Hang Clean (Weightlifting)

Hang Clean (Weightlifting)

When it comes to serious weightlifting, the Hang Clean is a move you don’t want to try at home.

Dangerous for inexperienced lifters, this strength training movement requires considerable skill, form and strength to pull off. Popular among professional athletes, it is often part of a larger weight training regimen designed to build athleticism and explosiveness.

Understanding The Hang Clean

Hang Cleans are an integral weightlifting workout for those serious about their weight training regimen – Olympic weightlifters, in particular, but also CrossFit athletes. Many of these athletes utilize the Hang Clean to prepare for the clean and jerk in competition.

The Origins Of The Hang Clean

Weightlifting first appeared in the modern Olympic Games in 1896, and the Hang Clean has been around for nearly as long. Though no one can pinpoint the first person to try the Hang Clean, it likely developed as a training mechanism for the competitive clean and jerk, which remains its main usage today.

Type Of Exercise

The Hang Clean is a complex strength training movement. It primarily targets the posterior chain, but it also benefits the core, legs and back. In total, it works eleven different muscle groups.

It is a power-based lift, meaning it can build explosive strength in weightlifters. It is similar to the Hang Clean High Pull and the Block Clean.

Preparing For The Hang Clean

You’ll need considerable experience in weightlifting before attempting this one, and you should have the advice of a coach or trainer as you’re learning.

How To Hang Clean: Hang, Extend, Catch

While it’s not quite as simple as just hanging, extending and catching, this is a great description in brief for this complex movement. More specifically, lifters follow these steps:

  1. Lift the barbell with either a hook grip or a double overhand grip, and stand up straight with it hanging at your thighs. Keep your back straight, but inclined ever so slightly in a forward posture. (This is the ‘hang’ step.)
  2. Next, get aggressive. Extend through your ankles, knees and hips and drive the weight of the barbell upward, shrugging your shoulders to your ears as you do so. (This is the ‘extend’ step.)
  3. When you reach full extension, begin the final pull by shrugging again and flexing the arms with the elbows out to the side and up. Then pull yourself downward and rotate your elbows underneath the bar to receive it in front squat position. The bar should be rested on your shoulders and slightly touching your throat, with relaxed hands. (This is the ‘catch’ step.)
  4. Don’t hold this position for long – recover immediately by driving down through your heels and rising to a standing position. Keep your torso upright.
  5. Work toward 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps each. Experts recommend working with no more than 60 percent of your maximum lift weight for safety.

Four Benefits

  1. Increased athleticism
  2. Teaching the clean and jerk
  3. Increased power production
  4. Intense calorie burn


  • Hang Power Clean
  • No Foot Hang Clean

The Hang Clean is not for the faint of heart and, indeed, should not be undertaken without considerable training. For those who can master it, however, a new world of explosive muscle power awaits.

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