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If you walk into a weight training facility today, chances are you'll see someone performing an Olympic lift. And more than likely, that lift will be the Power Clean. One of the more popular Olympic lifts, the Power Clean is a favorite of athletes—and for good reason.

Benefits of the Power Clean

Performing the Power Clean trains athletes to make explosive, athletic movements on the court and field. Blocking a lineman, rebounding a basketball and crushing a serve all engage the same muscles that are involved in the Power Clean. Your core, quads, hamstrings and glutes are the driving force behind most of the movement, while your traps and shoulders are engaged during the second pull. This exercise works the entire body.

The Power Clean is a full-body, athletic movement that can benefit any athlete in any sport. But this exercise—and all Olympic movements—are very technical and need to be taught and coached by a certified strength and conditioning professional to prevent improper form and reduce risk of injury. Below, I provide a step-by-step description of how to perform the Power Clean.

Read more: How to Perform the Power Clean

If you don't pay attention to your Deadlift technique, you can quickly derail all your hard work. Here are 10 tips on how to correct Deadlift mistakes.

RELATED: Become a Better Athlete With the Deadlift

1. Pre-Stretching. Static stretching major muscle groups prior to lifting can be detrimental to your lift and can cause injury. Stick to a dynamic warm-up with bodyweight exercises like Squats, Good Mornings and Bird Dogs before deadlifting.

2. Foot Placement. Your feet should be hip-width to shoulder-width apart. A wider stance is not only less functional, it can also compromise the spine by rounding the shoulders. The only exception to this is during a Sumo Deadlift, in which the hand grip is inside the legs.

3. Rounded or Arched Back. Obviously, a flat back or neutral spine is ideal. A kyphotic (rounded forward) or hyperextended (arched back) position can place undue stress and excess pressure on the back, and even cause injury. This also applies to the head position. Keep your spine neutral all the way through the head (do not look up).


Most athletes who spend time in the weight room think they know how to perform the Bench Press. Guess what: most of them are wrong.

The Bench is more than just pushing a bar off your chest. And if you want to press some serious weight in this exercise, you first need to understand how the body functions. One small technique error can take your body out of the proper position, costing you strength and restricting your potential gains. (Watch Ndamukong Suh perform the Bench.)

Here are the three most common technique mistakes, which silently sabotage athletes' Bench Press efforts—along with advice on how to avoid them.

Using the wrong arm angle

Read more: 3 Reasons Your Bench Is Weak

When you read the title of this article, you probably thought the writer wanted to stir the pot to his eventual demise by making such a broad statement and setting it in stone. And you'd be right.

But my opinion on this comes from a fairly balanced perspective. Sports involve movement and basically all capacities of health and skill-related fitness, on varying levels. Popular sports like football, track, basketball, baseball and hockey have something in common—they require at least some measure of explosiveness. That's absolute strength displayed in as short a time as possible.

RELATED: Squat 101: A How-To Guide With Video and Pictures

Strength is the foundation of any healthy body. Without it, we get injured and our bodies deteriorate mighty quick. We need strength for bone density, contractile tension and generally good athletic performance. Strength informs everything we do. Large, compound exercises will help any trainee increase his or her general strength, but when we're working with athletes, we have to make sure that joint health and injury prevention take priority.

You're likely expecting me to name the Barbell Snatch or Power Clean, which are admittedly the most athletic lifts. Athletes who are capable can benefit greatly from them. They're also the most complex movements in training. And sadly, most who do them are not physically prepared to do so, so they end up exacerbating muscle imbalance issues and doing more harm than good.

Read more: The Single Most Important Exercise for Athletes

The Bench Press is arguably one of the most important lifts you can perform. As a strength and powerlifting coach, I prescribe the Bench Press in my programs for upper-body strength training. Unfortunately, this exercise has a habit of aggravating the shoulders.

It is my job to make sure my clients and athletes can perform an exercise in a pain-free range of motion. I often modify the exercise based on the following criteria:

Comfort—the movement is pain-free, feels natural and works within the client's current physiology.

Control—the client or athlete can demonstrate the movement technique and body positioning as provided in each exercise description.

If you feel shoulder pain during the Bench Press, all is not lost. You can modify the exercise to accommodate your shoulder anatomy and protect your health. No one modification is universal for everyone, so we recommend trying each version to find one you can perform with comfort and control. Here's what we do.

RELATED: 3 Reasons Your Bench is Weak

Read more: How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

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