Many people stay away from barbell cleans because they feel intimidated by the complexity of the exercise or don’t have enough wrist flexibility. Teaching cleans with a sandbag is a lot more comfortable on the wrists, easier to master and comes with far less risk. The sandbag power clean is very similar to the high pull except you’ll roll your elbows underneath the bag at the top of the exercise. This is a very explosive movement and your feet can leave the floor during the upward phase.

Teaching Points

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
    Start with the sandbag on the floor as close to your feet as possible.
  2. Keep a neutral spine, hinge at the hips whilst looking forward and down (at the horizon).
  3. Grasp the sandbag with two hands and keep the core braced.
  4. Drive down hard through the heels, explode your hips forward and squeeze the glutes.
  5. Pull the bag up high so it reaches chest level, then quickly drop your elbows under the bag and catch it on the sternum.
  6. Your elbows will be tight to the body and pointing down with your shoulders packed down.

Common Problems & Solutions
Error: Swinging the bag away from the body.
Correction: Tame the arc, the bag should go up and down in a straight line and stay close the body at all times.