If I had killed everyone who'd ever asked me why I did this lift, I'd have more bodies in my crawlspace than John Wayne Gacy, only without all of the tremendously creepy clown pictures. One, I do this exercise because it's fun, although I pretty much suck dogshit at it. Two, I do it because it's a nice break from the regular shit I do, it's lighter, so it's easier on my body after 10 workouts in a week, and no one fucking does it. Frankly, I'd much rather use this lift to build my biceps than the preacher bench- it's more fun, more anabolic, and a hell of a lot less womanly. Say what you want about it, but the one arm clean and press is one manly fucking exercise, provided you're not doing it with a light kettlebell, Gym Jones-style.
This exercise used to be a mainstay in every lifter's arsenal, much like the one arm snatch, or like the cable crossover is now. It was one of the reasons why old school lifters looked to be hard as nails, and the average gym goer looks about as tough as a pile of wet dogshit with a pink bow placed atop it.
Points of Reference (so you know how much you suck):
Milo Steinborn- 265 lb (with a jerk rather than a press)
Edward Aston- 250lb (with a jerk) at a bodyweight of 175
Kurt Saxon- 275 lb (with a bent press)
Hermann Saxon- 272 lb (with a bent press)
Maxick - 232 lb (with a jerk) at a bodyweight of 150
Hermann Goerner- 215 and 183 (with a jerk and a press, respectively)
George Hackenschmidt- 210 (with a jerk)
Everyone did this exercise back in the day, and they did it fucking well. I've pulled off a right handed one arm clean and push press thing with 145 or 155 once or twice in my life, and I felt pretty fucking good about it. I shouldn't- compared to Maxick, I'm barely even a fucking man.
As you can see from the descriptions above, there are essentially three ways to do this lift. As people far better at this lift than I have written about it, I shall defer to their instructions. Hilariously, this lift was at one time so well know that Maxick was hesitant even to describe how to do it(if you want to read his full book, and the writeup on this exercise, click that link). It'd be like telling someone how to do a barbell curl, nowadays, so he didn't want to waste his time with it. Maxick explained that you can do it one of two ways, by putting your elbow on your thigh, or your forearm on your thigh. You grab the bar in the center, stand up, hard, and then duck your elbow quickly underneath the weight using your leg as a lever to support the weight. You then either put your elbow on your thigh or pull it in tight to your waist, and prepare to push it aloft using one of the three pressing methods.
I'm not even going to try to explain how to bent press, and I don't really understand the explanations I've read, and I've no interest in spending the necessary time to figure it out (Saxon's description is linked). As such, there are essentially two other ways to get the weight up- with a jerk, and with a press. Either way, the weight should be held with a neutral grip for this, so your palm is facing the side of your head. Thereafter, you're either going to "jump" it up with a jerk or press it strictly. I'll tell you this- if you have weak wrists, there's no fucking way in hell you're doing a one-handed jerk, and if you attempt it, you're definitely fucking your wrist harder than Nick Manning's ever fucked any whore, in the history of forever. Unfortunately, the only load you're going to be dropping is the weight on your foot after your wrist collapses and you smack yourself in the temple. I speak from experience.
Dropping fucking loads.
What have we learned? We are all made to look like a pack of fucking poofters compared to old school strongmen in loincloths and those weird Roman boots. Even at our best, we about as manly as Richard Simmons happily frolicking through a forest of massive, tumescent cocks while wearing a pink tutu and singing a song about picking daisies in comparison with lifters of a bygone era. As such, perhaps it's time to pass on some curls and get down to the business of doing weird lifts with heavy-ass weight. That, or join Mr Simmons in the aforementioned scenario. Your choice.