For maximum power and explosiveness, the old school basics still stay undefeated. Find out more about these classic old-school power exercises that have stood the test of time.
Properly performed, this exercise alone will give you a great workout. Read through our guidelines and instructions carefully several times and practice it with a light amount of weight to make sure that you are not skipping a beat. Treat power cleans well and they will be sure to return you the favour.
Place feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Squat down with the bar against the shin and position your upper body slightly ahead of the bar. Place your hands on the bar outside of your knees, with a grip that is slightly wider than your shoulders and your arms fully extended. Your palms should be facing you. Remember not to round your back and keep it flat at all times during the entire movement, your chest up and your head and eyes focusing straight ahead with a slight elevation.
Lift the bar by straightening your legs and keeping your back flat. As you lift, bring your hips forward and shrug, or raise, your shoulders. As the bar goes up, keep it close to your body with your feet on the floor, your arms straight and your head and eyes looking straight ahead. As you pull the bar up past the knees, drive your hips forward. Your body should be almost vertical, your arms still straight and your back still flat. Fully extend your legs and rise up on your toes. Shrug your shoulders so that your deltoids rise up toward your ears. Keep the bar close to your body throughout the exercise. When the bar presses your midsection, pull it up with your arms, bending your elbows and keeping them high. Pull the bar up as high as possible and bring your elbows forward. The bar should be positioned against the front of your shoulders, just under the chin with the elbows pointing forward. Your back should remain flat and erect. After the momentum of the pull, be prepared to proceed in a downward motion. To complete the power clean, perform a front squat. Remember to keep your feet on the floor, back straight and chest high. When you rise from the squat, slowly lower the bar to our thighs and finish the rep by lowering the weight to the floor.
When performing the power clean, inhale as you pull the bar up and hold your breath during the drive. Exhale as you hit the peak of the exercise and then inhale again as you lower the bar.
The squat is neither kind nor forgiving, but it effectively crushes your fats and calories in a single movement. Your legs usually make up two-thirds of your body weight and when you fatigue them, the blood will rush from your digestive system and into your legs. That is why you sometimes feel sick to your stomach when you train your legs to complete failure.
Position yourself under the bar with your feet even and shoulder width apart, toes slightly pointed out and hips directly under the bar. Position your hands on the bar with your palms facing forward and your grip a little wider than shoulder-width. The bar should be positioned so that it is resting on your rear deltoids (the back of your shoulders) across the middle of your trapezius (upper back). When squatting for power, be careful to position the bar below the neck and across the upper back, not across the neck. Riding the bar at the base of the neck when performing heavy squats can lead to injury.
Lift the bar off the rack by straightening your torso. Keep your chest high and your back straight. Do not bend at the waist. Pull your shoulder blades together and raise your elbows to create a shelf for the bar to rest on. With your head facing forward or slightly upwards, slowly bend your legs. When your thighs are parallel with the floor, drive the weight up. Your feet should remain flat as you drive through your heels. Make sure your knees do not go over your toes when your thighs are parallel with the ground and do not bounce up from the bottom position. And most importantly, perform the squat slowly in a controlled manner.
Inhale as you lower the weight and exhale as you drive the weight up.
This is a classic powerlifting exercise that allows you to press heavy weights over your head. Just like the power clean, the push press is great for developing power and explosiveness.
To begin, apply the technique described in the power clean to position the bar against the front of your shoulders, with your elbows pointing straight ahead and your legs fully extended.
The objective is to press the weight over your head, so perform this exercise by slightly bending your legs and then “exploding” the bar up by pushing through your legs. Keeping your back straight, extend your arms, using your shoulders to push the bar over your head. slowly lower the bar back to the front of your shoulders. When it reaches the starting point, slowly bend your legs at the hips and knees and then straighten them out. Pause for a second before performing the second repetition.
Inhale until the bar gets to your shoulders. Exhale as you push the bar over your head and inhale as the bar is lowered.