Here is our "Olympic Weightlifting Test: Clean Part 1," which we use at CFSBK.  This information is based off of Greg Everett's book Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches (Second Edition). The questions and answers have been created by CFSBK for internal use at the gym and are not officially endorsed by Greg or Catalyst Athletics.

Olympic Weightlifting Test: Clean Part 1 (Key)

1. The starting width grip for the clean should be:
       a. Shoulder width
       b. Such that the bar will be in contact with the upper thigh when the athlete is standing with the bar
       c. Half a fist to one fist width wider than the shoulders
       d. Both a and b
       e. Both b and c

2. What are the benefits of the hook grip?


-Provides more contact of the thumb and the bar.

-Creates a system of balanced hooks on the bar increasing friction as the bar tries to roll out of the fingers in one direction and the thumb in the other (friction based grip).

-The resultant reduced need for grip tension reduces elbow tension and allows force from the leg and hip to more effectively be transmitted to the bar.

3. The hook grip is always used for the snatch, but is not always necessary for the clean especially since it is uncomfortable.

4. Fully describe the receiving position for the clean. Include where the barbell is, where the weight is supported, and the positions of the shoulders, scapula, thoracic spine, fingers, hands, and elbows.

The bar rests on the shoulders which fully support the weight of the bar (not the hands). The shoulders should be slightly elevated, the shoulders slightly protracted, the thoracic spine properly extended, the hands open and slightly wider than the shoulders, fingers open and under the bar as best as possible, and the elbows up as high as possible.

5. Thoracic spinal flexion is a natural and necessary part of the receiving position for the clean.


6. What are two common considerations regarding the upper extremity and the grip placement in the clean? What can the athlete do to overcome any difficulties these present?

Limb length imbalances, and large biceps. In both cases the athlete can experiment with a slightly wider grip.

7. Why might the receiving position be uncomfortable? What can the athlete do to obtain a better rack position?

It can place uncomfortable pressure on the throat and carotid artery, potentially creating dizziness for some athletes. Elevating the shoulders and slighly protracting the scapula can create a better shelf for the bar.

For the following questions, provide a brief but accurate description of the clean drill in the following format - A) the purpose of the drill, B) the starting positions, C) the actions involved, and D) the finishing positions.

8. Mid-Hang Clean Pull

       a. Brings together the aggressive knee and hip extension and isolates the joint actions of the 2nd pull, which is where the majority of the upward acceleration of the bar is created

       b. Clean width grip, hook grip in, arms internally rotated, in the mid hang position with the bar resting on the mid to top of the thighs.

       c. Extend the hips and knees aggressively while keeping the arms relaxed and the shoulders engaged to keep the bar against the body.

       d. Return immediately to a flat footed position

9. Rack Delivery

       a. Teaches the active delivery of the barbell to the rack position on the shoulders.

       b. Clean width, hook grip, scarecrow position (elbows high and above the bar with the bar in light contact with the chest), athlete standing fully upright.

       c. Pull the bar up and back to the shoulders while driving the elbows around the bar quickly, releasing the hook grip and opening the hands with the bar in the receiving position.

       d. Full front rack standing erect.

10. Tall Muscle Clean

       a. Teaches the isolated arm movement of the 3rd pull.

       b. Start in Tall Position with a clean width grip and the hook grip in.

       c. With no momentum of the knees or hips, drive the elbows up and outside through the Scarecrow position and without pausing, rack the bar as in the previous drill.

       d. Full front rack standing erect.

11. Scarecrow Clean (include: what new aspect is introduced here?)

       a. Introduces the movement of pulling under the bar including the footwork.

       b. Start in Scarecrow position.

       c. Initiate movement of the feet from the pulling position to the receiving (squat) position while performing the rack delivery drill.

       d. Receive the bar in a quarter squat or a full squat then recover.

12. Tall Clean

       a. Brings together the full 3rd pull under the bar along with the footwork.

       b. Start in the Tall Position with a clean width grip and hook grip set.

       c. Initiate movement of the feet from the pulling position to the receiving (squat) position. At the same time, with little to no momentum from the knees and hips, lean the torso back slightly and initiate the movement of the Muscle Clean to aggressively rack the bar.

       d. Receive the bar in a quarter squat or a full squat.

13. Mid-Hang Clean

       a. Brings together all the components of the progressions so far.

       b. Starts in the Mid-Hang Position with clean width grip and a hook grip in.

       c. Aggressively drive the legs into the floor to accelerate the bar upward. Actively pull under the bar while driving the elbows out to the side and keeping the bar close to the body. Finish by racking the bar on the shoulders.

       d. Bar fully racked in full or quarter squt, then recover.