Total Body Power With the Power Clean

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One of the biggest mistakes a basketball player can make when training in the weight room is to disregard total body lifts [such as the Power Clean] and focus on the “Jersey muscles”—arms, chest and shoulders.

Every move you make on the court follows a path in your body’s muscles, which is known as the kinetic chain. A muscle deficiency anywhere in the chain can reduce the strength and power of a movement, impairing performance. This potential loss highlights the need to train the entire body for strength and power.

With total body strength and power, your kinetic chain will be strong enough to execute the variety of skills needed to blow by defenders, rebound and shoot the basketball—without any performance detriments.

The kinetic chain in the Power Clean starts in the lower body and hips. As the bar is raised, the chain continues up through the core and into the arms and shoulders. After the bar has been caught, the chain shifts again toward the lower body and hips, particularly when exploding out of the quarter squat. The core and upper body work to maintain stability.

Most muscle groups are engaged in the Power Clean, making it the ultimate total body strength and power development exercise.

Power Clean

  • Start with bar on floor; grip it slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Keeping low back tight, move chest over bar and push hips back
  • Explode upward by forcefully shrugging and fully extending hips, knees and ankles
  • Pull bar up, keeping it close to chest
  • Drop under bar with bent knees, catching bar on front of shoulders with elbows forward
  • Powerfully extend at the knees and hips to upright stance
  • Lower to start position