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Dumbbell Clean and Press

By RealJock Staff

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

This exercise converts a classic shoulder exercise, often done with a barbell or kettlebell, to take advantage of its leg-busting potential. Put squats between the elements of a clean and press for a maximized leg and shoulder workout.

Muscles Worked

Starting Position
Stand upright with dumbbells held in each hand at your sides and your palms facing inward (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, press your hips back and lower down into a squat, keeping your back flat and your weight in your heels. As you descend, keep the majority of your weight back on your heels while still applying pressure through the balls of your feet. Let your arms hang straight down from the shoulder as you squat, until the dumbbells almost touch or lightly touch the floor at the outside of your feet, with your arms passing to the outside of your shins (see Photo 2).
  2. From the bottom of your squat, explode upward, pressing forcefully through your legs to come to vertical. As your upper body rises, bend your elbows and 'snatch' the dumbbells up to your shoulder level by dragging them up the front sides of your body and flicking them up to catch them in your palms at shoulder level, with your hands facing inward (see Photos 3 to 5).
  3. Keeping the weights at your shoulder, lower yourself once again into a deep squat, again being careful to keep your back flat and your shoulders no further forward than your knees (see Photo 6).
  4. Once again from the squat, push explosively back to standing, now using your upward momentum to bring the weights from your shoulder level to straight up overhead in a shoulder press. Your arms will be extended directly upward, with palms facing each other (see Photos 7 and 8).
  5. Bend your elbows to lower the weights to your shoulder, and from there lower them again to your sides. Repeat the entire sequence for a set of 12 clean and presses.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.