Why lifting weights from your mid-thigh is a bad idea
Many sports programs include the power clean as a key component of their strength training. According to a survey of 137 Division I football coaches, 85 percent of them used the power clean with their athletes. A poll of NFL coaches revealed that 88 percent of them used the lift with their athletes. It is a great decision.
Researchers at the College of New Jersey established a strength training program for 20 college athletes in Division III. It lasted 15 weeks. The Olympic lifting (OL), and powerlifting (PL), were the main focus of the two groups. Both groups saw improvements in vertical jump performance, with the OL group showing greater improvement.
Now that we know strength coaches believe that the power cleanse is effective in developing power, and that there has been research supporting its effectiveness, the question remains:
“What is the best way to do the power cleanse?”
We must first get rid of power cleans with dumbbells or kettlebells. A functional training expert recently stated that power movements, such as power cleans with dumbbells or kettlebells, can provide equal benefits. He said that power cleans with dumbbells or kettlebells are more comfortable for the wrists, have a shorter learning curve and are therefore better versions of the lift. Not quite.
A person who can clean 300 pounds using a barbell will have trouble lifting more than 100 pounds. Even if the same person had an exceptional technique and could lift 150 pounds with a barbell, it would still only be 50 percent of their 1-rep maximum. This means that the exercise won’t have much impact on strength training. Additionally, dumbbells are designed to place the dumbbell plate’s diameter forward of the axis for rotation of the shoulder. This puts high stress on the muscles that aid in stabilizing the shoulders (teres minor, infraspinatus).
Now that we have the dumbbell and kettlebell variations out the way, let’s look at the hang position relative to the floor. Hang refers to starting with the bar at the mid-thigh. The athlete will place the bar on their mid-thigh and bend their legs slightly to lift the bar. Finally, they will pull the bar up to their shoulders. This is different from lifting weights from blocks at the mid-thigh.
In terms of intensity, an athlete often lifts more weight hanging than from the floor. The bar is in a good position to lift weight. Pulling from the ground to achieve the same position is difficult. The hang style is used by many athletes. They place the bar between their hips and upper leg. To increase the force applied, the athlete can kick the legs.
With this background, we can now decide which lift is better: hanging or from the ground. We believe the power clean from a floor is better for the following reasons.
A partial range of motion in any exercise can compromise soft-tissue integrity. Box squats, for example, can cause tightness in the piriformis muscle. This muscle is responsible for the external rotation of your upper leg. Tightness in the piriformis can adversely impact athletes who are involved in sports that require them to change direction quickly, such a soccer or basketball game.
The power clean, or econd, is a mid-thigh exercise that works the legs in a narrower range of motion. This results in less development of the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Weightlifters have a higher level of total leg development than powerlifters. This is because they use a wider range of motion to work the legs. Powerlifters have a lower quad development due to their hyper-wide squat positions, which is evident in their leg development.
The third is that cleaning the mid-thigh can cause hyperextension of your spine. Athletes who use the hang technique to gain weight often hyperextend their spines, putting unnecessary strain on the discs. Many weightlifters disliked the Olympic press because the laybacks they used caused lower back pain. In 1972, the Olympic press was removed from weightlifting competition.
Fourth, lifters from the hang tend to use their arms more than usual, which means that they are using their upper bodies to perform the movement. An athlete who does both the hang powerclean and power clean from a floor will have an adverse effect on technique for the power clean.
Many athletes skip power cleans from the ground because they lack the flexibility to do the exercise correctly. They should not give up and continue to use the mid-thigh variant. Instead, they should do the proper stretching and structural balance training so that they can power clean from the floor properly and comfortably.
Sport science research has proven that the power clean is an excellent exercise to increase total body power. To get maximum benefits and minimize stress on the back, the lift should be performed from the ground, not from the hips.