Clean and press

The clean and press is a weight training exercise, and was part of the sport of weightlifting in the Olympics until 1972. It was removed from Olympic weightlifting due to difficulties in judging proper technique.

The clean and press technique consists of the two main movements of which it is named.


Clean phase

After taking a big breath and setting the back, the lifter jumps the bar up through triple extension (in very quick succession) of the hips, knees and then ankles. When the legs have driven the bar as high as possible, the lifter pulls under the bar by violently shrugging (contracting) the trapezius muscles of the upper back ("traps") dropping into a deep squat position and spinning the hands around the bar so the elbows are extended in front.

At the same time, as the arms are brought up with the elbows extended in front of the chest so the bar may now lay across or "rest" across the palms, the front of the shoulder or deltoid muscles, and the clavicles. At this point the lifter should be in a full squat position, with his buttocks on or very close to the heels, sitting erect with the bar resting comfortably across the deltoids and fingers. By keeping a rigid torso and maintaining a deep breathhold the bar bends over the lifters clavicle.

The improvement in construction of modern weightlifting bars has greatly increased this springing action compared with bars used in the first half of the twentieth century. This springing action is used to rebound from the full bottom squat position. This is commonly known as a front squat.

Press phase

Once the bar is on the anterior deltoids, the lifter proceeds to pressing the weight overhead. During the Olympics, many lifters lay back while pressing. This allowed for more weight to be pressed. Vasiliy Alekseyev could do an extreme version resembling a standing bench press.

This extreme hyperextension of the lower back led to its elimination from the Olympic Games competition after 1972.

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