Clean and Press



The clean and press is one of those full-body lifts that involve nearly all of your body’s pushing and pulling muscles in a single exercise. Until 1972, it was one of the lifts in the Olympics, along with the snatch and clean and jerk. The reason it was dropped is interesting but for another time.

Watch the video to see how it is done using either a pair of dumbbells (the video example) or a barbell.

Bend your knees until you are in a semi-squat position; keep a naturally arched back, your head up, and look forward as you begin the clean. Stay tight and start your pull by straightening your legs and whipping your hips forward, and then pull the weight with your lats, traps, and arms.

When the weight reaches maximum height, dip under it, bringing your elbows forward, while catching the bar or dumbbells above your chest. Stand straight and keep your abs and glutes tight as you press the weight overhead. Exhale as you press the weight.

Low-rep sets develop overall body strength and power. But if you want to really get your heart pumping, move into the 10- to 15-rep range. However, don't let your form get sloppy and risk injury.

Note: The press demonstrated here is a military press (i.e. you stand straight), which differs from a push press. With the push press, once you have cleaned the weight, you bend your knees and then use leg drive to assist in driving the weight overhead.

Kettlebells are also used to clean & press. However, the proper form using kettlebells is somewhat different than it is using a barbell or dumbbells.

Return from Clean and Press to the Exercise Demonstrations page.