WATCH: The Biggest Mistakes of the Strongman Axle Clean and Press

TAGS: rpgoram, weightlifting clean, Strongman Axle Clean and Press, poor programming, strongman training, clint darden

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Sharing more training wisdom from the House of Biceps, today's Clint Darden video focuses on the axle clean and press. In response to an influx of questions regarding the axle clean and press in strongman, Clint decided to address the two biggest mistakes that strongmen competitors often make in training and in competition. The first mistake is technical, while the second is programming.

First, Clint says that there are certain technical mistakes that he sees all the time, and in fact, they are the same mistakes he often makes himself. One of the biggest is attempting to clean the axle the same way that a weightlifter would clean a weightlifting bar. In the strongman clean, the back should bend and the hips should hinge to lift the bar. This does not look like a weightlifting clean, for which the lifter moves around the bar.


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Furthermore, while a weightlifter tucks their lats and wrists once the bar passes their knees, a strongman must continue to pull upward with their back, hinging with their biceps, and pulling it up to the rack position. In weightlifting, the bar has the power and the body will move around it. In strongman, your body has the power and the bar will move around it. Clint visually demonstrates both methods and explains in detail why the axle clean must be approached differently than a weightlifting clean.

With this in mind, Clint gives a few rules:

  • Set up much closer to the bar.
  • Keep your weight on your heels.
  • Use your back and glutes to get the bar into a deadlift position above the knees.
  • Pull with your back and hinge at your arms to get the axle above your stomach.
  • Jump up and out.
  • Catch the bar in the press position.

The second mistake that strongmen often make with the axle clean and press is poor programming. Clint suggests learning from weightlifters to best understand how to train the clean and press. There are principles that carryover, and you should be using them. Specifically, Clint talks about certain methods such as training the movement more frequently or with varying intensity levels throughout the week. He reminds not to forget to train the lifts with more volume when necessary and to constantly search for a way to improve your technique. You can use much lighter weights on the axle to get in more reps with the movements, or even go light enough to use it as an active recovery day. This will not only improve your strength, but it will also help you learn to pull more with your back and less with your biceps, avoiding the biceps tears that many strongmen suffer.

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