Secrets to powering through the Clean and Press properly

The back and legs track is one of my favorite tracks in a BodyPump class. From explosive movements to big strength training, it’s a big step in making the changes and gains that are desired.

The clean and press is always one of backbones of training the posterior train, which stretches from the upper back all the way down to the glutes and hamstrings.

The thing that troubles me as an instructor is the fact that for every five BodyPump participants that execute the move to precision, there is that one that can’t get the technique down, no matter how many times they are coached.

One instructor pointed this out on Facebook earlier today, and the posting, seen in this group of tribe members, generated a lot of comments from instructors across the U.S. and abroad sharing their thoughts on the Clean and Press in terms of how they coach their members to execute the move properly.

When executed properly, this move is extremely effective. We instructors call it “the big power move” in a BodyPump class. To execute the move properly, instructors and participants alike must be precise.

The first phase is, of course, the “clean,” which is where the most common error is typically made: Reverse-curling the barbell to the center line of the chest as opposed to pushing the hips back into a squat, and letting the elbows drop under the barbell. If you don’t execute the “clean” phase properly, the “press” portion becomes a moot point.

If you find yourself doing reverse curls as the bar comes up, a good way to perfect the move is to stand up close to a mirror or a wall at your club. Make sure the tips of your toes are touching the barrier, thus forcing you to keep the barbell close to your body, and not perform a reverse curl. Reverse curls take all the work out of the posterior chain.

What often helps in my classes, when we hit the first set of clean and presses, I give my class a “four-count,” which helps their timing through all four phases of the move, the latter two of which involve controlling the barbell back to the center of the chest while sinking the hips back into a squat after the press, and releasing it back to your thighs.

If any of your class participants find themselves reverse-curling often, my advice would be to pull them aside before or after class, spend a few minutes with them and maybe do the mirror/wall drill I mentioned previously. Also, it’s possible they may not have enough weight on their barbell. Remember, in BodyPump, the bigger muscle groups require bigger weight on the bar to truly feel the effect of the work, and it’s easier to let the bar go away from the body with less weight on there. Make sure to remind them of that in your track introduction.

Oh, and I also want to mention more than 1,300 people are currently signed up for June’s extravaganza in New Orleans. If you haven’t signed up yet, time is running out! Prices once again increase at the end of this month, from $225 to $250. In case you’ve missed it – and unless you’ve been under a rock, chances are you haven’t – the link to sign up is here.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.