The hang clean is one of the most effective exercises for the whole body. It uses many major muscle groups in the body, making it a great addition to your strength training routine.
The main muscles targeted by the hang clean include the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, trapezius, deltoids, soleus, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and gastrocnemius.
The hang clean can be quite difficult for people who are just starting their strength exercises. Without the right guidance, learning the correct form for this exercise can be tricky.
However, the good news is that once you learn the correct technique, you won’t find this exercise difficult. You will also find it easier to perform complex variations and lift heavier weights.
How to do the hang clean correctly
For this exercise you will need a barbell. Here’s how you can do the hang clean correctly:
- Load the bar with a weight that you can easily handle.
- Place the barbell on the floor on a flat surface in front of you. Keep your feet hip-width apart and keep your chest forward and your shoulders back. Be sure to properly engage your core.
- Squat down and hold the bar wider than your shoulder width. Your palms should face your body and your thumbs should be under your four fingers.
- Now push through your heels and stand up straight. Keep the bar close to your shins and bring it up to mid-thigh level. Make sure your arms are fully extended when you’re in a standing position.
- Bend your hips slightly forward and push your butt back. Lower the bar until it is above your knee height. Keep your gaze and back straight and do not bend your knees forward.
- As you drop your body into a squat position, let your hips push forward. Bend your elbows forward, raise your shoulders slightly and raise the bar to jump just below while bringing it to chest level in front of your shoulders.
- Assume a standing position while keeping the bar across your shoulders in a front rack position.
- Finally, slowly lower the bar to the floor and return to the starting position.
Here is a video for reference:
Tips for getting the most out of hanging cleans
Here are some tips you can follow when performing suspended cleanups:
- When performing this exercise, make sure you are in a good hanging position, engaging your glutes and hamstrings.
- Push your butt back and flex your hips until your hamstrings are in the correct posture.
- When you squat, make sure you are not sitting down. Instead, push your butt back and lower into a squat position. Sitting takes the focus away from your hamstrings and stresses your quads.
- Be sure to check the position of the bar. When you assume the hanging position, the bar should be straight down. Don’t limit your thighs.
Benefits of hang clean
One of the most amazing benefits of a hanging cleanse is that it is a full body workout. Hanging cleans involve multiple joints and muscles, including the deltoids, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, spinal erectors, and more.
Various studies have shown that the hang clean has a very positive impact on the development of a person’s speed, power, strength and overall performance.
This exercise also makes everyday activities easier and makes your fitness more efficient and easier. Since the hang clean promotes good posture and balance, it can also potentially help reduce the risk of back pain.
Once you have gained strength and confidence, you can try different variations of the hang clean. Some of the variations include:
1) Front Squat with Rack Grip
This variation excludes the explosive part of the basic hang clean and can be performed while holding the barbell in the front rack position.
- Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold the bar with a firm grip and keep it in front of your neck, above the front edge of your shoulders (front rack position).
- Perform squats.
2) High traction
Another great variation of the hang clean is the hang clean high pull. This exercise reduces stress on your wrist and shoulder.
- Take the basic position and hold a barbell at mid-thigh level.
- Pull the bar towards your chest and push your hips back, then return to the starting level.
3) Weight increase
This variation requires you to add weight to the barbell to make the exercise even more difficult. However, you should only try this suspension variation when you have gained strength.
- Add weight to the bar and increase the intensity of the exercise.
- Perform the same steps as for the basic suspension exercise.
- Increase the weight in small amounts to avoid back pain or injury.
4) Full power cleaning
The full power hang clean is an advanced Olympic weightlifting exercise. In this variation, you must start and end the exercise at your thigh. This makes it more difficult and complex than the basic version.
- Start by taking a squat position and place the barbell at your thigh.
- Lift the bar close to your legs as you stand up and stop when it reaches mid-thigh level.
- Push your hips forward and bend your knees while keeping your elbows forward and grabbing the bar in front of your shoulders.
- Stand fully upright with the barbell in your hand, then lower it back to its original position.
Some common mistakes to avoid
Avoid these mistakes to keep the hang clean, productive, and safe.
- When performing the hang clean, don’t let the bar swing. This increases the risk of back pain and injury. Keep the bar close to your body throughout the exercise to maintain proper form and control.
- Make sure the bar drops vertically rather than moving horizontally or backwards. Don’t let your thighs and knees get in the way.
- Pay close attention to your grip. A grip that is too wide or too narrow can reduce your ability to perform the exercise with the correct technique.
- When you pull up on the bar, use your knees and channel the force through your feet. Do not use your arms to pull the bar.
- Maintain good body position when landing. Poor posture can affect your balance and can also increase the risk of injury and fatigue.
- Don’t do too many reps. Instead, start with a few reps and focus on your posture and form. Also, don’t lift heavier weights until you’re strong and confident enough.
Performing a weightlifting exercise incorrectly increases the risk of injury. Since the hang clean is an advanced weightlifting workout, you should be even more specific about your posture and body shape.
If you have pain or injuries in your shoulders, elbows or wrists, avoid this exercise as it may not be good for your condition. Stop exercising immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort, and talk to your doctor about whether the hang clean is safe for you.