Instructional: Dumbbell Clean
How to Do a Dumbbell Clean and Push Press
The dumbbell clean and push press is a total body exercise. It can be done for high reps or low, depending on your needs. Using high repetitions this lift will invigorate you by using every muscle in your body. With low reps, the clean and press will provide variety, and speed to your routine which probably has a lot of static strength lifts like presses, bench presses, rows, squats, leg presses and dead lifts. A century ago, this was one of the main lifts in a lifter's repertoire.
Use a dependable dumbbell, one that the plates will not slide off.The hex locked, fixed weight dumbbell or a spin locked dumbbell are good choices. The hex locked dumbbells are adjustable, but not easily, with an allen wrench. fixed weight dumbbells are solid dumbbells, they cannot be disassembled and there is absolutely no chance that a plate will fall on you (there are no plates). The disadvantage with solid dumbbells are that there is some torque because unlike the hex locked and spin lock, there is no revolving sleeve. The spin lock dumbbell has a collar that is threaded on so it is safe, and the disadvantage of this dumbbell is that the bar protrudes out on both ends.
With the dumbbell between your legs, grasp the dumbbell with your chalked (magnesium carbonate) hand.The dumbbell's initial position on the floor is between your legs (straddled). The other hand is placed on the lower thigh (of the same side the hand is on, i.e. if the dumbbell is grasped with the right hand, the left hand rests on the left lower thigh), and should also be chalked. Chalk can be bought at sporting goods stores and is used to absorb perspiration thus strengthening the grip.
Pull the dumbbell with you arm straight and with your legs and back.The other arm is bent and is pushing down on the lower thigh (this is like when your are getting out of a chair, and press your thighs with your hands, for extra strength). The pull should be accelerated up and not yanked up.
Once you have the above step wired into your nervous system, add a little backswing of the dumbbell after lifting it off the floor and before pulling.The short backswing gives the lift a little head start and feels natural because this lift, more than the hang dumbbell power clean, is elliptical in its upward path.
The back (spine) should not be twisted, or rounded or arched.The knee should track over the feet. For the initial pull the weight should be throughout the foot and not on the balls of the foot.
At the end of the pull, when your body is almost straightened, use your calves, a shoulder shrug, front deltoids and biceps to power clean the dumbbell to your shoulder.Use a slight dip at the end to get under the dumbbell.
Do not press the dumbbell yet.Stand up straight first, bend your knees and forcefully push the dumbbell to full extension with your legs, hips, lower back and the muscles normally used for pressing.
After pressing the dumbbell to lockout, lower it with control to the shoulders and to the floor between your legs.After each repetition, place the dumbbell on a foam kickboard. A hallway runner folded several times works as well to gently drop the dumbbell on. The kickboard shortens the movement a little, dampens the noise, and protects the floor. This is one repetition. Alternate with the left side hand during the set or from set to set.
Observe your back, in the bottom position, in this and other lifts to check that your back is straight and not twisted.Do not lift a dumbbell or any object with a rounded or twisted back. The spine must, for the most part, be rigid and not twisted because the spine was not made to have a lot of rotation. Rotate your body around your spine. Look at golfers when the swing their clubs, they are not rotating their spine - they are twisting their body around their spine.
Use control when lowering the dumbbell.When observing lifters lower weights, it may look like they are just letting it fall. Unless they are using bumper plates, they are actually controlling the weight on its descent to avoid damage to the floor, the equipment and to avoid damage to their shoulders and back. With a good padding on the floor, the negative would be more like a controlled drop, but nowhere close to a free fall drop used by Olympic lifters dropping their barbells with bumper plates. With too much control, in the negative, the biceps will be the weak link. Use good form when lifting and lowering the dumbbell.
- Shrugging of the shoulders and arching of the back are advanced techniques to over-compensate for heavy weights. Have an internal feel and image of your shoulder and back form ie - are they rounding or flexing too much?
- Look at videos of Olympic lifters because they use good form. Olympic lifter use a barbell, but apply to the clean and push press the body mechanics they use for their two lifts.
- This lift can be done in two sessions: session one doing the push press and session two the power clean. Even when split in two sessions, each part is still a total body lift. In session one, the dumbbell can be lifted to the shoulder with one or two hands.
- This is a complex lift, but with light weights the form does not have to perfect like when using heavy weights for a few repetitions (one to five repetitions per set). Do not relax your form too much as injury can occur thru bad form and overwork with light weights (or even no weights) too.
- The clean and push press is not the safest lift: keep your hands chalked, use good form, control the weight and do not drop the bells on your foot.
Video: How To Do A Dumbbell Clean and Jerk | Exercise Guide
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