Non-Row Alternatives to the Power Clean Non-Row Alternatives to the Power Clean

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Thread: Non-Row Alternatives to the Power Clean

  1. #1
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    Default Non-Row Alternatives to the Power Clean

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    Disclaimer: I will not be doing the power cleans. As a professional musician who has been plagued with wrist and elbow injuries, I can’t afford to play with the stress they have been causing me.

    I have reached the point where my deadlift has gotten too heavy to keep doing it every workout (1x5 @ 295). This means that I’m going to start alternating it with another exercise this Saturday.

    Rip has said time and time again that rows are not a substitute for the power clean. Given that I won’t be doing power cleans, is there any merit to exercises other than rows, which may be a little bit closer to the power clean in how they relate to the deadlift? Just brainstorming here, but but what if every other workout was a “light” deadlift day, with 2x5 @ 80%, or “speed deadlifts” with even lighter weight? Or maybe one of the variations in the book, RDLs, SLDLs, Good Mornings, etc.?

    Has anyone here not done power cleans OR rows?

  2. #2
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    Nov 2009
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    Rows are extremely different from power cleans - consider the arms! - and at least as many people do shitty rows as do shitty cleans. They aren't an easy lift to get right and make useful.

    Light deadlifts are the most common and most useful sub, especially if the reason someone is not doing cleans is that they're a physical mess. You can use a clean grip to vary the stress and make it more like the clean with respect to the start. Snatches are another sub to consider that may be more in line with what you can tolerate with your extremities. Try starting with one of these.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by stef View Post
    Rows are extremely different from power cleans - consider the arms! - and at least as many people do shitty rows as do shitty cleans. They aren't an easy lift to get right and make useful.

    Light deadlifts are the most common and most useful sub, especially if the reason someone is not doing cleans is that they're a physical mess. You can use a clean grip to vary the stress and make it more like the clean with respect to the start. Snatches are another sub to consider that may be more in line with what you can tolerate with your extremities. Try starting with one of these.
    Thank you! I am going to go with the light, clean-grip deadlifts. Programming-wise, do you think that my proposed rep/set scheme of 2x5 @ 80% of my regular working set weights is a good plan? I got this idea from the "light squat" day that gets introduced late in the program. Or would it be better to go for more sets at a lighter percentage and really focus on speed since I am using it to replace the power clean?

  4. #4
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    May 2019
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    As someone who doesn't clean due to long forearms and a bad shoulder (I can rack it but my shoulder won't tolerate that position under load) I did 80% deads for 2x5 and I'd say start there and see how it goes. I wouldn't do speed deadlifts at this point. However, I'd encourage you to learn the power snatch and see how you tolerate it. It won't be heavy enough to drive progress on the deadlift but explosiveness is a good thing to train.

    I didn't learn to power snatch until post-novice but I wish I had started earlier.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabinet133 View Post
    Thank you! I am going to go with the light, clean-grip deadlifts. Programming-wise, do you think that my proposed rep/set scheme of 2x5 @ 80% of my regular working set weights is a good plan? I got this idea from the "light squat" day that gets introduced late in the program. Or would it be better to go for more sets at a lighter percentage and really focus on speed since I am using it to replace the power clean?
    If you are adding a set (doubling your reps) while doing 80% of your regular working set, you are defeating the purpose of the light day, which is to allow you to recover between your heavy regular deadlift work sets.

    Consider your 295x5, which comes out to a total tonnage of 1,475lbs. Running 235x5x2 comes out to 2,350lbs. You may be able to run it for a few cycles, but that accumulated stress will catch up to you and you'll start dropping reps on your heavy regular deadlift sets.

    To keep with the intent of the light pull day, stick with one set of 5 for your clean grip deadlifts.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2016
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    Power snatches worked good for me. I also have used really light speed deadlifts, concentrating on snapping the bar off the floor. It seemed to work for me too, I don’t really know why, since I never really went above maybe 235lbs on them when lp deadlift was in the low-mid 400s

  7. #7
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    Apr 2020
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    Snatch grip deadlifts - check out Santana’s article on it, or block pulls perhaps.

    I have a lot of forearm and tendinitis issues and snatches were similarly as problematic as cleans for me. That is because you’re catching a heavy weight on that structure.

    I’ve found that for snatches, presses , benches , LTE and anything that requires stabilization of the wrist, putting a good pair of wrist wraps on for my heavy sets has been a huge help. They provide just enough support to help out with keeping the wrist straight, keep the area warm, and the proprioceptive feedback I get helps me realize when I am not keeping them in the correct position.

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