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12 Week Power Clean Program

by Ben Thompson

The Power Clean Benefits 

The power clean is often regarded as the ‘gold standard’ for developing power in the strength and conditioning world. It teaches timing and coordination of a multipoint movement and improves neuromuscular efficiency. One of the biggest advantages of the power clean is, it teaches the athlete to lift with intent which is important for recruiting high threshold motor units.

The explosive patterns trains triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles which helps improve jumping and sprinting ability. The movement teaches the athlete to move the weight fast and develop explosive power, a quality that will give you physical edge over your competition.

The combination of maximal strength and rate of force development makes the exercise a great tool to increase athleticism.

The video below is from the California Bears Strength and Conditioning testing day. The clip is a great example to show the athletes strength and power as they test their maximum power clean.



Below is a 12 week periodisation plan for developing the power clean.


Key points

The program starts with slow velocity lifts and progresses to fast velocity lifts.

Phase 1 and 2 prioritises developing maximal strength.

Phase 3 and 4 prioritises transferring maximal strength into power.

The program is one day of a four day training split as seen in the example below.

Example Program Layout 

Day 1: Lower A

Day 2: Upper A

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Lower B

Day 5: Upper B


Phase 1 Day 1 - Weeks 1-3

A) Rack Deadlift*
Week 1: 5 x 5 @ 31X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 2: 5 x 4 @ 31X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 3: 5 x 3 @ 31X0 w/ 120 sec
*Start Position Wk1: Above knee, Wk2: Below Knee, Wk3: Mid Shin  

B) High Hang Power Clean
Week 1: 5 x 3,3,3,2,2 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 2: 5 x 3,3,2,2,1 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 3: 5 x 3,2,2,1,1 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec

C1) Glute Ham Raise - Hip Extension Only
Week 1: 4 x 10 @ 3010 w/ 10 sec
Week 2: 4 x 10 @ 3010 w/ 10 sec
Week 3: 4 x 10 @ 3010 w/ 10 sec


C2) Backward Sled Drag - Hip Attachment

Week 1: 4 x 80m w/ 120 sec
Week 2: 4 x 80m w/ 120 sec
Week 3: 4 x 80m w/ 120 sec


Phase 2 Day 1 - Weeks 4-6

A) Clean Grip Deadlift

Week 4: 5 x 5 @ 31X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 5: 5 x 4 @ 31X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 6: 5 x 3 @ 31X0 w/ 120 sec

B) Hang Power Clean

Week 4: 5 x 3,3,3,2,2 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 5: 5 x 3,3,2,2,1 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 6: 5 x 3,2,2,1,1 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec

C1) Glute Ham Raise
Week 4: 4 x 8 @ 3010 w/ 10 sec
Week 5: 4 x 8 @ 3010 w/ 10 sec
Week 6: 4 x 8 @ 3010 w/ 10 sec

C2) Backward Sled Drag - Hip Attachment
Week 4: 4 x 40m w/ 120 sec
Week 5: 4 x 40m w/ 120 sec
Week 6: 4 x 40m w/ 120 sec


Phase 3 Day 1- Weeks 7-9

A) Clean Pull - Straight Arms

Week 7: 6 x 5 @ N/A w/ 120 sec
Week 8: 6 x 4 @ N/A w/ 120 sec
Week 9: 6 x 3 @ N/A w/ 120 sec

B) Hang Power Clean + Power Clean
Week 7: 5 x 3 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 8: 5 x 2 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec
Week 9: 5 x 1 @ X0X0 w/ 120 sec

C) Glute Ham Raise - Knee Flexion Only
Week 4: 4 x 6 @ 3010 w/ 90 sec
Week 5: 4 x 6 @ 3010 w/ 90 sec
Week 6: 4 x 6 @ 3010 w/ 90 sec

Phase 4 Day 1- Weeks 10-12

A) Power Clean
Week 10: 8 x 3,3,3,2,2,2,1,1 @ N/A w/ 180 sec
Week 11: 8 x 3,3,2,2,1,1,1,1 @ N/A w/ 180 sec
Week 12: 8 x 1 @ N/A w/ 180 sec
Ramp to top set in Wk12. 

B) Clean Pull - Bent Arms
Week 10: 4 x 5 @ N/A w/ 120 sec
Week 11: 4 x 4 @ N/A w/ 120 sec
Week 12: 4 x 3 @ N/A w/ 120 sec

C) Sled Pull Throughs
Week 10: 4 x 20m @ N/A w/ 90 sec
Week 11: 4 x 20m @ N/A w/ 90 sec
Week 12: 4 x 20m @ N/A w/ 90 sec


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