The power clean is good for golf

I love golf. Love it. I am relatively OK at the game as my handicap is around 4 or 5. This means when I play I usually shoot four or five over par in an 18 hole round. Sometimes I shoot in the 80’s but I am usually in the 70’s.

My horn has been tooted.

I read Golf magazine among others and in one of the more recent issues they prescribe the power clean as a tool to increase power. The power clean certainly does that, without question. World Class sprinters use the power clean to increase their power and if it increases their power it can certainly help increase your yardage in your golf game.

The problem with the power clean is that it is complicated. If you want to do it right and get the full effect of the exercise you need instruction and practice and in the issue of Golf magazine I am talking about they horribly oversimplify the movement.

photoThe drawing of the power clean (#4) is ridiculously oversimplified. The description of the movement is also horrid.

From a squatting position and holding onto a barbell, quickly stand up. Then bend your arms and thrust the barbell to shoulder height.

I can see a bunch of 50something’s at the gym doing this movement as described and doing nothing more than some sort of reverse bicep curl with bad squat form. I’m sure it will look awfully disjointed and uncomfortable. I bet it also leads to many back injuries because those attempting to do this movement for the first time, and based on this incomplete instruction, will have rounded backs and their lower back will take a hit because of bad form.

The picture below is a squat clean which differs from a power clean in that when performing a power clean your hips should not drop past your knees as you pull yourself under the barbell. The picture below certainly shows how much more complicated a clean is than one would be led to believe by the pictures above.

Before performing a complicated, multijoint, lift like the power clean one should master the squat and deadlift prior to attempting. Once you have those movements mastered then you can get into the lift, shrug and pulling yourself under the bar and letting the barbell land in a good rack position before standing erect. It is a very fast movement with lots of moving parts and if done correctly and with excess load can be dangerous.

I love the power clean, love it. Maybe my favorite Oly lift next to the hang varieties. It feels powerful and lifting a bunch of weight from the ground to your shoulders feels great. But you need to be sure not to hurt yourself! Golf should consider its reader base and realize that many of the individuals reading this are not going to the gym with proper instruction and performing lifts like this under a trained and watchful eye. Instead of increasing the yardage of their drives they might end up hurting themselves and taking a few weeks (or months) away from golf to heal.


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