Official Site of the James Madison University Strength & Conditioning Program




Power Clean

Purpose: Develop explosive power through extension of the hips, knees and ankles.

Starting Position:

  • Use between a hip to shoulder width stance, toes pointing straight ahead to slightly out.
  • Squat down to the bar, and position your hips lower than your shoulders.
  • Use a grip shoulder width to slightly wider, with your arms fully extended and elbows turned outward.
  • Roll the bar back to an inch from contacting your shins, and maintain an arch in your back.
  • Position your shoulders directly over to slightly in front of the bar (never behind the bar).


  • Lift the weight off the floor by driving force through your entire foot (don't get forward on your toes).
  • The first pull [floor to just above knees] is key to aligning your body in the correct posture for the second pull, or power position.
  • While keeping your shoulders over the bar, extend your knees, and hips, performing a deadlift motion.
  • As the bar travels over your knees straighten up into a vertical alignment so the bar shifts to your mid-thigh.  This is the power position.
  • Explosively extend your hips, and transfer the weight from your heels to the mid foot and shrug your shoulders vertically (jump the weight up).
  • As the weight moves upward, simultaneously drop/pull your body underneath the bar catching the weight across your shoulders in a 1/4-1/2 squat position.
  • Finish the lift by standing upright under control.
  • Lower the weight to the start position and repeat the exercise.

Key Points:

  • The movement is very explosive, occurring in the hips, legs, back and shoulders.
  • Your back should remain tight and flat throughout the entire exercise.
  • As you move under the bar flip your elbows forward and push them together so that you catch the bar across your shoulders with your elbows pointing forward, not downward.
  • The bar trajectory should be vertical - don't swing it out and around, jump it straight up.

Athlete in the video: Marianne Hutchens, JMU Track & Field Assistant Coach, Pole Vaulters