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5 Amazing Benefits of Power Cleans

  • 5 min read


by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

Power cleans are a highly impactful exercise to consider incorporating into your training regimen, effectively engaging various muscles throughout your body. However, executing it can prove more challenging than it appears, and employing improper techniques may result in injuries and unnecessary strain.

Utilizing power cleans in your training is a dynamic full-body movement often done by weightlifters and athletes to enhance both strength and power.

Originating as a fundamental Olympic weightlifting maneuver, power cleans have evolved into an essential component of the training programs for team athletes and individuals involved in CrossFit. This exercise is dissected into multiple phases, demanding a strong grasp of technique for proper execution.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of power cleans and why they are important to include in your training.

Disclaimer: It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you are unsure how to properly complete power cleans with good form, ask a trainer at your gym to show you the proper technique and motion.

What are Power Cleans?

Power cleans, a vital exercise for overall strength, are often hailed as a cornerstone of comprehensive workouts, especially favored by athletes as they are linked to sports performance benefits. Despite their prominence, mastering this move can be challenging, with the risk of serious injury due to improper form.

The “clean” involves a pulling motion similar to deadlifts, focusing on total body strength, while the “power” denotes the need for a quick and smooth explosive movement.

Before attempting power cleans, ensure flawless deadlift and squat techniques as they form the foundation, and beginners should seek guidance from a personal trainer at their gym to ensure they are using proper form.

5 Benefits of Power Cleans

Including power cleans in your workouts can be extremely beneficial. The way you move and use all your muscles in this exercise can bring on a number of benefits to your training as well as your daily life.

Below is a list of the benefits:

1.      Full body exercise

Power cleans and snatches work all your major muscles, making them a great full-body workout. They strengthen your arms, shoulders, back, legs, and core, improving coordination and balance.

Unlike some exercises that focus on just one muscle, these engage all your major muscle groups together, boosting overall strength. The quick, explosive lifting in power cleans and snatches challenges your muscles for both strength and power. These exercises also enhance coordination and agility, which is ideal for athletes.

Besides building strength and power, they bring additional benefits like improved heart health, fat loss, better mental well-being, injury prevention, and enhanced athletic performance.

2.      Explosive improvement in power

The power clean is known for enhancing explosiveness and power, making it one of the best exercises for athletes. Strength and conditioning coaches regularly include power cleans in sports like football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and soccer.

A 2019 study involving 20 active males discovered that integrating power cleans into a 10-week training plan led to significant improvements in power development markers. Notably, less experienced participants showed greater improvements in explosive strength, measured by the rate of force development.

If you’re new to training, incorporating power cleans into your strength and conditioning routine may drastically improve your power development and overall performance.

3.      Burn body fat

While strength and power are the first benefits that come to mind, power cleans are also highly effective for burning calories and body fat due to their intense, full-body engagement.

Using lighter weights and higher repetitions, the power clean becomes a potent exercise for fat-burning and calorie reduction, contributing to the achievement of a more lean and highly defined physique.

4.      Improve balance and coordination

Power cleans and snatches are active, whole-body exercises that stimulate strength, speed, and coordination. In these movements, you engage various muscles to lift the barbell from the floor to a standing position, improving coordination and balance.

Beyond enhancing coordination, these exercises teach efficient movement. When executed properly, they cultivate better body control, enabling the application of more power while preserving correct form. This improved coordination and balance not only benefit athletes and dancers but also contribute to better posture in daily life.

A study conducted in 2021 scrutinized the muscle coordination of seven weightlifters and ten inexperienced participants during power clean exercises. The results revealed a noteworthy disparity, with the weightlifters demonstrating markedly superior muscle coordination in their execution of the exercise compared to the inexperienced participants.

5.      Promote stronger bones

Power cleans and snatches, part of the main Olympic lifts, demand full-body coordination, engaging muscles through the explosive extension of hips, knees, and ankles. This complex movement activates nearly every muscle group, promoting overall strength and bone health.

Lifting the barbell from the floor requires synchronized effort, enhancing muscle growth and strength throughout the body. The continuous contractions not only help contribute to overall improvements in muscle size but also have the ability to increase bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.