Barbell Clean And Press: How To & Benefits

Written by Daniel Mesa
Last Updated On

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barbell clean and press

Why choose between being fast and being strong when you can be both? Imagine combining the explosive energy of weightlifting and the raw power of an overhead press into a single, powerful action. Welcome to the world of the Barbell Clean and Press, which is a combination of two exercises that will take your training to new heights. This complete guide is your key to enhancing your strength, boosting your muscle growth, and elevating your fitness game both in the gym and beyond.

Get ready for a life-changing trip as we go deep into the world of the Barbell Clean and Press. Find out how this exercise works, the right way to do it, variations, training tips, and how it can help you get stronger, bigger, and more powerful whether you’re in the weight room or on the field. Your search for the best combination of power and strength starts here.

How To Do Barbell Clean And Press

To master the Barbell Clean and Press, you need to be precise, strong, and have good form. Follow these steps to get the most out of the exercise:

Set Up

Begin with the barbell on the floor in front of you, positioning your feet shoulder-width apart.

Grip

Bend at the hips and knees to grip the barbell with an overhand grip, ensuring your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Lift Off

Initiate a powerful hip hinge movement as you lift the barbell off the ground. Generate explosive force from your hips and legs to elevate the barbell.

Transition

As the barbell reaches the hip level, transition smoothly by guiding it to your shoulders using your upper body. Catch the barbell in a racked position.

Press

From the racked position, press the barbell overhead by extending your arms fully.

Lower the Barbell

Lower the barbell back to your shoulders in a controlled manner, maintaining stability and control.

Return

Finally, lower the barbell back down to the floor with control, preparing for the next repetition.

Repeat

Repeat the entire movement sequence for the desired number of repetitions.

Our Tips For The Barbell Clean And Press

Tip 1: Power from the Hips

To get the most out of the Barbell Clean and Press, use your strong hip and leg muscles to direct the force. By starting the lift with your legs, you put less stress on your upper body and make the exercise smoother and more effective.

Tip 2: Rack Position Control

It takes skill to move from the clean position to the front rack position. Practicing this feature regularly helps you stay stable and in control. Move the barbell smoothly to your shoulders, and make sure it rests safely there so you can move on to the press phase with confidence.

Tip 3: Fluidity and Timing

It is very important to have a smooth shift between the clean and the press. Focusing on how this move flows and learning how to do it at the right time improves both power and skill. The better you can use your strengths, the more the order fits together and sounds good.

Common Clean And Press Mistakes To Avoid

Mistake 1: Using Arms Only 

One of the most common errors is relying solely on arm strength to perform the lift. This disregards the strength of your pelvis and legs, resulting in ineffective movement. To correct this, initiate the movement with your lower body and allow your upper body to follow.

Mistake 2: Neglecting Front Rack Position

Neglecting the importance of a secure front rack position can cause discomfort in the forearms and compromise your form. Properly situating the barbell on your shoulders establishes a stable foundation for the subsequent press. Respecting this aspect maximizes both comfort and command.

Mistake 3: Jerking the Bar

It is important to stay in charge throughout the workout. Your form and skill can be hurt by sudden, jerking movements that come from trying to do the move quickly. Focusing on controlled movements not only keeps you from getting hurt, but also makes the clean and press work better.

Muscles Worked By Barbell Clean Press

how to the barbell clean and press

Quadriceps

During the clean, when you quickly pull the barbell off the ground, your quadriceps are working hard. These muscles in the front of your thighs are very important for bending your knees and getting power from your legs.

Hamstrings

When you lift the barbell by bending your hip, your hamstrings are actively stretched and then tightened to help extend your hip. This group of muscles at the back of your legs helps you get the quick force you need for the first lift.

Glutes

During the clean phase, the hip flexion is made possible by the gluteal muscles, especially the gluteus maximus. They work with your legs to give your hips a strong push and move them forward.

Lower Back (Erector Spinae)

During the lift, your lower back is stabilized by the erector spinae muscles, which run along your spine. They keep the spine from bending and extending too much and help keep it strong and straight.

Shoulders (Deltoid Muscles)

Your deltoid muscles come into play when you switch from the clean to the press. They help you lift the barbell over your head and keep your shoulders stable while you do it.

Core (Abdominals and Side Biceps)

Your core muscles (abdominals and side biceps) are very important for keeping your stability and balance throughout the whole workout. They keep your lower back from rising too much and keep your body in the right position.

Barbell Clean And Press Benefits

Benefit 1: Full-Body Power

The Barbell Clean and Press is a powerful workout that gives your whole body a burst of explosive strength. When you move the barbell from the ground to your shoulders and then up over your head, many different muscle groups work at the same time. This whole-person involvement makes the whole body stronger and more athletic. Because the movement is so fast, your muscles have to create force quickly. This helps you build the kind of explosive strength you need for sports, functional tasks, and even daily tasks. 

Whether you’re an athlete trying to improve your performance or a regular person looking to improve your general physical abilities, the Barbell Clean and Press is sure to make a big difference in your strength journey.

Benefit 2: Enhanced Muscle Coordination

The Barbell Clean and Press doesn’t just test your strength; it also tests your balance and motor skills. To go from the clean, in which you lift the barbell to your shoulders, to the press, in which you lift it above your head, requires perfect coordination of your movements. When your lower and upper body work together in the right way and at the right time, your general muscle coordination improves. 

Coordination doesn’t just help you in the gym; it also helps you move more efficiently in everyday life. The Barbell Clean and Press can help you move with grace and confidence, whether you’re lifting big things, playing sports, or getting around obstacles.

Benefit 3: Functional Strength

The Barbell Clean and Press is different from other exercises because it helps you build power that you can use in real life. As you get better at this compound movement, you’ll build the kind of power you need for sports and everyday life. The functional strength you build by doing the Barbell Clean and Press has a direct effect on your daily life, whether you’re lifting big grocery bags, moving furniture, or doing fun things. 

This practice strengthens the muscle groups you use for different movements, making you better able to handle physical challenges easily. By focusing on functional strength, you’re not only changing your body, but you’re also giving yourself the strength you need to do everyday jobs with ease and confidence.

Alternatives To The Clean And Press

Exercise Option 1: Dumbbell Clean and Press

When you want to focus on developing unilateral strength and coordination, the Dumbbell Clean and Press is a great alternative to the barbell version. Dumbbell clean and presses help you even out any muscle weakness on one side of your body. 

As you press the dumbbells upward, you’ll be working your core and stabilizing muscles to great effect. The coordinated effort necessary to move each arm effectively improves your muscular control and equilibrium, resulting in a more well-rounded body.

Exercise Option 2: Push Press

If you want to improve your overhead strength, the Push Press is a great alternative because it isolates the pushing motion. Leg drive allows you to press more weight overhead than you could with a traditional press. To perform this lift, bend your knees slightly and generate a powerful upward drive with your legs. Then, utilizing your upper body, press the weight overhead with force. 

The Push Press is an excellent workout for building upper body strength since it is a dynamic movement that involves the legs, core, and shoulders.

Exercise Option 3: Kettlebell Swing to Press

The Kettlebell Swing to Press is a fantastic option for those seeking a dynamic full-body exercise. The explosive strength of the kettlebell swing is combined with the difficulty of the overhead press in this exercise. If you swing a kettlebell between your legs, you’ll build up momentum that can be used to help you press the weight overhead. 

Coordination, balance, and power are all called for in this workout, which targets the hips, core, shoulders, and upper back. The Kettlebell Swing to Press is an effective and efficient approach to work several muscle groups at once and improve both cardio capacity and strength.

Bottom Line On The BB Clean And Press

If you want to improve your strength, power, and athleticism, you should add the Barbell Clean and Press to your program. By learning to clean and press with perfect form, you may improve your functional strength and muscular coordination. Raise the bar on your workouts and reap the benefits of this empowering workout.

FAQs

Is the Barbell Clean and Press suitable for beginners? 

While it requires proper technique, beginners can start with light weights and gradually progress.

Can I perform the Barbell Clean and Press with a kettlebell? 

Yes, the kettlebell clean and press follows a similar movement pattern.

How often should I include the Barbell Clean and Press in my routine?

Incorporate it 1-2 times a week, ensuring adequate rest between sessions.

References

  1. Sawyer, J., Higgins, P., Cacolice, P. A., & Doming, T. (2021). Bilateral back squat strength is increased during a 3-week undulating resistance training program with and without variable resistance in DIII collegiate football players. PeerJ, 9, e12189. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12189
  1. Santos, P. D. G., Vaz, J. R., Correia, P. F., Valamatos, M. J., Veloso, A. P., & Pezarat-Correia, P. (2021). Intermuscular Coordination in the Power Clean Exercise: Comparison between Olympic Weightlifters and Untrained Individuals-A Preliminary Study. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 21(5), 1904. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21051904
  1. Pacheco, M. M., Teixeira, L. A., Franchini, E., & Takito, M. Y. (2013). Functional vs. Strength training in adults: specific needs define the best intervention. International journal of sports physical therapy, 8(1), 34–43.

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