The clean deadlift is a pull variation with a controlled speed into a standing position rather than a complete extension onto the balls of the feet like the clean pull.
Set your clean starting position tightly and initiate the lift by pushing with the legs against the floor. Shift your weight back slightly more toward the heels as the bar separates from the floor, and maintain approximately the same back angle until the bar is at mid-thigh. At mid- to upper-thigh, your shoulders should be at least slightly in front of the bar. Finish extending the knees and hips to achieve a standing position with the bar at arms’ length, making sure to keep the quads, glutes and abs tight. The body should be extended slightly behind vertical to maintain slightly more pressure on the heels than the balls of the feet. Return the bar to the floor under control.
There is no set speed for the clean deadlift. Some lifters will perform them fairly quickly, but they will always be slower than the clean pull. A more controlled speed will improve postural strength development and balance practice. Straps are used for the lift unless a lifter is intentionally using the lift to also train grip strength. Often after reaching the top, lifters will return the bar to the floor by dropping it. Maintaining some control, even if not a particularly slow speed, will increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
The clean deadlift is the most basic strength development lift for the pull of the clean. Lifters will be able to manage somewhat heavier weights than in the clean pull, and the slower speed will allow more focus on posture, position and balance, so that these things can also be strengthened and practiced. In addition to a basic strength builder, the clean deadlift can also be used as a remedial exercise to practice balance and position in the pull, or as part of a learning progression for the clean.
Generally the clean deadlift should be done for 2-6 reps per set anywhere from 80%-120% of the lifter’s best clean depending on the lifter and how it fits into the program. In any case, the weight should not exceed what the lifter can do with reasonably proper positioning—if being used for posture, position and balance training, weights need to be controlled to allow perfect positioning and movement. As a heavy strength exercise, it should be placed toward the end of a workout. With lighter weights, it can be used before cleanes as a technique primer.
The clean deadlift can be performed standing on a riser, with either a static start or dynamic start, with or without straps, as a partial deadlift from blocks, and with prescribed concentric and/or eccentric speeds. Slower eccentric speeds in particular will increase the strengthening of pulling posture and back arch strength.
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