The clean and press is a great exercise.
Do you have it in your program?
I find it is something that has fallen in to the shadows in recent times. That is unless you compete in Weightlifting or Strongman then this movement will not be the common.
Why should you invest some time in to learning this movement you ask?
There are many reasons ranging from the sheer amount of muscles used in the movement (pretty much the whole body), the strength you will gain by lifting a heavy weight from he floor and putting it over your head and not to mention the respect of many lifters. Just think about the impressive back and shoulders you will build from this simple movement.
It’s easy to look at the barbell variations of this lift and see how technically demanding the lift actually is, therefore for most people a good place to start is the double dumbbell clean and press. It’s easier to perform the clean and also forces your body to perform synchronised unilateral work, which also means that both sides of your body are forced to coordinate and become better activated and more involved than with a barbell. The range of motion is slightly greater than with a barbell and more ROM generally means more work, which means more results.
The dumbbell clean and press was also a very popular movement in the early days of weight lifting. Many of the founding fathers (Sandow, Park, Reeves, Stank, Grimek to name a few) used this movement with great success.
I’m not going to give you an in-depth guide on how to clean and press dumbbells because you can easily find such videos on youtube. In fact, here is one of them:
Is there a gold standard you want to be aiming for? Well yes there is, in the old days if you could do 12 reps (each rep starts from the floor) with 2x75lbs dumbbells (35kg) you were considered a true warrior of the iron. I’m not suggesting you start out with those, pick a weigh that allows you to hit the desired reps and start working on building your strength.
Warm Up Sets x2 – Clean & Press
Working Sets – 3×8-12, once you hit 3×12 add weight. Add in a set of pull ups in between each set too.
Finisher – Dips – Weighted or BW 3-5x fail
You can have this as a stand alone workout with some assistance work added in or you can do it more frequently if you wish, however you will do well to lay off Bench Press for a while and instead substitute Dips as a finisher (like above).
Now go and conquer the dumbbell clean and press.