While explaining our skill movement the other day at Dane's Body Shop someone asked, "isn't the power clean same as the clean?" In short: a power clean is different from the clean in that it is caught above 70 degrees of knee flexion; absent a goniometer, above parallel. A clean is caught in the bottom of a full squat or caught and taken all the way down to full knee flexion. It is also called a squat clean; the term was originally used to differentiate a split catch from a squat catch. The term is or was outdated depending on how you want to look at it. Now it is commonly used among small groups of fitness enthusiasts or those trying to convey a point (ie., me). There are three main types of cleans: clean (squat clean), split clean, continental clean. The reason I have limited my types to three is that all of these were contested at some point in the Olympics. (1) The clean has so many variations it isn't worth going into in this article, however the most common variation is the power clean. Below are several videos demonstrating the cleans, the first is a clean aka squat clean.
The next type of clean is the split clean, which is rarely done anymore. You will see people demonstrating this movement in local competitions mainly and some master level lifters still use this variation. It is also recommended by some coaches for "jerk training or for those with mobility issues." (2) Below is one of the United States greatest lifters Norb Shemansky.
So while editing this article for the bazillionth time I realized I had not put a video up of Norbert split cleaning, so I decided to look for one and I found a video of him freaking continental split cleaning. Had to share so below is that video along with a good ol' split clean.
The last type of clean is the continental clean and according to Dresden was used in the Olympics prior to switching to the split clean.(3) This variation is now a mainstay of strongmen the world over. Normally you see it with an axle bar as opposed to an olympic bar. Below are two videos one with an olympic bar the other with an axle bar.
Now we have seen demonstrations of our three types of clean. Below is a video of a power clean and a clean again so that you may see the difference.
So now you have it three types of cleans and one variation. Hopefully you can go to class or the gym and properly demonstrate the two movements.
1. Dresden, Archibald. "The History Of Weight Sports: How They Evolved Since 1900". Breaking Muscle. Retrieved from https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/the-history-of-weight-sports-how-they-evolved-since-1900. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
2. Everett, Greg. "Split Clean Exercise Demo Video and Info." Olympic Weightlifting: Catalyst Athletics. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.
3. Dresden, Archibald. "The History Of Weight Sports: How They Evolved Since 1900". Breaking Muscle. Retrieved from https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/the-history-of-weight-sports-how-they-evolved-since-1900. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.