5 Reasons Your Hang Clean Sucks

The hang clean will build unmatched power—if you do it properly.

By Lee Boyce, CPT, Muscle & Fitness

We disagree with those who say Olympic lifts are too technical. Yes, they require a rare blend of speed, power, coordination, and timing. and that is precisely why you should add them into your program.

To start, try the hang clean. This Olympic lift variation builds serious shoulder and upper-back strength while increasing your explosive power and hip drive-as long as you do it right. Do it wrong, however, and you might as well just stick with upright rows.

Fix your hang clean by avoiding the mistakes listed in the following slides.


You Pull With Your Arms

The hang clean requires triple extension. That is, you bend your knees and drive through your feet, then you shrug your shoulders and hop under the bar to land in the front-rack position. To eliminate the urge to pull with your arms, try armless cleans. Hold the bar and “dive” under it into your catch without using any first pulls.


You Lift Too Light

Going heavier sounds like the enemy—and it is, for most exercises. But something as complex as an Olympic lift actually provokes better form when there’s a little load. Using your whole body to crank out a perfectly timed lift can be a fruitless endeavor if you’re too strong for the empty bar. Use a safe weight that you can still feel.


Your Rack Position Needs Work

A weak rack position, in which your elbows dip forward, can cause you to drop the weight. The answer here usually lies in mobility and flexibility. Focus on mobility of the lats and triceps by performing drills to improve thoracic spine extension. This will help you stand taller and bring your elbows higher as you catch the bar.


You Start With The Bar Too Low

A hang clean is meant to start just above the knees—not six inches off the floor. If you begin with the bar too close to the floor, then you risk activating the wrong muscles and reducing your power output. Even if it means taking the weight down a notch, start higher and make that movement snappier. Your lower back will also thank you.


Your Setup Is Poor

Olympic lifts are about getting from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible: a straight line. Having too wide of a stance or too wide of a grip can screw up this path. Start with a hip-width stance, and place the hands just a couple of inches outside the legs on the bar. It’s OK to slightly jump and stomp the floor when catching a clean, and landing a bit wider with the feet is reasonable. But make sure the added width happens only at the end—not in your setup.

See more at: Muscle & Fitness

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Men's Magazine: 5 Reasons Your Hang Clean Sucks
5 Reasons Your Hang Clean Sucks
The hang clean will build unmatched power—if you do it properly.
Men's Magazine
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