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Develop Your Rack Position For Cleans!

The importance of the Power and Olympic squat, right here. Yes, wrist strength, lat strength, and flexibility are important, however... the hips and back are where the holding ability begins. Get the basics of these exercises right here.

I recently wrote an article for comparing the variations of the Squat:

  • Olympic Variation
  • Power Variation

Side Comparison Of Power And Olympic Squats!
No other exercise in the athlete’s arsenal is as necessary as the squat. There are also several ways to do this exercise. Which is best?

While I do not want to rewrite the article, I have read several questions lately on the forum that are referring to the front squat and "rack" position of a clean or power clean.

While things like good wrist strength and flexibility are a necessity, as is good lat flexibility (to hold elbows up), the ability to hold a good position starts with the hips and back.

A power squat position puts a lot of emphasis on the posterior hips, which is beneficial for powerlifting. It is almost impossible to do front squats and squat cleans using this technique. On the other hand, the power squat does allow the lifter to squat greater amounts of weight.

The Olympic lifter needs more mobility, and the Olympic squat position allows that. It also allows greater position of the trunk for front squats and cleans. However, an athlete usually cannot squat as much weight using this technique.

Using the Olympic squat technique, the trunk is much more upright which in turn allows the upper back to be in a better position to hold the weight, the elbows to stay parallel to the ground, and the wrists to support the weight. Talk about a chain reaction!! Start with the right stance and the "rack" or front squat is much easier.

Photo A

    Power squat stance left and Olympic squat right. The Power squat uses a "low bar" position on the back, wide stance, and feet a little more straight ahead. The Olympic squat uses a stance with heels closer together, feet turned out more, bar higher on the back. Arrow refer to the bar height, angle drawing referring to leg angle from midline.

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Photo A: Power Squat Stance & Olympic Squat.

Photo B

    Power squat (L) and Olympic Squat (R). Note the distance between the heels.

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Photo B: Heel Distances.

Photo C

    Power squat set up (L) and Olympic set up (R) from the side - Note the hip angle.

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Photo C: Hip Angles.

Photos D & E

    Because of the differences in the stance in Photos A through C, and bar position, there is much more mobility in the Olympic squat (R) than the Power squat. Note greater knee bend in the Olympic squat and less forward bend at the trunk.

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Photo D: Mobility.

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Photo E: Mobilty.

    Now using the correct hip position allows for the front squat to be performed properly with much less stress on the arms and wrists.

Photo F

    Front squat position or clean "rack" position and overhead squat position or catch position of the snatch. These can not be done properly using the power squat position because the trunk has to stay more upright and more mobility in the lower body.

Click To Enlarge.
Photo F. Front Squat Position & Overhead Squat Position


This article is not written to promote the Olympic squat over the Power squat, but if you are wanting to do front squats, cleans, overhead squats or snatches, then you should learn and use the Olympic version.

Please send questions or comments to:
Chris Scarborough