What is a clean and press?

Clean and pressing is one of the best movements in the gym for working multiple styles of training at once. Clean and pressing can be loaded heavier and used as a power movement for less reps, or it can be lighter and used for cardio and muscular endurance. The clean and press boasts benefits that other exercises cannot. Speed, strength, power, and general fitness, it betters them all.

How to do a clean and press?

  1. Get yourself into a conventional deadlift position, with your back straight, laces below the bar and core engaged.
  2. Powerfully deadlift the bar off the floor, using triple extension to get as much power behind the move as possible. As the bar reaches your hips, shrug the weight, push your elbows forward and slightly drop your body to facilitate the bar landing into your shoulders, before standing up straight.
  3. Once stood straight, take a deep breath, slightly bend your knees, then explode the weight up through your heels and drive your arms above your head, locking the elbows out at the top.
  4. Lower safely but swiftly to conserve as much energy as possible, pushing your bum backwards to avoid overextension of the spine.
  5. Repeat for 1-5 reps if focusing on power and strength, 5+ if you’re using this movement as weighted cardio for general fitness.

What muscles do a clean and press work?

The clean and press is a total body workout. It engages more than 8 muscle groups, including: glutes, hamstrings, hip stabilisers, shoulders, traps, chest, lower and mid back muscles, and arms. Meanwhile, the entire movement works the core to maintain posture.

Why would I do a clean and press?

Clean and pressing, plus many other power movements are commonly used by athletes who need power within their sport, for example a sprinter needs power to begin their sprint effectively.

However, you do not need to be an athlete to use these movements to. General gym goers can use clean and presses to improve their overall power (which will benefit other lifts), push their anaerobic levels (burning more calories) and therefore improving their cardio!

Common mistakes with clean and press:

  • Pushing hips forward and overextending spine
  • Using elbows to pull weight to shoulders, instead of shrugging.
  • Not using triple extension to generate power.
  • Back rounding in deadlift position.
  • Not locking elbows at top of movement.
  • Lowering the weight from the top too slowly, causing shoulders to tire quicker and effect intention of training.

To learn how to do a clean and press you can book in for a consultation with one of the team to take you through it step by step!