Here’s why Cleans made the Body Planners Magnificent 7;
1. They are a full body exercise. Similar starting point to that of a Deadlift, a clean entails forcefully lifting the bar up to the shoulder level, to complete rest, under control. This means early on in the lift the majority of your posterior chain is used, but as you become more upright force is transferred to the shoulder girdle as you pull the weight up the front of your torso. Keeping the elbows high means that your upper back and shoulders are working all the way up.
2. They improve anaerobic performance. This is because the reps tend to range between 2 and 5, and the sets 3 to 5. The clean uses so much muscle and is a powerful movement, which when repeated, has to be done under the lack of oxygen. This oxygen starvation trains the body to work without oxygen, which can be done but only for short duration of time.
3. They are good for muscle development. Again as pointed out in numbers 1 and 2, the clean uses a lot of muscle. This makes it ideal to incorporate into any pull session as a warm up. This should suitably tire the muscles and make the following exercises more difficult, which will increase the session intensity significantly.
4. They help strengthen bones. This is because it is a load bearing exercise. Research has shown that load bearing exercise is the best way to promote bone density and fight the symptoms of osteoporosis. The only thing between the weight and the ground when you do a clean is you. So you’re not only bearing your own weight, you’re bearing the additional bar weight too!
5. They improve proprioception. This is because there is a lot going on in a single rep, and because it is a powerful movement it happens quickly. Your nervous system has to control your limbs and their actions so that each rep can flow smoothly, but be delivered with the speed and precision to make it a ‘powerful’ rep.
6. They help improve balance. This is because as you lift the bar from the ground to the top, your body moves away from the centreline and it’s centre of gravity. Having an effective catch at the top requires a good level of skill and balance.
7. They allow the body to reduce large amounts of testosterone. This is because performing a clean uses lots of muscle and lots of energy. This spike in muscle usage results in the nervous system secreting testosterone, the body’s own growth hormone. More testosterone, better muscle development, better fat loss.