Episode 158 – Power cleans vs Full cleans for athletic performance

Today’s #AskEvro show question of the day is: “What is the difference between power cleans and cleans in athletic performance?”

To the general population there’s not much difference between these two exercises but for the athlete a slight change in movement for this olympic lift will mean a huge shift in physical adaptation.

a. Power cleans (or hang cleans)

More for power, explosiveness and speed. This is generally used during “in-season” for in-form athletic performance.

b. Cleans (or full clean and press)

More for total body strength. This is generally used in “off-season” or “pre-season” during an athletes program.

That’s basically the difference.

What’s the key variable?

It’s where the speed is at.

For a full clean and press you will start all the way down at the bottom…

So if you go through the progression it’ll be something like this:


Athletic performance requires the right variable adjustments at the right time. Read on below.



In a deadlift starting position drive up into the shrug, move to a front squat “catch” before finishing off with an overhead press. This movement will use the whole body to muscle that weight above you. Obviously a multi-step movement and thus slower by nature. But, this is also going to make you stronger.

Whereas, with a power clean (can also be called a hang clean) the range of motion is shorter.

Again let’s go through the movement:

It starts about the knee line (above or below) and from here it’s a short hip thrust into the front squat “catch” – there isn’t necessarily an overhead press.

And that’s it for the movement.

It’s faster, more explosive nature places more emphasis on the nervous system and fast twitch muscles allowing you to create more speed and power in your movements.

Clean it up!

So that’s the difference between power cleans and cleans in athletic performance. I have a few videos on Youtube and FB that go through how to do those exercises.

Check them out below:

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Photo by John Arano on Unsplash

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.


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