New Love: The Clean and Press

challenge workouts

Being injured is a bummer to say the least, but it does stretch my training creativity. I have to try to find ways to train around an injury, still get an intense workout while not doing further damage to my injury.

Sometimes I fail….that is, I aggravate the injury or I don’t get as intense a workout as I’d like. But even if I get a half-a$$ed workout in, I feel better than no workout at all.

Note to everyone: never stop training, even if you have an injury. There’s always something you can do and it helps keep you focused. I know my eating and sleeping habits are better when I’m training, even when I have a 60% workout.

I’m in the process of healing up my elbow: medial epicondilytus (no matter how I spell check it, it seems to be spelled wrong). What this means is my elbow hurts 😉 Too much pulling and upper body work because I have a little knee thing going…torn lateral meniscus.

The good news is that my knee is feeling loads better. I’ve been doing some cycling and that seems to help with range of motion, pain management, everything. Cycling is a great exercise that brings blood and healing to things like cartilage that isn’t very vascular.

Now I’m able to train legs a little harder again so I can rest my elbow. I’m slowly introducing more upper body exercises in, icing and rolling the elbow as well as ART to help the healing there. That’s a completely new blog post…

challenge workouts

I had the good fortune to be in the gym one day when I spotted a dude doing the best clean and presses I’d ever seen. My policy in the gym is to be totally snooty. If you meet me there, you’ll think I’m very stuck up because I don’t talk to anyone, I just go about my workout solo, ear buds in (truthfully I don’t always even have music playing and I must say that if anyone ever were talk to me in the gym, I wouldn’t ignore them, I just prefer to get my workout on and get out.)

In this case, I decided to break my snooty rule.

I wanted to ask for some pointers on the clean and press. This dude was teaching another guy and I had never done one before and could use some tips. (I’ve actually never done any Olympic style lifting of any sort.)

Thankfully the dude didn’t exercise the same snooty rule as me and was happy to help.

challenge workouts

So I asked for some tips. We started with a 30 lb bar but soon found out that it’s best to have a little more weight to get the proper feel. I just did the Olympic bar, a sufficient weight but not too much, and I practiced the move. It was at the end of my workout and the dude noticed that I was doing a giant set that included burpees. He said, ‘the clean and press will be as intense as your burpees’. Yay. How could I not love the clean and press already?

I couldn’t wait to add it to a workout.

The next time out, I decided to throw the clean and press into a workout.

Here was my workout:

Set the gymboss for 1 min work/15 sec transition:

  • 65 lbs clean and press (this is not an impressive weight, but it was a good weight to continue to perfect my form)
  • 35 lb plate swing
  • 65 lb reverse alternate lunge
  • Skip 1 min
  • 25 push ups and in the remaining time finish off the minute with as many calf raises on the leg press as possible (with 185 lbs)

I repeated this giant set 4 times with no rest (the beauty of the gymboss…) The workout was just over 25 minutes.

I love the clean and press, I’d like to work up to my body weight but will likely take some time to get there. My elbow and knee will have to be healed before I can do that.  Here’s a video of what the clean and press looks like:

Here are the stages of the clean and press:

  • Deadlift bar from the floor
  • Upright row and switch hand positions to get into front squat position
  • Front squat
  • Press up (or front shoulder press)
  • Return bar to floor

Turns out the clean and press is a great movement to increase overall body strength and it really kicks a$$ in terms of intensity. It will tax your cardiovascular system as well. And my elbow felt pretty good doing the press, the weight was light enough that the deadlift didn’t aggravate it. All around good times…

Your thoughts?