Clean and press is a highly demanding cardio and strength training workout. You need to have a lot of strength, stamina, and balance to lift the loaded barbell from the floor and raise it above your head.
If you are suffering from a shoulder or wrist injury or if you do not have enough balance to perform this Olympic move, don’t get disappointed. In this article, I will share some of the best clean and press alternatives. By doing these exercises, you will be able to target and strengthen all those muscles that are involved in the clean and press movement.
The clean and press alternatives that I am going to suggest are pretty simple, so even if you are a beginner, you should be able to do them safely in your home gym.
Are you ready?
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Shoulder Press- The best clean and press alternative for people suffering from lower back injuries
If you are recovering from a back injury or sprain or if you do not have enough arm strength to practice clean and press, you can start with shoulder press until you are ready.
It is a pretty simple exercise that can help you strengthen your core, arm, and shoulder muscles. You can use dumbbells for shoulder presses but if you already have a barbell or a curl bar, you must use that instead. A bar will help you get the same grip and movement that you get in the clean and press exercise.
Dumbbells require a lot of balancing and you end up spending most of your energy for that instead of trying to increase your reps or weight.
💡 Quick Tip: If you want to use dumbbells for shoulder press, you might be interested in the Bowflex 1090 adjustable dumbbells so you don’t outgrow them any time soon.
Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells
Deadlifts- The best clean and press alternative for people suffering from shoulder injuries
Talk to your therapist or doctor before attempting deadlifts with an injured shoulder because every injury is different and maybe yours require you to not lift weight at all.
In case you are allowed to do deadlifts, try doing them with a barbell because, as I said above, you will not have to spend your energy on balancing the dumbbells. A barbell will help you lift more and do more reps without risking an injury.
Deadlifts help target the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles; the major muscles involved in the clean and press movement. And, it is the second-best exercise for strengthening your legs and core; the first being squats.
Kettlebell swings- The best clean and press alternatives for beginners
If you have just started strength training, kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise for gaining enough strength and balance and preparing yourself for more tough full-body conditioning exercises like the clean and press movement.
You can do the swings using both hands or with one hand at a time. Try to do both the variations because each one has its own benefits. Go slow initially and keep using a heavier kettlebell as and when you feel you are ready.
💡 Quick Tip: Adjustable kettlebells are great for small home gyms as they eliminate the need for multiple sets. I recommend Titan and Peakform adjustable kettlebells because they are pretty easy to adjust and use.
Titan and Peakform adjustable kettlebells
Kettlebell snatch- A full-body conditioning clean and press alternative for people of all fitness levels
This is as explosive an exercise as clean and jerk but much easier and safer for those who are not strong enough to use a barbell. The swinging motion helps strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, quads, back muscles, arm and shoulder muscles, and the core; which means it is an advanced full-body workout.
Kettlebell swings help you get the strength and quickness that you need to do the clean and jerk exercises.
Medicine ball clean and press- The easiest and safest clean and press alternative
If you are suffering from wrist or elbow pain or injury, dumbbells and kettlebells may not be advisable for you. Medicine balls are safer and so are the clean and press that you do with them.
The process is the same as you do with a barbel and so is the outcome. You will see improved cardio health, accelerated fat loss, and toning of your muscles.
The best thing about medicine ball clean and press is that you can do them in your bedroom or living room. So, if you are too busy to go to your garage gym for a proper workout, you can do 3 reps of 30 medicine ball presses, 50 jump squats, and some pull ups before dressing up for work.
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Well, this is not the complete list of clean and press alternatives. There are many more options such as pullups, jump squats, box jumps, sumo deadlift high pulls, etc. But, I have picked up the top compound, full-body exercises that can help you get the same benefits as clean and press would.
That's it for this article. If you have any doubts or suggestions, please leave a comment or email me.