If you asked me when I first started training that you would see Olympic lifts in commercial gyms I would have said you were crazy! In fact, when I would actually teach my clients some of the Olympic lifts like high pulls, power cleans, and even power snatches, other trainers (I started in the commercial gym like so many others) would actually follow my clients to their cars and the bathroom to tell them I would hurt them #truestory.
I believe kettlebells changed a lot of that as they removed a lot of the perceived complexity of the Olympic lifts, especially drills like the power clean. That allowed us as coaches to bring important power training to our clients that needed it! Whether it was to improve bone density, insulin sensitivity, build greater functional strength, and so much more, power training is a big part of developing not just performance, but health.
Sadly though, people have begun to think that if something is accessible then it can be all that good! Of course that AND combined with the fact that tools like Ultimate Sandbags and kettlebells have lower loads than the barbell. That is a trap though as the leverage and the instability of these tools make lighter loads MUCH more difficult than that of the barbell.
While I could make a strong case that the power clean of the Ultimate Sandbag is superior to the barbell version because we have to pull a longer distance (needing to create more power and for longer), the dimensional component adding greater challenge and instability, would be enough, there are two concepts that I think make such training even more powerful.
Probably THE most common mistake in our DVRT power clean is what happens when it comes to bringing a weight down. You see a lot of people catch the weight with their arms. Not only does this put excessive stress in the elbows, shoulders, and even back, it is also a missed opportunity to build great strength!
DVRT Master, Greg Perlaki, shows the MOST common mistake in our DVRT power clean.
That is because for us, the power clean is both up AND down. The deceleration strength that we build during such a movement is so powerful in developing strength and injury resilience. I’ve had renowned strength coach, Robert Dos Remedios, on our blog mention that most injuries occur due to lack of deceleration strength more than anything else!
That means not only do we risk creating issues in our body, we also lose a great opportunity to build a highly underrated quality in our power clean. Once you realize how important this part of our power clean is, you also realize that it makes our movement progressions THAT much more challenging.
Yes, we actually want to develop power more than up and down! Why? Hopefully it is obvious because we move in complex ways in real life! We don’t want to do it randomly as DVRT Japan Master, Taizo Omuro, shows our power clean matrix. The order he performs is how we would teach individual component. What is very complex he makes look simple which is what strength skill is all about. Also, notice how he catches every rep with his hip and NOT his arms!
Only AFTER mastering those patterns do we introduce more advanced concepts like our power clean coming into rotation and from positions like our MAX lunge!
Greg shows how we start going inside out before we go outside in!
The most important part of course is how we build progression. Sometimes people see these power clean variations as “cool” however if you don’t think you can use them then what good are they to have available? That’s why I broke down these ways to help build success in these power clean variations.
Hopefully this allows you to see how not just power training, but proper performance and progression of our DVRT power cleans are important in developing all around fitness.
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