No catch with this power lift…

During the hockey off-season, I use the Olympic lifts with our skaters and goalies. We use do Power Cleans with the barbell and typically do single arm DB Snatches. Although we work on t-spine and lat mobility on an almost daily basis in the gym, some athletes still struggle to ‘catch’ the barbell in the proper position at the end of their Power Clean.

They let their elbows drop down and instead of catching the weight on the front of their shoulders with their elbows up they catch it in their wrists with their elbows down.

…and then they say “that one hurts my wrists” – duh.

We used to have them work on DB Power Cleans until their mobility improved, but they were often limited in how much load they could use because catching the DBs got pretty awkward at heavier loads.


The step-by-step off-season training program for forwards and d-men. Strength. Speed. Stability. Stamina.

So now, I just have them do a High Pull. We don’t waste weeks having them lift light loads waiting for their mobility to improve.

I actually really like the High Pull and I have toyed with the idea of having everyone do these rather than Power Cleans because it gets everything we are trying to get from this Olympic lift – the power application from the entire posterior chain.

You see the catch is one of the most technical parts of the clean – getting under the bar quickly, not smashing it off your collarbones – so this eliminates that part of it and let’s the athlete just worry about being explosive.

The reason I have not done that yet is that I know some of those players will go on to college or pro careers and their off-ice training program will include Cleans and I do not want that player to be learning this complex lift at that point in their career.

So if you have trouble catching your Power Clean, keep working on your wrist, t-spine and lat mobility and in the meantime give the High Pull a try.

Here’s exactly how to do it…

If you cannot see the video above, just click the link below…

How many?

Remember, this is a power exercise, you do not use it for stamina training, so you will start with 3 sets of 3 reps and build up to 4-6 sets of 2 reps.

Start easy until you get the technique and remember that it is a hip hinge exercise, not a back extension exercise.  You will keep a stable torso and drive your hips forward as you pull the bar up.

Happy power!


PS – if you have just finished school and are starting to think about your off-season training, you better stop thinking and start doing…tick, tick, tick… the season will be here before you know it.