important to the program, if you are not too old or too injured to
perform it safely. Old people lose connective tissue integrity,
making explosive exercises potentially dangerous, and injured people
already understand this. But if you’re a healthy 30-year-old guy and
you’re avoiding power cleans for one of the aforementioned reasons
(or if you’re a “coach” that refuses to learn your job), you’re
fucking up. You need to clean, for all the reasons discussed in the
book.

Let me make a
suggestion that might make this more palatable: do your power cleans
as warmups for your deadlifts. If you’re a novice, they need to be
kept separate for a while so that the mechanical differences in the
floor pulls of the two can be learned correctly. But after a couple
of months – after your deadlifts are up over 315 – you can start
cleaning up to 205 just to get them done. Start with the empty bar,
then 135 x 3 x 2, then 165 x 3, 185 x 3, and 205 x 3. Then deadlift
225 and on up. Once you get used to this, you can put them in as a
light day pull by themselves, after the fear has subsided.

I got this idea from my
old buddy George Hechter, who used to clean up to 495 before his
first set of deadlifts at 585. “Saves time,” he said, because he
knew he needed to do his cleans. Power cleans are the very best
light-day pulling exercise, and you need to do yours too. So stop
making excuses and start doing them now. Sure, they will be wrong at
first, but everything else is too, and you need to get in the habit
of solving problems instead of avoiding them.  





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