The Benefits of Clean and Press for Total Body Strength

The clean and press is a revered exercise in the world of strength training. Its dynamic nature, which involves both a pulling and pushing motion, makes it a comprehensive workout for the entire body. At Strong Healthy Dad, we understand the importance of technique and form in every exercise, and the clean and press is no exception. Let's explore the science behind this powerful movement and its myriad benefits.

Understanding the Clean and Press

The clean and press is a two-part exercise. The 'clean' involves lifting the barbell from the floor to a racked position in front of the shoulders. The 'press' then involves pushing the barbell overhead until the arms are fully extended.

Key Muscles Engaged

The clean and press is a compound movement, meaning it engages multiple muscle groups:

  • Latissimus Dorsi and Rhomboids: Engaged during the pulling phase of the clean.
  • Quadriceps and Hamstrings: Activated when lifting the weight from the ground.
  • Deltoids and Triceps: Worked during the pressing phase.
  • Core Muscles: Engaged throughout the movement for stability and balance.

Benefits of the Clean and Press

1. Total Body Workout

The clean and press engages muscles from the lower and upper body, making it a holistic exercise. From the legs and glutes to the shoulders and arms, multiple muscle groups are activated.

2. Enhanced Power and Strength

The explosive nature of the clean and press helps in developing power, especially in the lower body. The pressing phase, on the other hand, enhances upper body strength.

3. Improved Coordination

The transition from the clean to the press requires coordination and balance, helping improve neuromuscular efficiency.

4. Metabolic Boost

Being a compound movement, the clean and press can elevate the heart rate, leading to increased calorie burn and metabolic rate.

5. Functional Fitness

The movement patterns in the clean and press are similar to everyday activities, making it a functional exercise that prepares the body for real-world tasks.

Perfecting the Clean and Press Technique

To maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of injury, it's crucial to maintain proper form:

  1. Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and grip the barbell with an overhand grip.
  2. With a neutral spine, lift the barbell off the ground using the legs and hips.
  3. Transition to the racked position by rotating the wrists and positioning the barbell in front of the shoulders.
  4. Press the barbell overhead, ensuring the core is engaged and the body is stable.


The clean and press is more than just a strength exercise. It's a testament to the power of compound movements and their ability to transform one's fitness journey. At Strong Healthy Dad, we advocate for exercises that offer comprehensive benefits, and the clean and press undoubtedly fits the bill.


  1. Masterclass - Clean and Press Exercise Guide
  2. Inspire US - Clean and Press: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More
  3. Barbend - Master the Clean & Press to Improve Strength, Power, & Build Muscle
  4. Steel Supplements - How To Do The Barbell Clean and Press (Form & Benefits)