What Muscles Are Worked in Power Cleans?


Power Cleans are a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups in the body. This explosive movement involves lifting a barbell from the floor to the front rack position, combining elements of strength, power, and coordination. Let’s take a closer look at the muscles that are primarily involved in this powerful exercise.

1. Quadriceps

The quadriceps, located in the front of the thigh, play a significant role in power cleans. As you lift the barbell off the ground and extend your hips and knees, the quadriceps contract to provide the initial explosive force and drive the movement.

2. Hamstrings

The hamstrings, located at the back of the thigh, act as synergists during power cleans. They work in conjunction with the quadriceps to extend the hips and flex the knees, allowing for a powerful upward movement.

3. Glutes

The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are heavily involved in power cleans. They are responsible for hip extension, which is crucial for generating power and explosiveness during the lift.

4. Trapezius

The trapezius, a large muscle that spans the upper back and neck, is involved in the initial pull of the power clean. It helps to elevate and retract the shoulder blades, providing stability and control during the movement.

5. Deltoids

The deltoid muscles, located in the shoulders, are activated during the power clean to assist in the upward movement of the barbell. They play a crucial role in stabilizing the shoulder joint throughout the exercise.

6. Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscles, situated along the spine, assist in maintaining an upright posture and stability during the power clean. They help to extend the back and prevent excessive forward lean during the lift.

7. Core Muscles

The core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, provide stability and power transfer during the power clean. They help to maintain proper posture, control the movement, and protect the spine.

8. Forearms

The muscles of the forearms, including the flexors and extensors, are actively engaged during power cleans. They help to grip the barbell securely and maintain control throughout the lift.

9. Calves

The calf muscles, specifically the gastrocnemius and soleus, are involved in the power clean as they assist in ankle plantar flexion. This movement helps to generate power during the initial pull and transition phase of the exercise.

10. Hip Flexors

The hip flexor muscles, including the psoas major and iliacus, play a role in hip flexion during the power clean. They assist in bringing the knees up and forward, contributing to the explosive upward movement of the barbell.

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