If you’re looking to pack on some lean muscle mass, the deadlift and power clean are two lifts that can help you out with that goal.
However, if you’re not sure which one is right for you, then you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we will cover all of the details you need to know about both power cleans and deadlifts to figure out which one works best for your goals!
As far as power cleans vs deadlifts go, it’s important to remember that both weightlifting and powerlifting are excellent exercises for building muscle.
So there’s no need to choose between them. In reality, you should do both—assuming you want to build big arms, a solid core, and powerful legs.
With that said, here are a few key differences between these two lifts: Power clean vs deadlift
Although power cleans and deadlifts are both weightlifting exercises, they work different muscles.
Power cleans help build mass in your back, while deadlifts work your legs, hips, and glutes.
When performing a power clean exercise, you will use lighter weights than you do with a deadlift to work on form and technique.
However, a variety of people including coaches and personal trainers debate whether power cleans or deadlifts are safer for building mass.
Power Clean vs Deadlift: What’s Better?
With their increased popularity in weight-training regimens across all fitness levels, it’s no surprise that many people have come to rely on either power cleans or deadlifts for muscle gains.
The explosive nature of the power clean does have cross-over benefits into a deadlift though for sure and performing bother regularly is definitely going to benefit both exercises in the long run.
The explosive hip drive in the clean will help improve your deadlift for sure.
And on the flip side because you can lift heavier weight with a deadlift it will improve your grip strength in clean so you can keep hold of the bar during the first pull, second pull before you pull yourself under the bar.
Power cleans and deadlifts are both great exercises to add mass to your body.
Both of these movements hit every muscle in your body in different ways.
One study showed that power cleans can improve testosterone levels more than a deadlift can which is a huge advantage when trying to put on size.
In most cases, beginners should start with a deadlift over a power clean.
It’s easier to learn and safer for beginners since you have more flexibility in your lower back.
Once you get stronger, power cleans will be an essential movement for building mass and getting stronger throughout your entire body.
Although power cleans are typically safe, it’s always good to follow proper form.
If done correctly, power cleans have less risk of injury but you could still hurt yourself if doing it incorrectly by rounding your shoulders or being too aggressive about lifting weights above your head.
Power cleans are often viewed as a more upper-body-oriented lift than deadlifts.
Some of that comes from their reputations as Olympic lifts, though it’s not really accurate since power cleans can be performed with almost any variation possible.
Power cleans utilize almost all of your muscle groups for pushing and pulling, but most people attribute its difficulty to your grip strength (not your back) more than anything else.
If there is an upper-body heavy compound lift out there, it’s probably power cleans…unless you do some weird grip variation where you don’t actually use any upper body muscles at all!
You can make power cleans easier by using dumbbells instead of barbells or by switching up your grip.
On top of that, if you want to target lower body power you can always step back in lieu of bending over when performing reps.
You’ll end up taking away some upper body exercise but focusing more on your legs when compared to how much work they get when you bend over to grab a bar.
With standard power clean exercises, which involve starting from a standing position and finishing with a seated position, one good way to think about it is that both movements involve similar overall muscular activity—though not exactly in equal proportions—and focus on building a powerful posterior chain while strengthening everything along your trunk too.
Power cleans and cleans look very similar at first glance, the difference is really just in the depth you go to.
With a clean, you are allowed you catch the bar in a full squat.
While a power clean you are not, you can however still catch the bar quite low.
For it to count as a full squat your hip crease must go below the knee.
So basically, a power clean your hip crease can’t go below your knee.
Both are equally explosive movements but the power clean gets its name because it takes power to stop yourself from dropping right in the squat position.
Explosive strength is important to work on if you are looking to improve things like vertical jump, loading up on punches, and to be honest almost any athletic movement.
The start position is the same for either clean variation the big difference is just how you end the movement.
Another variation of the clean you can look at adding to your weight training is the hang clean.
Start by lifting the bar off the ground first and holding it at knee height before going through the clean as normal.
Hang clean is a more technical exercise.
If you are looking to improve your hang clean, here are some exercises that can help.
You can use them as assistance work or you can build them into your training program for power cleans.
Variations of deadlifts, which focus on starting strength and explosive power, will help improve your hang clean.
Here are two variations to consider: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts. Stiff-legged deadlifts are one of my favorite assistance exercises for both squats and deadlifts.
They will definitely help with improving your ability to accelerate weights off of your shoulders in a variety of movements including hang cleans.
Start by grasping a barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Set your feet about 8 inches apart with your knees locked out.
Keeping most of your weight on your heels, raise up onto the ball of your feet so that only your toes are touching.
Then stand up nice and tall until you have straightened all of your lower body joints.
Next drive through your heels to pull yourself under the bar, shrug it upward using straight arms, then smoothly reverse direction by lowering back down until there is tension throughout each muscle group at each joint before moving forward again.
When doing stiff-legged deadlifts you should feel the tension in your hamstrings right away while hanging under the bar.
Concentrate on keeping your hips low, but not so low that they touch below parallel during any part of the movement.
This exercise also helps develop balance because you should feel tightness throughout every part of your leg muscles while performing stiff-legged deadlifts.
Snatch Grip Deadlifts.
Snatch grip deads are done exactly like their name implies—using a snatch grip instead of a regular overhand grip while holding either a barbell or dumbbells while doing them standing up or while sitting down inside of plates.
Start by assuming a neutral position with your feet underneath of you, upper body vertical, eyes looking forward.
Take hold of whatever load you intend to lift with an overhand grip about 12 outside of shoulder width.
Sit down if necessary to get into position—you don’t want your spine rounding forward at any time during this movement.
Keep your upper body vertical and let gravity stretch your upper lats for 2-3 seconds, then begin lifting explosively using fast, aggressive hip extension against what would normally be considered resistance from bar friction alone.
End up standing fully upright when finished.
One of the most common questions people have when they’re doing power cleans or deadlifts is, How many reps should I do?
Or how many reps per set should I do for power cleans or deadlifts?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran in weight lifting, what matters is that you get a good workout from each rep you do.
When performing deadlifts or power cleans, your form may change slightly between each rep based on fatigue level and other factors.
So it makes sense to vary your number of reps depending on what goal you are trying to achieve with your training.
One way of measuring progress in strength training is by increasing your weight while maintaining good form.
There’s no specific rule as to how much weight to increase but many trainers recommend slowly bumping up poundage’s every week or two until you feel overtrained.
To reduce your risk of injuries, always warm-up before powerlifting and maintain proper form during both power lifts and squats.
If proper form starts becoming compromised during any exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and power clean drop sets we suggest immediately stopping them until they can be resumed safely without further compromising safety precautions.
Squats: Beginning – start with 10 – 15 repetitions Squats:
Intermediate – 20 – 30 repetitions
Power Cleans: Beginner – 8-12 repetitions
Power Cleans: Advanced – 14-16 repetitions
Anyone who’s ever trained with Olympic weightlifters knows that you’ll rarely see them perform a barbell deadlift.
You might be wondering: Why would an athlete spend time in training doing deadlifts if it’s not part of their competitive routine?
It boils down to one word—safety. When performed correctly, power cleans are safer than deadlifts when it comes to spinal health.
Unlike when performing a barbell deadlift, during a power clean you don’t have to worry about over-extending your back in order to lift heavier loads.
During a power clean, you keep your back in its natural arch so that your spine doesn’t flex much at all.
Some Olympians even power clean heavy weights without any rounding of their backs whatsoever.
Furthermore, by using explosive leg power rather than just pushing up against gravity alone, you can get more out of each repetition without any added stress on your body.
Because there is less mechanical work involved with lifting lighter weights quickly and explosively (rather than slowly and consistently), power cleans can also help improve mobility and flexibility in ways that barbell deadlifts cannot do as safely and effectively.
All in all, Olympic lifters avoid deadlifting because they know that it puts unnecessary strain on important joints like the lower back and knees, which could lead to injury or inflammation down the road when training for competition is no longer a priority.
In a nutshell, powerlifting and weightlifting are similar in that they both require competitors to demonstrate maximal strength.
In a powerlifting competition, lifters attempt to lift as much weight as possible in three different lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
If you’re unfamiliar with these terms here’s a quick breakdown of each one:
Squat: This is an exercise where you load heavy weight onto your back and squat down until your legs are parallel to the floor.
When you begin performing squats it can be difficult getting down all of the ways, but with practice, it will get easier.
To make things easier on yourself while performing squats you can place a barbell across your shoulders (called back squatting) or rest the barbell on top of your shoulder (called front squatting).
These two variations also help to work different muscle groups which ultimately lead to increased muscle gains.
Bench Press: The purpose of bench pressing is simple: pick up and put down lots of weight multiple times without dropping it on yourself!
Bench pressing allows you to build up muscle mass quickly around your chest, arms, and shoulders while also improving upon other aspects such as endurance and stamina.
Deadlift: As its name suggests, deadlifts involve picking up heavy objects off of surfaces such as floors or shelves.
Deadlifts primarily focus on your lower body muscles (i.e., glutes and hamstrings), but also work many parts of your upper body including your core and arms.
Unlike most exercises listed above, deadlifting works for almost every major muscle group in your body simultaneously making it a great overall workout that builds size quickly.
Unlike powerlifters, who typically use huge amounts of weights for their workouts, weightlifters utilize considerably lighter objects in hopes of building muscles quicker than their counterparts.
Weightlifters compete in Olympic-style events centered around snatches and clean & jerks—two moves designed to rapidly build muscular strength over short periods of time.
Both powerlifting and weightlifting are considered great ways to build strong muscles, but you’ll have to choose one or the other if you want to participate in competitions or meet your fitness goals faster.
Powerlifters are built to be stronger than bodybuilders.
Both styles of lifting have their benefits, but powerlifting is actually more beneficial for increasing lean muscle mass because you’re able to push more weight, thereby stimulating muscle growth.
However, bodybuilders do have a leg up in that they are able to increase muscular endurance through methods that powerlifters can’t use, such as higher rep ranges and metabolic stress.
So both are good for building muscle mass; it just depends on what your goals are and how you want to accomplish them.
If you’re looking for size and strength, go with powerlifting; if you’re looking for endurance along with some size (and potentially less joint wear), go with bodybuilding.
If you have enjoyed this article then check out this video I posted to youtube a while back where my wife and I entered a CrossFit competition last minute!
You’ll see some cleans and deadlifts and part of that comp.
If you’re struggling for motivation with your training then why not try some new.
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