I love whole body exercises and the Clean & Press is a diabolical favorite. This compound movement emphasizes shoulders but also gives your back, traps, triceps, legs and core a great workout. To “clean” the barbell means to lift it from the floor to the starting position for the overhead press in one explosive motion. You then “press” the barbell overhead like a regular overhead barbell press. These movements combined develop explosive power, coordination and core strength for a heart pounding exercise that will get your workout off to a great start.
This video demonstrates how to execute the Barbell Clean & Press: CLEAN & PRESS VIDEO
The Clean & Press can be incorporated into almost any workout program. I usually incorporate the Clean & Press at the start of shoulder day in a split program. Its a great warm up exercise as well and will get your whole body pumped for the start of your workout.
When starting out, I’d suggest 1 warm up set with just the bar for 15 reps, then add a little weight and do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Once you get the hang of these you can try a 4 set pyramid starting with 15 reps at a lighter weight, adding weight each set and dropping from 10-12 reps, 8-10 reps and 6-8 reps for each subsequent set.
The Clean & Press works great when combined with these follow up exercises for a punishing shoulder day:
- Lateral Dumbbell Raises
- Upright Rows (heavier weight/low reps)
- Barbell Overhead Presses * (heavier weight/low reps)
* It may seem overkill to do Barbell Overhead Presses after the Clean & Press, but since you are limited to the amount of weight you can handle for the “clean” portion of this exercise, you will probably not be pressing the most your shoulders can handle. I like to include a few power sets of just the overhead press in addition to the Clean & Press to ensure you are pushing your shoulders to press the maximum they can handle.
This is an intermediate exercise so absolute beginners and those with shoulder injuries should approach with caution. Use very light weight or use dumbbells as a variation. Please contact me if you have any questions or feedback about this evil exercise.