Have you asked yourself, ‘How often should I do Power Clean to reap the Power Clean benefits?’
How often you should do Power Cleans depends on your training goal.
This article and video discusses
- How often should I do Power Cleans for Strength and Power
- How often should I do Power Cleans to improve my Power Clean technique
- How often should I do Power Cleans to gain muscle mass
- How often should I do Power Cleans to improve my strength endurance
The training frequency of the Power Clean, as much as any other exercise depends on your training goal. Have a look at the articles, where I explain the concept of starting with the end in mind and reverse engineered strength training
The same is true for the Power Clean, determine your training goal and then select the right training frequency.
I assume you are not an Olympic Weightlifter and you use the Power Clean to get better at your sport.
Why does it matter, whether you are an Olympic Weightlifter or not?
As an Olympic Weightlifter you are competing in the Olympic Weightlifting disciplines Snatch and Clean & Jerk and you use the Power Clean benefits to get better at the competition lifts and your strength training frequency is very likely much higher than the strength training frequency of an athlete who wants to use the Power Clean benefits to improve his or her sport performance.
How often should I do Power Cleans for strength and power
Whilst there is a difference between strength training and power training with regards to training frequency, they are somewhat similar, due to similar demands on the nervous system and recovery times.
I mainly use the Power Clean to improve strength and power for my athletes, therefore we use fairly high loading and work with a training intensity above 80% 1RM.
In order to recover from the high loading you need 1 – 2 days of rest between the training sessions, consequently you can include the Power Clean into 2 – 3 strength training session a week.
If you chose to include the Power Clean into 2 or 3 strength training sessions a week, I would advise varying the intensity and volume throughout the week.
I have explained the concept of the ‘heavy – light – medium approach in the article
And explained how to apply the principle to the Back Squat, the same is true for the application of this principle to the Power Clean.
How often should I do Power Cleans to improve my Power Clean technique
If you are interested in learning or acquiring the Power Clean technique, the recommended training frequency is higher.
In our training, when we have young athletes joining our structured strength training programs I focus on learning the Power Clean technique first, and we achieve that by addressing that in 4 – 5 sessions a week.
Keep in mind I just mentioned 4 – 5 sessions, not necessarily dedicated strength training sessions. The reason for that is, that a few movement patterns, that are absolutely essential for a good Power Clean technique can also be trained outside the gym with exercises that do not necessarily involve a barbell.
The movement patterns are the hinging from the hip which is important for the first pull, transition and second pull or the squatting movement which is important for the catch and recovery.
If you want to read up on the different phases of the Power Clean technique, have a look at the article and video of
With regards to the Power Clean technique and the loads used, that depends on the different phase of motor learning, the athlete is in.
In the acquisition phase, the external load is fairly low, while in the consolidation phase the external load is higher (around 50 – 70% 1RM).
How often should I do Power Cleans to gain muscle mass
First and foremost, the Power Clean is not the best exercise, when it comes to gaining some muscle mass.
Why is that?
In order to stimulate muscle growth, the muscle needs to be under tension for a certain period of time. You might have heard people referring to time under tension as an important variable for hypertrophy.
Since the nature of the Power Clean and any other Olympic Lift or derivative of the Olympic Lifts is characterized by a short period of tension (when the weight is lifted), but then followed by a period of no tension (when the bar is dropped to the ground). This makes it literally impossible to get the desired time under tension needed to stimulate a hypertrophic response.
Another point of attention is, that the Power Clean technique is quite fragile.
What do I mean by that?
Because the Power Clean is such as coordinative complex task, combined with a maximum effort, the Power Clean technique starts to deteriorate quickly. It is very difficult to maintain a proper Power Clean technique for more than 3 or 4 repetitions.
This shows that you probably won’t get to your desired 6 repetitions, 8 repetitions or 10 repetitions that you need for your hypertrophy training.
However, there is a way to get a few more repetitions into the Power Clean. If I want to train the Power Clean or any other Olympic Lift or derivative of the Olympic lift, I use cluster sets.
How does it work?
Let’s say you want to do 6 repetitions, so you break down your 6 repetitions into 3 times 2 repetitions interspersed with a few seconds of recovery. The recovery periods of the cluster sets can vary depending on your goal from 5 – 10 seconds to 45 – 60 seconds.
In the example of hypertrophy training I would advise keeping the recovery as short as possible as long as necessary, a good rule of thumb is somewhere between 10 – 20 seconds.
Check out track cyclist, double world champion 2018 Jeffrey Hoogland performing Power Cleans in such a cluster set.
The shorter you keep the rest between the clusters, the better for the hypertrophic response, however, the shorter you keep the rest of the cluster you will see the Power Clean technique deteriorate.
In a nutshell, the recovery time in a cluster is a balancing act between conflicting goals.
If you chose to use the Power Clean in your hypertrophy training program, the ideal training frequency is between 1 – 2 times, depending on whether you chose a split routine or a full body routine.
How often should I do Power Cleans to improve my strength endurance
The question about using Power Cleans to improve strength endurance can be answered very similarly to using Power Cleans to gain muscle mass.
Training for strength endurance requires either higher repetitions or longer time periods if you chose to work in a circuit training fashion.
So, you will face the same problem, that the Power Clean technique might be the limiting factor.
However, I do that occasionally with my athletes who explicitly train for strength endurance, but most of the time I try to find a technically easier task, such as Clean Pulls from a rack or Clean Pulls from the hang.
The ideal training frequency for strength endurance sessions is 2 – 3 strength endurance sessions per week, if you chose to perform the Power Clean or a derivative of the Power Clean you can add it 2 – 3 times per week.
How many repetitions do I need to do train strength, power, hypertrophy or strength endurance?
Well, that is a good question, and I have discussed repetition ranges for the Power Clean in the section Power Clean sets and reps: What are the best sets and reps for Power Cleans in the Ultimate Guide to Power Cleans.
In a nutshell
- for maximum strength development, 1 – 5 reps at 85% 1RM
The Holy Grail of Strength Training – Sets and Reps
- for power development, 2 – 6 reps at 0 – 70% 1RM
- for gaining muscle mass, 8 – 12 reps at 65 – 75% 1RM for non-functional hypertrophy, and 4 – 8 reps at 75 – 85% 1RM for functional hypertrophy. More details in Insider Guide reveals How many Reps in the Back Squat you should do
- for strength endurance, 15 – 30 reps at 50 – 60% 1RM, or 20 – 30 sec time-based training at 50 – 60% 1RM. More details in An Advanced Strength Training for Weight Loss Routine
Concluding How often should I do Power Cleans
The Power Clean is one of the best exercises to develop strength and power and has limited use for hypertrophy training and strength endurance training.
The training frequency of the Power Clean or better how often should you do the Power Clean depends whether you work on strength and power development, gaining muscle mass, working on strength endurance or training to improve the Power Clean technique.