This month’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning research contained a piece of research comparing peak ground reaction forces and rate of force development during different variations of the power clean. It’s a good read and certainly interesting to see the differences between the power clean, hang power clean, mid-thigh power clean and mid-thigh clean pull. For those who haven’t read the paper, lifts were tested at 60% 1RM power clean with participants performing 1 cluster set (30 seconds rest) of 3 reps for each of the four lifts.
Results showed that both mid thigh variations show significantly greater peak ground reaction force and rate of force development than the hang and full power clean variations. So is this a silver bullet? A cue to remove power cleans and cleans from hang from program design? Not quite. As the paper suggests, further research is needed comparing different loading parameters to see if this is a pattern that continues at other percentages of rep max.
If it does though, it certainly starts to raise a few questions. With the mid thigh variations requiring arguably less technical ability, would it remain worthwhile investing time to learn the rest of the technique of the full lift from the floor? It would certainly become more tempting, however there are so many variables within each program design that you could say one way or the other.
I could definitely see scenarios maybe with older athletes, new to strength training where it would be difficult to justify a large amount of contact time to developing a good double knee bend lifting technique. As ever, individuality leads all and what works in one case won’t work in another.
Comfort, P., Allen, M. & Graham-Smith, P (2011) Comparisons of peak ground reaction force and rate of force development during variations of the power clean. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25(5) pp. 1235-1239