What is a Muscle Clean?
A muscle clean is a variation of the clean lift in Olympic weightlifting. In the clean lift, the athlete lifts the barbell from the floor to a racked position on the shoulders in one smooth movement. The muscle clean is a variation in which the athlete lifts the barbell using primarily muscle power, rather than relying on the hip and leg drive that is typically used in the clean lift.
Purpose of Muscle Clean
Muscle cleans are often used as a teaching tool to help athletes learn proper technique in the clean lift, or as a drill to isolate and strengthen specific muscle groups. They can be used to improve upper body strength and technique, and can also be helpful for athletes who have mobility or flexibility issues that make it difficult to execute the full clean lift. However, muscle cleans are not typically performed as a competition lift in Olympic weightlifting.
How to Perform a Muscle Clean
To perform a muscle clean, the athlete begins by standing with the feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell on the floor in front of them. The athlete should grip the barbell with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. From this starting position, the athlete then lifts the barbell off the floor using only their upper body strength. The barbell should be pulled up to the shoulders in one smooth motion, without using the hip drive. The athlete should then catch the barbell in a front rack position, with the elbows rotated outward and the barbell resting on the front of the shoulders.