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The clean and press is a two-part weight training exercise whereby a loaded barbell is lifted from the floor to the shoulders (the clean) and pushed overhead (the press). The lift was a component of the sport of Olympic weightlifting from 1928 to 1972, but was removed due to difficulties in judging proper technique.
In the clean movement, after taking a big breath and setting the back, the lifter jumps the bar up through triple extension (in very quick succession) of the hips, knees and then ankles. When the legs have driven the bar as high as possible, the lifter pulls under the bar by violently shrugging (contracting) the trapezius muscles of the upper back ("traps") dropping into a deep squat position and spinning the hands around the bar so the elbows are extended in front.
At the same time, the arms are brought up with the elbows extended in front of the chest so the bar may now lie across or "rest" across the palms, the front of the shoulder or deltoid muscles, and the clavicles. At this point the lifter should be in a full squat position, with his buttocks on or very close to the heels, sitting erect with the bar resting comfortably across the deltoids and fingers. By keeping a rigid torso and maintaining a deep breath hold the bar bends over the lifter's clavicle.
The improvement in construction of modern weightlifting bars has greatly increased this springing action compared with bars used in the first half of the twentieth century. This springing action is used to rebound from the full bottom squat position. This is commonly known as a front squat.
Once the bar is on the anterior deltoids, the lifter proceeds to an overhead press. Eventually the technique was to stand erect, then dip in the knees slightly and spring up with the legs and back, pressing upwards. From there, the lifter would drop back into a layback position to receive the weight past the sticking point. Finally, the lifter would stand erect with the weight locked out at arms' length overhead. All of this is done within a matter of a couple of seconds. During the Olympics, many lifters lie back while pressing. That is said only because there were a few lifters who did not lean back to receive the weight overhead. Of course, that is because that stricter form of pressing could not get as much weight as the far looser style of pressing employed by the champions, which allowed much more weight to be pressed.
Removal from the Olympics
The International Weightlifting Federation removed the clean and press after the 1972 Olympics due to difficulty in judging form. The press portion of the lift had evolved from an upright, rigid body movement to a "layback" movement that involved the larger muscles of the legs, hips, and torso, enabling the lifter to "cheat" to lift more weight. "The urge to win by any means, combined with lax enforcement of rules" resulted in its removal from the Olympic weightlifting program.
- Fair, John D. (2001). "The Tragic History of the Military Press in Olympic and World Championship Competition, 1928-1972". Journal of Sport History. 28 (3): 345. doi:10.2307/43610198. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
- "Clean and Jerk". exrx.net. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "EXPLORING THE BIOMECHANICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WEIGHTLIFTING JERK". academia.edu. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Clean". exrx.net. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Push Press". exrx.net. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Olympic Press Techniques: The Way They Did It Before 1972
- The Tragic History of the Military Press in Olympic and World Championship Competition, 1928-1972, John Fair (Department of History and Geography, Georgia College & State University), Journal of Sport History, Fall 2001 vol 28 No3, pp 345–374