Exercise: Dead Clean

Here’s a challenging and core strengthening exercise that will immediately yield transferable benefits for your functional strength.  Until you’ve lost your core strength, you’ll never fully appreciate the need for developing it.  If you have lower back or pelvic floor injuries, I do not recommend you trying this until you rehabilitate those injuries.  For all you with healthy, strong cores – let’s take it to the next level.


  • Follow all of the principles that were described in the “Clean” (last week’s exercise of the week).
  • Place the KB between your feet. (Figure 1)
  • Sit back and reach down with your hand for the handle.  Do not look down; look straight ahead.  Keep your shins nearly vertical.
  • Inhale and pressurize your abdominals, as you firmly grip the handle.
  • Push through your heels and explode up – generating power from your quads and glutes. (Figure 2)
  • Keep your chest open and shoulders squared off.
  • Let the KB fly up vertically, leading with your elbow.
  • Now contract your lats, squeeze your triceps to your ribcage, and allow the KB to “roll over” and gently land cradled in the “V” between your forearm and bicep. (Figure 3)
  • Exhale as you “receive” the KB in the top/finished position. (Figure 4)
  • Return the KB down to the floor following the same path it did on the way up.


  • Drop down to a lighter KB when cleaning from the floor.
  • Do not look down; feel for the handle instead.
  • Add the “Dead Clean” into your routine gradually – don’t overdue this one!
  • Sit “back” rather than “down”; keeping your shins as vertical as possible.


  • Repeat for reps on one side; then on the other.
  • Alternate sides with each repetition.
  • Add a squat thrust in between each “Dead Clean”.
  • Add a jerk to make it a “Dead Clean & Jerk”.
  • Combine them all:  Squat Thrust, Dead Clean & Jerk.


  • Intensifies the contraction of the core.
  • Develops explosive power of the legs and glutes.
  • Taxes your cardiovascular system when performed for high reps.
  • The “no momentum” start from the floor requires strict form and will expose any flaw or weakness.

Huge carry over to sports and professions that depend upon functional fitness.