How to Clean and Press
Cleaning and ironing is a great exercise that builds endurance, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, and even strength. Cleaning and ironing offer another benefit that many strength exercises cannot be proud of: power, which is a combination of strength and speed.
If you're new to cleaning and ironing, start with lighter weights and learn how to shape correctly. Once you are confident in your technique, begin adding weight until you reach the point where six to eight reps take your breath away. Cleaning and ironing is something anyone can and should do as part of a regular strength training routine. It is also a great exercise to include in a circuit routine.
Originated as an Olympic lift, the clean and press works no fewer than eight different muscle groups. The lower half of the movement strengthens the hips, glutes, and hamstrings, while the upper half of the movement targets the shoulders, chest, back, and arms. Meanwhile, all movement is dependent on you engaging your core.
Strength training is important for athletes who need a sudden boost of activity in their sport, such as running or jumping. Even those who don't focus on specific sports use strength exercises to raise their heart rate to anaerobic levels, adding a higher calorie burn to the overall workout.
In everyday life, you will often need to pick up objects from the floor and place them on the shelves. Cleaning and pressure can train you to use good form.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the bar about 2 inches from your shins. Push your hips back and hold the bar so that your palms are toward your body and your hands are shoulder-width apart. Keep your hips down, your chest up, your eyes forward, and your arms extended.
- Keep your core very tight and step through your heels to quickly pull the bar toward your chest, just in front of your collarbone. Keep your spine straight. Be explosive and quick in your movements when pulling the bar, keeping it as close to your body as possible. To pull the bar under your shoulders, lift your shoulders and point your elbows forward.
- Once the bar hits your chest, go through your heels again and press directly on your head and stretch your arms and legs. Keep your core tight. Return to the starting position with control.
Avoid these mistakes to get the most out of this exercise, avoiding stress and injury.
Weight shift forward
Your weight must remain on your heels at all times during cleaning and pressing.
Rounding the back
Your upper back should be straight and not rounded when lifting.
Look for a footprint that is no more than two inches wider than your shoulders. If it's too wide, you risk wrist pain, while if it's too narrow, it can stretch your shoulder joints.
Modifications and Variations
Cleaning and ironing can be practiced in different ways to suit your level of skill and experience. Your fitness level will determine how much weight you decide to lift.
Do you need a modification?
Beginners can practice with an empty barbell. If possible, do it in a mirrored room so that you can really be sure that your body is doing what you want it to do.
Ready for a challenge?
This exercise can be done with dumbbells or a barbell. The bar allows you to go a bit heavier and provides some stability with the bar. The dumbbells encourage each side to work individually, rather than the stronger side covering the weaker side.
Single arm cleaning and pressing can be done with dumbbells. Add a challenge of stability and balance to this exercise.
Cleaning and pressing can be done in conjunction with other leg exercises such as squats or lunges to tighten the lower body. It can also be placed on any upper body blend to increase heart rate. It would be a perfect move to use in circuit type training. For instance:
- 4 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical
- 8 repetitions of cleaning and pressure
- 4 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical
- 8 repetitions of cleaning and pressing, etc.
Follow this pattern and in 15 to 20 minutes you will have a solid workout.
Safety and precautions
Since this exercise involves multiple joints, talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you have any problems with your ankles, knees, hips, wrists, shoulders, neck, or back. This exercise is not recommended during pregnancy. If you experience any sharp pain during this exercise, end it.
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