JUST JUMP TO CLEAN
The concept of Just Jump to Clean is the single best teaching method a coach can learn.
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1998
I see some Division I strength coaches struggling with new athletes entering into their program trying to teach the clean. It may take them two to four weeks to teach what can be learned in 15 minutes. Through clinics, I have learned that nothing even comes close to the Just Jump to Clean concept when teaching beginners or even the most advanced athletes. It is the rule, not the exception, to have good high school athletes, who are Power Cleaning 250 pounds, to increase their max by 25 pounds in just minutes.
Sometimes knowledgeable strength coaches break down the Clean so much in their teaching progression that their athletes become confused. For example, their athletes will practice rising up on their toes as in a calf raise while trying to keep the elbows high and in with a shoulder shrug. The problem comes when these athletes try to put it all together. It just doesn't happen or happen very quickly.
My athletes get into a jump stance with a dowel or aluma-lite bar with 5 to 10 pound training or bumper plates. The bar is raised to a position just above the knees. Instruction is given on correct position and when this is attained, the athletes just jump straight up in the air. It is a vertical jump movement.
Next, I teach the athletes how to land. I have one or all athletes get on a chair or bleachers and jump off and land in an athletic stance assuming an athletic ready position. Guess what happens? They always bend their knees when they land. You couldn't pay them to land with their legs straight with knees locked. But, how many times do coaches get frustrated when kids Clean this way.
After they land, I correct any problems with hips and back while molding them into the correct rack position. Now, they just jump and land. In 15 minutes almost all athletes look reasonably well in advanced technique.
Sure, some will need to be taught about high elbows, shoulder shrugging and keeping the bar close to the body but this is easy in comparison. One must never lose sight of the purpose of the Clean and that is to develop all-out explosive jumping power. To do that . . . just jump!
Beginners are often easier to teach than experienced lifters. It is difficult to break the habit of not getting a full and complete, straight-up extension of the knees and legs. When experienced lifters are having problems, I throw a ball up high in the air and have them jump up to get it. I say, “See what you did. See how you felt. Now, do the same thing with the bar. Just jump!”
The girl in the two photos is Danelle, one of our secretaries. She is not an athlete or even a casual lifter. She was a raw beginner. It took her five minutes to Power Clean correctly. How did she do it?
She Just Jumped!