Hail to the Dinosaurs!
We received a ton of emails in response to
yesterday's post about the clean and press.
Many of you had questions -- so I'll try to
answer the most common ones in this email.
Q. Do you do a full clean and a full press on
A. Yes. That's why it's called the clean and
press. The clean works the legs, hips and
back. The press works the shoulders, triceps,
and traps. So you need to do both to make
it a total body exercise.
Of course, if you are doing a regular workout
with other exercises, you can do the cleans as
a separate exercise and the presses as an
exercise of their own -- i.e., one clean followed
by a set of multiple rep presses.
Q. Do you lower the bar to the platform for
each clean or can you do hang cleans?
If you're using a barbell, I prefer to do each
rep from the platform. Clean it, press it, lower
it to the platform, get set, and repeat.
Cleans from the platform are a much better
exercise than hang cleans.
Q. High reps in cleans hurt my elbows. What
should I do?
Stick to lower reps! In the example I gave
yesterday, the higher reps (8 and 10 rep
sets) were all progressively heavier
warm-up sets. The reps were 5 or less
for the heavy sets. Personally, I do all
lower reps -- often all singles -- in the
clean and press.
Also, if cleans hurt your elbows, you are
either doing them wrong or need to work
on your flexibility and rack position.
Q. Is the power clean a functional movement?
A. It's as functional as they come. Power
cleans (and power snatches) build strength,
power, balance, coordination, timing and
athleticism. These are the qualities that
make an athlete -- or that let you move
like an athlete.
Moreover -- and pay attention, because this
is important -- the high speed of these
movements and the need for deep, intense
concentration and split-second timing may
strengthen the neurological system very
Some researchers even believe that these
exercises may help keep your brain healthy
and young as you grow older. In other
words, "athletic exercises" such as cleans
and snatches promote healthy brain function
and healthy aging.
Also, many older people have great difficulty
just walking around. Cleans and snatches
help keep you walking.
From a "function" point of view, that's hard
Q. Do you lower the bar to the platform or
A. If you train on a lifting platform and use
rubber bumper plates, you can drop the bar.
If you don't have a lifting platform or you
use iron plates, you need to lower the bar.
Note that "back in the day" everyone used
iron plates, so they all lowered the bar. It's
easy to do: you lower the bar to the shoulders,
then to the upper thighs, and then to the
floor or platform. Pause at each step of the
I trained with an old barbell and iron plates,
lifting on a concrete floor, and worked up to
270 or 275 in the clean and press -- and I
never dropped the bar. It can be done.
That should answer most of the questions
we received. If you have more, the answer
is probably going to be in The Dinosaur
Training Military Press and Shoulder Power
Course. Go here to grab a copy:
As always, thanks for reading, and have a
great day. If you train today, make it a
Yours in strength,
P.S. I almost forgot! Several of you asked
about the dumbbell clean and press and how
to perform it. You'll need to see it in photos
or video, so grab these:
Dinosaur Dumbbell Training (book)
The Lost Art of Dumbbell Training (DVD)
P.S. 2. Thought for the Day: "Old school
training works -- and it's been working
for a very long time." -- Brooks Kubik