• Photo for Barbell Clean and Presses
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Barbell Clean and Presses

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

The barbell clean and press is an excellent but advanced shoulder exercise, so start with only a bar and no weights until you have mastered the motion. Since the bar is not stabilized, you must make sure that you have enough strength to control the weight through your entire range of motion. Err on the side of lighter weight—you can always add weight, but using too much seriously risks injury.

Muscles Worked
Shoulders (traps)

Starting Position
Stand upright behind an Olympic bar, with or without weights. Your feet should be about shoulder distance apart. Grab the bar with hands also shoulder distance apart and your palms toward you. Bend your knees slightly and engage your center, so that you are in a modified squat position, with back flat and your weight over your heels (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, lift the bar in a swift upward motion toward your chest, coming up to standing upright as you do so, and bending your elbows up and back as though doing an upright row (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. Once the bar reaches your chest height, quickly flip the bar in your hands so that the bar is held in your hands with your palms facing upward instead of downward. Be careful to keep your wrists engaged to prevent injury (see Photos 4 and 5).
  3. Next do a shoulder press, driving the bar powerfully upward over your head, until your arms are fully extended. Hold in the extended position for one second, and then reverse your motion, bringing the bar back to chest level, switching your grip to make your palms face you, and lowering the bar back to the starting position. Throughout this motion, you must make sure your abs and core stay engaged to protect your back (see Photo 6 to 8).
  4. When the bar is set back on the floor, reverse direction and move immediately into your next rep.
About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.