The split clean was the traditional form of the clean until the 1950s and 1960s when the squat style now used today began to take over. Its primary use now is by masters lifters with limited mobility or injuries.
The split clean is performed in the same way as the squat clean
, but rather than moving under the barbell into a squat receiving position, the athlete moves under in a split position. Unless an athlete is practiced in this movement, a very deep split is unlikely because of the required flexibility and foot speed.
The primary modern use of the split clean is to make cleaning possible for masters lifters or those otherwise limited in their mobility or positions due to inflexibility or injuries. However, the lift can also be used as a way to include more split footwork training for the jerk without adding additional exercises—for example, a lifter who needs split practice may perform split cleans where another athlete would perform power cleans, thereby addressing both purposes with a single exercise.
If the split clean is the main clean variation used by the athlete, the programming for the lift is the same as for the squat clean
. It can also be used in a similar manner as the power clean
as a less taxing clean variation for lighter training days, or as a split footwork technique exercise. In the latter case, sets of 1-3 reps are recommended.