In this article we will discuss the tall clean, an accessory/primer weightlifting exercise to increase speed, technique, and confidence getting under cleans. In the sections below we will discuss proper tall clean technique and the faults/issues the tall clean can address (benefits).
Tall Clean Technique Video
The below video is of the barbell tall clean, an accessory/primer movement that can be done to increase technique and speed in the pullover phase of the clean.
3 Benefits of the Tall Clean
The below section discusses three issues/concerns a coach might have regarding clean technique that can be addressed by performing tall cleans. Note, that the tall clean is not the only exercise to improve poor technique and/or faults in the clean, as the issues can be much more problematic than that. Implementing the tall clean with the understanding that it is one small component of the actual clean is best when looking to address optimal technique and programming. Additionally, the tall clean does not replace cleans within a training program.
Address Barbell Crashing on the Body
When a barbell crashes onto a lifter after the pulling phases and turnover, the lifter often loses positioning in squatted position (rounds forwards and elbows drop). While this issue can be caused by overpulling, improper pulling mechanics, poor front rack mobility, and/or strength limitations in the front squat; the tall clean can be used (in addition to addressing other faults) to help a lifter establish greater control, mechanics, and body positions in the turnover phases of the clean.
Greater Speed Under the Barbell
The tall clean can be used to increase speed under the barbell in the clean for lifters who may have poor timing or mechanics after the explosion phase in the clean. By having a lifter assume the tall position, he/she is unable to build any vertical barbell trajectory with the hips and legs prior to the turnover phase. In doing so, he/she must meet the barbell at a lower position, since the upper body can only bring the barbell higher a few inches. By forcing a lower catch position with slower barbell velocitie, the lifter is forced to gain speed assuming a front squat position under the barbell.
Confidence and Aggression in the Turnover Phase
Heavy cleans require confidence and aggression. While technique is imperative, the clean requires a great deal of strength and mental prowess to get under large quantities of kilos. The tall clean can simply be used to enhance a lifter’s confidence and aggression at the top of the pull of the clean so that he/she can decrease hesitation and thought to allow for maximal speed under the barbell. Strengthening this junction can help lifters address many of the faults that may lead them to lose confidence and commitment to heavier lifts.
How to Program Tall Cleans
The tall clean is an accessory/primer movement that doesn’t not require a high amount of load to be an effective exercise for weightlifting technique. When programming, 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps can be performed using light loads, generally around 20-40% of one’s clean and jerk max. The key is to keep loads light enough so that the lifter does not bend the knees or hips at the onset of the movement (see the tall clean technique video above). Coaches can program the tall clean at the end of training sessions as an accessory lift or as a primer movement before clean and jerk sessions.
Clean Article Archive
Take a look at the below articles to help increase strength, technique, and performance in the clean and jerk.
- Power Clean vs Muscle Snatch – And How to Use Them in Weightlifting Programming
- Why Doubles and Triples Can Increase Your 1RM
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