A couple weeks ago I outlined one of the best ways to improve your Snatch and Clean & Jerk – by working off pulling blocks. Today I’m going to continue that series by exploring the power position for improving your clean.
When breaking the clean down into its parts, the power position is usually the starting point. Once skill has been advanced in this position, you can continue to reduce the starting height of the pulling blocks – though power position training should stay in your regular rotation.
The power position is the moment the greatest amount of force is applied to the barbell. Regularly working from this position develops both power of the final punch against the ground and speed in getting under the bar. The net effect of getting the bar higher and getting under it quicker is substantially increasing your max clean. For these reasons, power position training should definitely be a part of your regular lifting regimen.
Setting the pulling blocks up, we want to stack them so that the barbell (loaded with plates) is just below mid-thigh. This height will obviously vary from person to person, which is why it’s important to have many different sized blocks. When getting situated, you’ll need to move slightly closer to the bar than if starting from the ground to account for the distance the bar travels toward you during its normal upward trajectory.
Weight should be distributed evenly across the feet with feet set at hip distance apart. Toes should be turned out slightly, knees unlocked and hinged only at the hips. Once set, with chest inflated, the athlete should forcefully extend their ankles, knees and hips quickly followed by shrugging their shoulders.
What comes next depends on which movement you’re executing from the blocks. Common lifts from high blocks are: cleans, power cleans and clean shrugs. Clean shrugs and power cleans both develop that final burst of power in the movement. Full cleans (or squat cleans – if that term doesn’t make you cringe) develop this same power while also working speed under the bar.
Sorry for the somewhat poor quality video, I was in a bit of a hurry. I know it’s hard to differentiate the shrug and the power clean, so if you don’t know the difference between these movements… sorry. You catch the bar in one and not the other :). I’ll try to get an improved video up soon.
If you’re excited to add training from pulling blocks to your regimen, check out my post on building your own.