HomenewsHang Cleans: Correct Form, Variations and Common Mistakes

Hang Cleans: Correct Form, Variations and Common Mistakes

Hang clean is a variation on the power clean. The word “hang” refers to the starting position. Instead of starting on the ground, the weight is lifted in front of your body. It works many muscles, making it an excellent addition to strength training.

Also known as: Hang power clean

Targets: Back, glutes and legs

Equipment Needed: Barbell

Advanced Level

How to do a hang clean

You will need to load the barbell with the right weight for you. Place the barbell on the ground in front of yourself. Place your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Pull your shoulders up.

Grab the barbell using a hook grip. Hook grip refers to a grip that places the palms on the body of the barbell. However, the thumb hooks around it (closer than your body) and is held under your four fingers.

To stand up, push your heels forward. Keep the bar near your shins and bring it to your mid-thigh. As shown above, your arms should be fully extended.

Bend forward at your hips and push your butt back. Then lower the bar to just below the knee height. Keep your spine neutral and keep your eyes forward. Do not allow your knees or hips to move forward.

Keep your hips straight while lowering the body into a squat. You can also shrug your shoulders while you snap your elbows forward and raise the bar so that it almost touches your chest. This will allow you to “catch” the bar at chest height in front of your shoulders.

Stand up while keeping your bar in front of your neck.

To return the bar to its original position (middle-thigh), lower the bar with control.

The exercise involves constant movement, in which you move from one position to another. For greater effect, you can use a pause to transition between positions.

Hang Clean has many benefits

Hang clean is a complete-body exercise. There are several joint actions involved in the hang clean. The primary muscles that are activated include the gluteus maximus and quadriceps, hamstrings as well as the trapezius, trapezius.

The hang clean is a powerful exercise that promotes strength, power and speed.

The hang clean can help you with functional fitness, such as lifting heavier items off the ground. It promotes a healthy posture and can reduce the risk of developing back problems.

There are other variations of a hang clean

To better match your fitness level and goals, you can modify the hang clean.

Front Squat with Rack Grip for Beginners

This lower-body exercise involves holding the barbell in a front-rack position. It eliminates the explosive part of the hang clean. This will allow you to increase your lower body strength and confidence, before moving on to more advanced movements.

Standing straight, place your feet hip-width apart. Grab the bar with a hook grip. Move it to a front-rack position. The bar should rest in front of your neck and cross your shoulders. Do squats while holding the bar.

Hang Clean High Pull

Hang clean high pull is another alternative. This omits any catch step. The barbell should be held in a forward-rack position to reduce stress on the wrist and shoulder.

You will be doing the hang clean in the same way, but with the barbell held at mid-thigh height. Push your hips back, and raise the barbell to chest height.

Different Hang Position

You can move on to the hang clean by changing the position of your hang (where the weight is at the beginning of each repetition). Each variation changes the mechanics of each movement, and works the muscles differently.

There are many different hang positions:

Below knee: Bar below the knees

Knee: The bar at the knee caps

Hang: Just above the knees

Mid-hang: The bar at the mid-thigh

High-hang: Bar at the upper thigh

Increased weight

You will gain strength and confidence with the hang clean. As your strength and confidence increases, you can add weight to the barbell to increase the challenge and intensity of the exercise. To avoid injury, increase the weight in small increments.

Full Power Clean

The full power clean is very similar to the hang-clean except that it’s done from the floor and not at the thigh. This makes the exercise more difficult and complex. The full clean is an Olympic weightlifting exercise that requires full body coordination.

Grab the gar by lowering to a squat. Standing straight up, lift the bar until it reaches the mid-thigh. Bend your knees, and lift the bar towards the front. Before lowering the bar to the ground, stand straight up.

Common Mistakes

These common mistakes can be avoided to make your hang clean exercise safe, effective, and enjoyable.

Swinging at the Bar

The risk of injury and back strain increases when the bar is allowed to swing off your body. To ensure you maintain good form and control, keep the bar at your body throughout the exercise.

Bar moves horizontally

Make sure the bar is moving vertically instead of horizontally. Adjust your form if your knees or legs are getting in the way.

Grip Too Wide, or Narrow

A tight or loose grip could hinder your ability to do this exercise correctly. For a proper hang clean, your hands should be a few inches beyond either leg.

Don’t Grab Too Close

While you should maintain a steady grip throughout the exercise, the bar should still move smoothly in your hands. You shouldn’t grip the bar too tight. This will prevent a smooth transition from your thighs to your front shoulders.

A tight grip can cause you to drop your bar or not complete the move. It could also increase your risk of injury to your hands, wrists, and back. You should maintain a steady grip, but not too tight, during the movement.

Use the arms to pull

People try to pull the bar up with their arms instead of driving through the feet. To hang clean, you must bend your knees and drive through your feet.

Do a few weightless cleans. Instead of pulling on the bar, dive your body under the bar to a catch position. This will reduce the urge to pull on your arms.

Dropping the Elbows

You can lose weight by lowering your elbows. This could increase the chance of injury. Your spinal extension can be improved by a greater mobility, flexibility, strength, and mobility in your lats, triceps, and triceps. This will allow you to raise your elbows to catch the bar.

Improper Landing

It is common to make an error when landing the hang clean. However, landing improperly can cause injury to your balance and increase the chance of you getting hurt.

Some people land with their heels up and their torso bent. It’s okay to jump or stomp on the floor while catching the clean. However, it is important to land on your feet to ensure stability and proper front-rack position.

Too many Reps

Doing too many reps without solidifying your technique can cause injury or bad habits. Hang cleans should be mastered quickly so you don’t lose sight of the form.

Begin with only a few reps per set (between 2 and 4), then increase your strength and technique by adding more. Start with a lighter weight to get used to the movement.

Safety and Precautions

Incorrectly performing any resistance exercise can lead to injury. Hang clean is a more difficult exercise and requires special attention to form and body position.

Avoiding the hang clean is a good idea for people who have suffered injury to their elbows, wrists or shoulders. Poor core strength may also make it unsuitable. To find out if the hang-cleaning is safe, consult your doctor or physical therapist.

If you feel discomfort or pain beyond what is normal for muscle building, stop the exercise. If it feels fine, you can continue the hang clean until your desired number of reps are reached.

A qualified personal trainer or weightlifting coach will help you maintain proper form and reduce the chance of injury.


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