Squat Clean Weight Lifting Exercise

Squat Clean Weight Lifting Exercise

The squat clean is a compound exercise that is featured in the Olympics. Unlike isolation exercises, compound exercises utilize more than one muscle group and more than one joint range of motion. Performing the squat clean will develop power and explosive strength that can be translated over to sports like football, ice hockey, volleyball and basketball. You can also perform the squat clean with dumbbells or a kettlebell.

Load a barbell and stand behind it with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and grab the bar with your hands just wider than shoulder width and the balls of your feet directly under the bar. Have your back in an arched position.

Lift the bar off the floor and do an explosive shrug. Lift your feet off the floor when you do this part of the movement. Use the strength of your trapezius muscles, which are the large muscles of your shoulders.

Rip your body under the bar and hoist the bar onto your shoulders. Place your fingertips on the bar lightly to hold it in place. Make this movement in a smooth, fast motion. When you get the bar on your shoulders, your upper arms should be in front of your body and parallel to the floor. Your palms should be facing the ceiling.

Perform the squat. Once you have gotten the bar onto your shoulders, lower your butt toward the floor until your thighs are past parallel. Drive straight back up to a standing position.

Put the bar back on the floor. Swing the bar back around until it is hanging down by your thighs and your arms are straight. Bend your knees and lower the bar back to the floor. Repeat the squat clean three to four times.


Do all the steps of the squat clean in a smooth and controlled motion. The part of the lift where you snap the bar onto your shoulders is a violent, explosive motion. Also keep your core engaged throughout the whole exercise.

Keep the bar close to your body throughout the whole movement.

If you are using heavy weights, you can drop the bar back to the floor after you lift it instead of lowering it down.