male athlete preparing to lift weights

How To Improve Your Squat Clean

How To Improve Your Squat Clean

Are You Struggling to Increase Your Squat Clean PR?

If you are searching for how to improve your squat clean, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we will outline the five key stages of a squat clean for you to improve. Every little improvement you make will add up to a much more efficient and effective squat clean.

Let’s jump right in!

Stages of a Squat Clean

Here are the positions we will discuss to help you improve your squat clean.

  1. The starting position
  2. The initial pull
  3. The transition
  4. The catch
  5. The recovery and rise

The Starting Position

First of all, let’s focus on the starting position of your squat clean. Before you pick the bar up, you must ensure the following are in place:

  • Your back is straight.
  • Your feet are shoulder-width apart.
  • Your hips are below your shoulders.
  • Your thighs are close to parallel with the ground.
  • Your shoulders are over the bar.
  • Your elbows are locked out.
  • Your shins are resting against the bar.

Once you are in this position, place your hands on the bar, just outside where your knees are positioned.

The Initial Pull

The initial pull involves pulling the barbell from the floor to above your knee. As you pull the bar up, push your knees back, maintain a straight back, and keep your shoulders over the bar.

Keep your arms straight, all the way up to mid-thigh.

The Transition

During the transition, push your knees below the bar, keeping your back vertical and bringing your shoulders back.

As you come up into the power position, if you have got this correct, you can explode the weight upwards, allowing you plenty of time to drop under it.


The Catch

Next, we have the most complex aspect of the squat clean and the one aspect that many people struggle with.

During the catch, the aim is to extend vertically, shrug the bar up, and quickly drop below it.

The more proficient you become at the catch phase, the faster you will drop under the bar, and you won’t have to pull the bar as high. 

Therefore, you will be able to lift bigger weights and get underneath them, helping improve your squat clean PR.

Alongside speed, it is also essential to have strong front rack mobility to ensure you keep your elbows high throughout the lift. If your elbows drop forwards, the bar will follow.

It will take practice to catch the bar at the right time, but once you do, you can use the weight to your advantage.

If you can time the catch, so you are in control at the end of your descent, you can utilize that momentum to bounce out of the bottom and begin your recovery.


The Recovery and Rise

Finally, we need to get out of the bottom position as smoothly as possible. To do this, maintain an upright torso position during the catch, keep your elbows high and head up, and push up like your would for a front squat.


Equipment to Assist and Support the Movement

Following the tips outlined above should help you achieve new PR’s in your squat clean, but there are also other things you can do to improve your lift. 

For example, adding a LYFT-RX Quick Locking Weightlifting Belt can help keep your back straight, even when the load gets heavier.

Or you could use lifting tape to add more grip to your pull, allowing you to pull heavier weights from the floor.

You can find both of these essential accessories in our online store.