Tips of The Week

Training Tips to Improve your Clean Technique

We all love cleaning, it’s one of the iconic CrossFit lifts that showcases the body working together after relentless strength training of many muscle groups. Not only does it display strength, there is balance, agility, speed and coordination involved.

In order to be cleaning well though, you must remember that you should be:

  • squat two-three times per week front squat and back squat,
  • practicing cleans, clean drills, such as pulls and a lot of repetitions.


Once you have been doing the above, work on your cleans with these tips, adapted from Kristian McPhee, from


Improve your flexibility / range of motion so that you can have a strong rack position. Tight lats and triceps can be improved with rolling and stretching them during your warm up. After mobilising, grab an empty bar and work on getting your elbows high in the front rack position. A good rack position will improve your chances of standing up out of a heavy clean.

Stretching out using the bar is also a fantastic way to improve it, place the barbell into the back squat position, and use the weight of the bar to rotate one elbow up at a time whilst keeping the hands on the bar and the body straight.

Tip: If you have to sacrifice gripping the bar in the rack position to have your elbows up, sacrifice the grip and open your hands.


Keep that core tight, and work on the mobility of your t-spine to ensure you have a nice upright mid section when catching the clean. Having a rounded mid-back will force the elbows down, pulling the weight forward, putting pressure on your wrists, and you will end up working twice as hard to stand up from the squat position.


Open your t-spine and chest with:

  • Foam Rolling
  • Clean grip overhead squats, without bar falling forward
  • rolling with a lacross ball


Due to the heavier weight used in the clean versus the snatch, a bad first pull will cause serious problems. During the first pull the shoulders should stay over the bar AND the back angle should remain the same. Often people mistakenly let those hips rise as soon as the bar moves. Your knees only have to move fractionally to get out of the way of the bar as it passes the knees. Pushing your knees back switches off the legs and puts it all on the back. The more pressure you can keep on the front of the foot, the more your legs will be primed to move into the extension.


Ever found yourself pulling the bar so high and diving under the bar so fast that the bar comes crashing down onto your shoulders and crumbles you into a ball? Timing is very important, meeting with the bar just below parallel and “catching the bounce” out of the squat is essential to coming out of a heavy clean with ease.

– Hang Cleans,

– Block Cleans and

– Semi-Power Cleans (catching halfway and then squatting all the way down)


For more tips on cleans see this video below: