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Clean And Press

What Is A Clean And Press?

How To Do A Clean & Press

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The clean and press is an advanced full body movement that targets the deltoids with further involvement from the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, trapezius, rhomboids, and triceps.

An Olympic lift, the clean and press is a challenging exercise to master. However, it improves strength, stability, coordination, endurance, and power, making it well worthwhile.

To master the clean and press technique, it's important to break the movement down into two portions, the 'clean' and the 'press'. The main aim of the exercise is to lift a barbell from the floor to above the head, using a shoulder press to complete the movement. The 'clean' refers to the first half of the movement until the barbell is resting on the shoulders, ready to be pushed over the head, this second part is known as the 'press' half of the exercise.

Check out some other shoulder press variations: shoulder press machine, Z press, military press, dumbbell shoulder press, seated shoulder press

Commonly Asked Questions On Clean And Press

What Muscles Does Clean And Press Work?

The clean and press is a full body movement that places emphasis on coordination, power, and strength. This exercise engages many of the muscles including the hamstrings, glutes, traps, triceps, and rhomboids, with a further emphasis on the shoulders as the bar is pressed above the head.

What Is A Good Clean And Press Weight?

The clean and press is a challenging movement and good form should be mastered before the barbell is loaded. Ensuring you progressively overload the movement is more important when it comes to weight training than the weight lifted, so noticing your own progress is the most valuable way of assessing your lift.

What is A Clean In The Clean And Press?

The ‘clean’ refers to the first half of the clean and press where the barbell is lifted up from the floor and rested on the shoulders.

Clean And Press Tips

If you're new to clean and presses, you may find it beneficial to master overhead presses and cleans separately before attempting this exercise. Building shoulder strength alongside the ability to maintain a neutral spine is important to minimise injury risks and ensure the correct muscles are targeted.

Once you're ready to tackle the clean and press, make sure to keep the bar close to your body throughout the movement. Perfecting the timing is also important; try filming so you can check your coordination, timing, and technique.

How To Do A Clean And Press

  1. Approach the barbell taking a shoulder width stance with the toes pointed slightly outwards. Push your hips back and grip the barbell just outside shoulder width apart, with a pronated grip. Pull the slack out of the bar by pinning your shoulder blades back, pushing your feet into the floor and allowing your hips to sit between your shoulders and elbows.  

  2. To begin the lift, deadlift the bar until it reaches your knees by pushing through your feet while extending the knees and hips simultaneously.

  3. Once the bar reaches just above the knees, explosively push your legs into the ground while extending your hips and knees so you come up onto the balls of your feet. At the same time, shrug your shoulders with as much power as you can.

  4. As the shoulders reach their highest point, swing your elbows under the bar so they are facing straight ahead, and the barbell is resting on your front delts.

  5. With the barbell resting on your front delts, take a slight dip by flexing at the knees before driving the hips forward and pressing the barbell above your head.

  6. To return the barbell back to the floor, lower the bar so that it is resting on the front delts before bringing it down to hip height and deadlifting it back on the floor.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.