Do you really have to do power cleans to improve power? If you follow the party line of the National Power Clean Association you would think the power clean would be the only exercise that you need to do. If you drink the kool aid you would believe that power cleans can cure cancer! Lets get real here, I can certainly understand the benefits of the power clean in terms of achieving triple extension, but does the benefit outweigh the risk? Why not just do high pulls? It is the catch that causes problems, so eliminate the catch by just doing a high pull. Go one step further and start with dumbbells. The other issue I have with the clean is that it is a technically demanding exercise. It requires significant teaching time and individual instruction and most people do not have the time. It is hard for me to believe you can effectively teach a technically demanding lift with 90 players. I do not know about you but in most situations I have worked in there is a limited of time so if I have to spend several weeks to achieve technical perfection in a lift I am missing out on valuable training time. Also for practical reasons strength training is done after practice or after the other components, therefore you are training a high neural demand activity in a fatigued state that puts you at greater risk of injury. Also most of the times body proportions are not taken into account so we are fitting the athlete to the exercise rather fitting the exercise to the athlete. Why not just do dumbbell jump shrugs and dumbbell high pulls and gradually lead into high pulls with a bar after a good foundation is established. I have done this and the results are outstanding. This is low risk, high return. Then maybe you can go to power cleans if you really think you need to. Progression! Progression! Progression!

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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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