man picking up a barbell

The Power Clean: Every Dad’s Secret Fitness Weapon

Being a dad is a physically demanding role: yes, moms go through the ringer when it comes to giving birth, but as a responsible dad, it’s your job to spend equal time raising your child. And in a lot of instance, ‘raising’ them can mean both metaphorical and figurative.

Heck, there’s a phase in every toddler’s life that we’re all familiar with: the running stage. This is that point in time where your child has figured out how to move their legs at a surprising pace, and surprising is what it is: take your eyes off my toddler for 2 seconds and he will literally run as fast as Usain Bolt away from me. I mean, maybe not literally, but that’s definitely what it feels like!

In between chasing after your child and playing with them, every Dad is going to need to keep in shape: after all, your health as a father matters. But if you’re an active parent who does their best to spend quality time with the kids and hold down a 9-to-5, where do you find the time to keep yourself in tip-top shape?

Thankfully, there’s an easy exercise that you could do that could work out your entire body and make you harder, faster, stronger, and more importantly, more powerful: the Power Clean.

What Is a Power Clean?

man demonstrating transitions to a power clean

The Power Clean is an Olympic bodybuilding move that involves quickly lifting a weight –be it dumbbells or a barbell – off the ground and having them land on your shoulders. It sounds simple enough, but it actually incorporates a whole bunch of exercises into a single, fluid motion that will leave you breathless and sore after just a few reps.

But with that fatigue comes explosive power: the Power Clean is designed to be done fast and explosive, training your muscles to very quickly provide you with power and velocity whenever you need to (and, if you have a toddler, you’re going to need it very often). Of course, it also helps you build up your strength, but the Power Clean is more about training your body to lift heavy weights in a single, quick motion.

Think of it as training yourself to very quickly lift your child away from danger and dash them to safety, whether it’s hanging out at home or if you’re venturing outdoors with the family.

What is Power Clean Good For?

The Power Clean is one of the most perfect workouts for Dads because it allows you to train your body quickly and effectively. Because the Power Clean is a highly technical move, most trainers will only suggest doing around 5 sets of 5 reps at a time, which, coupled with some light cardio and some medium weight training, should take up around an hour of your day, maybe even less.

You see, unlike your other weighted workouts, the Power Clean’s strength and power benefits are brought out without having to put on added weight. This is because the Power Clean is less about lifting heavy as it is lifting explosively.

But perhaps the best part of the Power Clean is the psychological aspect of it: because it’s an ‘explosive’ workout that requires you to just grab your weights and lift as quickly and as effectively as possible, it trains you to go from zero to a hundred, allowing you to call up high levels of voluntary strength and power at will. Of course, this is a great mindset to have if you’re an athlete, but for Dads, this could become a life-saving skill.

How to Power Clean

As with most weight lifting programs, the amount and frequency of your workouts that involve Power Cleans will depend very much on your goals, and if you’re on a dad blog, that goal is probably going to be two-fold: at minimum, you just want to be strong enough that you don’t feel a stabbing sensation on your side while you try to chase your 2-year old down the street.

At best, of course, you’ll want to be the physical embodiment of strength and power for your child/ren. Of course, the goal is to be a good parent, but y’know having your child think you’re literally Superman is great, too!

Either way, the Power Clean should be the main focus of your workout, but it shouldn’t be the only thing in your workout. Try to incorporate one or two other full-body exercises with your Power Cleans, but make sure that the other workouts are a little less demanding. Here’s an example:


  • 3 sets of Jump Ropes (1 minute each set)
  • 3 sets of Jumping Jacks (50 reps each set)

Main Workout:

  • 2 sets of 5 reps of Power Cleans (with very light weights)
  • 3 sets of 5 reps of Power Cleans (with moderate weights)
  • 1 set of 5 reps of Power Cleans (with 70%-80% of your Personal Best)


  • 3 sets of 1 minute Farmers Walks (50% of your Personal Best)
  • 10 minutes of dynamic stretching

This is just an example of a workout, but done properly, this would take up around 45 minutes to an hour of your day, and because it’s a fairly physically demanding workout, this is a regimen that you should only do around 3 times a week.

The Power Clean is Every Dad’s Secret Weapon

The Power Clean is quite a technical move, one that you shouldn’t be attempting if you haven’t mastered the other workouts that comprise it: the deadlift, shoulder shrugs, squats, standing shoulder presses, among other things. And even when you’ve mastered these individual moves, attempting a power clean should start with very light weights, with some trainers even suggesting starting with a zero bar.

Only when you’ve perfected the movement should you begin to add weights, and even then, starting with just 5-pound increments, building up very slowly to 80% of your Personal Best (i.e. the heaviest weight you can do 1 perfect rep of).

But when done properly, it’s an extremely rewarding exercise and a great addition to your self-care routine as a parent, and it’s one that helps you become stronger and more powerful, and teaches you to go from relaxed, barbecuing-and-beer-drinking mode to crisis-emergency-hero-mode at the snap of a finger. And when you have a toddler, you’re going to need it.

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