Exercise Details for Cleans

  • Primary Muscle
    Gluteus, Lower back, Quads
  • Secondary Muscle
    Calves, Traps, Hamstrings
  • Equipment
  • Level

Why Should You do Cleans?

This is an explosive and powerful exercise. You should pull the bar up from the floor with full force and catch it in one turn by bending your legs fully. This allows you to lift a lot of weight, and most of the body’s muscles will help in the movement. Free turn is a challenging exercise, so read carefully and perform it with light weights until it sits before you start to load with the weight fully. Feel free to ask an experienced lifter for tips and instructions before you start with free turns.


Stand close to the bar so that it lies over your feet. Grasp it wider than your shoulders with an overhand grip. Bend your legs, the buttocks should be above your knees, and the chest should be above your buttocks in height. Your back should be straight but tilted upwards. Your gaze should be forward but not so that the neck bends upwards. Tighten the torso, and you should be stable.


Pull the bar up at the far end of your shins quickly but not at full speed. When the bar comes up over your knees, you fully accelerate. At the same time, as you continue to pull upwards, you push your hips forward so that your thighs slightly hit the bar. The bar then moves forward and continues upwards. When the bar comes up a little more, you start to turn your hands up while you use force from the push from your feet in a jump before the movement turns into a front squat that catches the bar at shoulder height but with fully bent legs. In the bottom position, you should feel stable before pushing up and straightening your legs. When you stand with the bar up resting against your shoulders, you have completed the entire movement. Hold in this position for a few seconds before releasing the weight back to the floor.

Again. Cleans is a complicated exercise, so take instructions from an experienced lifter before running it in full force.

Tips for Cleans

  • Have the bar straight over your feet
  • Grab the bar wider than shoulder-width, your knees should be narrower than the grip
  • Your buttocks should be above your knees and your upper body should be above your buttocks in height
  • The rear should be straight
  • Make sure to get proper pressure in the torso and that you feel stable
  • Accelerate more when the bar comes up over your knees
  • Push your hips forward so that your thighs hit the bar
  • When you catch the bar at shoulder height, bend your legs as in a front squat
  •  Strive for control during the movement, let the weight increase slowly throughout this journey

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