EP.53 | How to Execute a CLEAN by California Strength

Glenn Pendlay joins us again from California Strength to instruct and educate us on how to properly execute a Clean, using a simple 3-Step Approach.  

Some Prerequisites
BEFORE Cleaning

  1. Make sure that you can hold the bar on your chest, the way you need to catch the barbell safely.

  2. The bar is resting on the shoulder muscles (front delts), NOTthe clavicle.

  3. No pressure in the wrists.

  4. Push your shoulders up and FORWARDand UP to create the shelf needed to safely hold the weight.  Your arms and clavicle are NOT holding the weight.

  5. Work on mobility FIRSTto achieve this positioning.

Part 1 Key Takeaways


  1. Stand up straight, shouldersPULLED BACK.

  2. Narrow grip (about a thumbs length out from where the knurling starts).

  3. Bend knees 2-3" without bending forward.  Weight is in the heels.

  4. From here, JUMP AND CATCH the barbell.

Work on receiving the barbell in a quarter or half squat, pausing there before going into a full front squat.  Work to where you take the hesitation out completely.  If you have something that is limiting you from getting into the bottom of the front squat, you must work on your mobility issues before proceeding. 

Part 2 Key Takeaways


  1. The first step (above) requires bending at the knee joint only.  The second step incorporates bending only at the HIP JOINT.

  2. Bend from the hip until the barbell reaches right below the knee.  Keep the barbell tight to your body.

  3. Back and lats are tight, shoulders pulled back.  Shins are vertical.  Weight is on the heels.

  4. Begin to stand the bar back up to the first position (knees still bent).


Begin by executing these drills SLOWLY.  As you drill the movement patterns, slowly take out the hesitation as you become more proficient.

Part 3 Key Takeways


  1. From the knee to the floor the weight is going to shift from your heels to the ball of the foot.

  2. Knees will come forward.

  3. Weight is on the ball of the foot (or near it) and the hips are low.

  4. Then you reverse.  Push your knees back and extend the leg to get to the knee.

  5. Extend the hip, then extend the knee & finish by JUMPING AND CATCHING.

This last step is to show you the starting position for the Olympic Weightlifting Clean from the floor.  By putting together these three positions, reinforced with quality repetition, you can correctly execute the Olympic Clean.

Make sure to check out Episode 39 below
for Cal Strength's tutorial for Snatching!!