The hang power clean is a variation of the clean and power clean.
It develops strength, power, explosiveness, and helps reinforce the positions of other weightlifting movements found in CrossFit and Olympic lifting.
In Olympic weightlifting, the hang power clean would usually be included as an accessory movement for one of the primary lifts, the clean and jerk.
In CrossFit, the hang power clean is found in a few places, usually programmed during the strength training portion of a workout, or build into a metcon.
In this guide, we’ll look at hang power clean technique, set up, benefits, and a few variations like the dumbbell hang power clean and hang power clean + jerk.
What Is A Hang Power Clean?
The hang power clean is a variation of a power clean in CrossFit or Olympic weightlifting. The difference is the starting position of the lift.
In a hang power clean, the pull is initiated right about the knee after standing up with the bar fully, whereas a power clean starts on the ground.
We use the hang power clean to reinforce technique in the second pull and catch phase of the power clean.
It’s also a good way to teach athletes to extend their hips explosively, which is key for many other movements in CrossFit (examples: the snatch and squat clean, to name a few)
Setting Up For The Hang Power Clean
Here are a few keys to setting up the hang power clean.
The most important thing is to make sure you have a good hook grip on the bar.
You may get away with not hook gripping the bar in the beginning, but it’s not ideal.
Eventually, the amount of weight you can lift will be stymied by your inability to hold onto the bar.
The hook grip acts like an override that negates your brain’s tendency to let go of the bar if it things it’s too heavy.
Better to form good habits right off the bat.
Other pieces when setting up for a hang power clean include:
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Hands placed just outside the knees (clean grip)
- Weight in the heels
The bar will start at the top of a deadlift, and you will initiate the first rep by dipping forward.
Done correctly, the beginning of a hang power clean will look similar to the position you take when you try to jump high- you’ll just have a bar in your hand, of course.
Hang Power Clean Technique
Barbell Hang Power Clean
Keys to focus on during the hang power clean:
- Weight in the heels– even when you dip forward to the knee, keep your weight in the heels. You will need to drive through them to generate maximum force.
- Explosive hips– the key with moving big weight (and doing this right) is to extend your hips forward as you pull up.
- Catch position– your elbows should be upright and the bar should rest on your collarbone. If you struggle with front rack mobility, this position may be difficult.
- Back engaged– especially when stringing together reps, make sure your back never “arches” at any point. Good spine engagement and a “proud chest” cue will keep you in the right position.
Dumbbell Hang Power Clean
Follow all the same cues as with a barbell, only be diligent about catching the bells in the front rack and clearing your shoulder.
When the weight is light, expect these to look like a glorified bicep curl. Just don’t forget to receive the dumbbells in the catch position.
Hang Power Clean and Jerk
Some people’s weakest position is pulling from the floor, so the hang power clean can actually allow you to move more weight overhead.
Use this guide to master the technique or learn more about the push jerk.
Hang Power Clean Benefits
- Improve power clean technique– by honing in on the second pull and catch phase, you can drill or improve technique in these phases of the full power clean.
- Shoulder/trap development– take a look on YouTube at the top Olympic weightlifters. You won’t find many that don’t have very large trapezius muscles.
- Explosiveness/power gains– the aggressive hip motion will make you more explosive and powerful. These gains will translate to things like broad jumps, box jumps, and your Olympic lifts like the snatch and clean.
Hang Power Clean VS Power Clean
While these are technically different exercises, you will get a lot of the same benefits from doing both hang power cleans and power cleans.
The major difference is the first pull from the floor. If this position is weak for you, you probably don’t want to neglect it, but hang power cleans will probably allow you to move more weight.
Still, both will develop explosiveness, strength, and power for your Olympic lifts. You will also find both in CrossFit WODs, so training each is a good idea.
What Muscles Are Worked Doing A Hang Power Clean
Like many exercises in CrossFit, the hang power clean is a fully body movement.
You’re deadlifting the bar to get in position, so before you’ve even started, you’re working your glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, and back.
As you pull, your shoulders, hips, and legs generate the force necessary to move the bar. Throughout the movement, your core is stabilizing itself, especially in the catch position.
Suffice to say, the hang power clean is your typical compound CrossFit exercise.
The hang power clean is an effective way to develop strength, power, and explosiveness while training for CrossFit or Olympic weightlifting.
It’s a variation on the power clean and can be used to teach the second pull and catch phase of the power or squat clean.
You will find the hang power clean in CrossFit WODs and strength sessions alike, so it’s a lift you’ll want to train often.
Keep in mind that the setup is key, especially having a good hookgrip that feels comfortable.
Expect to make significant gains in your explosiveness and power from doing the hang power clean, which can translate to your jumping exercises and Olympic lift 1RMs.