How To Do Dumbbell Power Clean Properly

The dumbbell power clean is one of the most effective dumbbell exercises for developing explosive power and strength. It is a variation of the barbell power clean as it offers the same range of motion and cycle-time.

The exercise only requires a dumbbell for its execution. However, it has variations that require different equipment or may even require no equipment at all.

Using lighter weights can help perfect the movement quicker. However, the exercise becomes more demanding on the grip and upper-body strength at heavier weights. It is even more demanding than a similar weight on a barbell.

The movement is fit for those with intermediate physical fitness level and exercise experience. Ensure you have learnt the proper form from a trainer before performing this movement, otherwise there is a risk of injury.

Once you have mastered the correct form, the exercise can be a great movement to add some variety and intensity to your workout routine.


Here is a step-by-step procedure of how to do the exercise:

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inwards and hold the dumbbells at your waist.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes facing outwards.
  • Bending at the knees, squat downward to lower yourself until the dumbbells reach the floor. They should be at the outer sides of both feet. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the dumbbells with your lumbar curve maintained.
  • Drive forcefully out of the squat position, swinging the dumbbells upwards and catch them at your shoulders. Dip your knees slightly to absorb the weight. Keep your head up and chest open.
  • Pause for a second and take a big breath in. Extend your legs to stand tall.
  • Then lower the dumbbells to the starting position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Then pull them up to the front again.
  • Repeat the movement until you complete your set.


The dumbbell power clean is a full-body, free weights compound exercise that targets the glutes, groin, hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, outer thighs, quads and calves.

It also works the core muscles, arms (specifically the biceps to lower the dumbbells to your waist), shoulders and lats.

As the dumbbell weight is pulled from the floor and returned to the floor, the hip and knee joints are flexed and extended. Also, the shoulders, upper back and arms are used in order to support the weight as it is being lifted.


The exercise helps develop strength and functional power. It has several benefits such as improved balance, stability and exposing muscular imbalance.

Interestingly, the weight of the dumbbells and the speed of the work-out may determine whether the exercise is for strength training or a conditioning cardio exercise.

Using heavier dumbbells and going for lower reps focuses more on strength and power while lighter dumbbells and more reps focuses more on conditioning, toning and cardio.

Therefore, it can help increase athletic performance as it improves sprinting speed, vertical jump and throwing velocity.

Using dumbbells instead of a barbell can help address muscular imbalance by ensuring you do not have a side which over compensates for the other. Barbells usually hide the muscular imbalance and this could lead to injury during work outs.

Being a high-intensity exercise, it is beneficial in burning more calories which can help with loosing or maintaining weight. It also elevates your metabolic rate as the body continues to burn even more calories hours after the work out is over.

The exercise can also help improve your posture by working and strengthening your core muscles – including your shoulders and upper back.

Bad posture can be caused by weak core muscles resulting in slouching over and hunched shoulders. A strengthened core improves your posture and prevents back pain.

Another benefit of the exercise is that it helps increase your bone density levels in the upper body and legs.

Moreover, the exercise helps to improve your flexibility as you will use a full range of motion while performing the exercise.



The dumbbell clean is a progression of the dumbbell power clean and a great leg exercise. The dumbbell clean involves you doing a front squat once you’ve caught the dumbbells on your shoulder.

It will require you to develop explosive power to push through and extend back into the starting position. Additionally, it will help develop core strength for stability throughout the movement.


Once the dumbbells are on your shoulders, in dumbbell power clean and press you need to slightly bend your knees and push them straight up above your head, and then return. You can also add squatting.


The dumbbell power clean and jerk is similar to the dumbbell power clean and press.

However, during the dumbbell power clean and jerk, as you push the dumbbells up, you will need to catch them in an upright position with your knees slightly bent. Then straighten your knees to complete the position. It is more suited to heavy weights.


The dumbbell muscle clean is very similar to the dumbbell power clean. The only difference is that with the muscle clean, you do not bend your knees to accommodate catching the dumbbells on your shoulders.

You drive through the hugs and shrug the dumbbells using your strength. Lighter weights are more suitable here.


This variation involves you using one arm at a time. It allows you lift heavier weights and include squats or press.


When bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulders, avoid a big swinging movement that uses a lot of momentum. Engage your arms for a controlled movement.


The dumbbell power clean compound exercise engages both your upper and lower body. It is a versatile lift depending on the number of sets and reps and, weight of the dumbbells that helps you achieve your particular fitness goals.