Hang Clean: Instructions, Form Tips and Variations

Cleans – of some sort – should be a part of any self-respecting man’s workout. They build explosiveness, teach full-body coordination, increase your jumping power and because they use so many muscles flood you with delicious growth hormone, meaning you’ll get better results when you go back to biceps curls. Finally, they’re so metabolically demanding that you’ll burn fat for hours after a session, with none of that tedious treadmill cardio you’ve been doing. Full cleans (the sort you see in Olympic weightlifting) are one option, but for most men, hang cleans are simpler – because you start with the weight already off the floor so there’s less technique to worry about – and just as beneficial. Here’s how to do them.

Hang Clean Instructions

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight and shoulders back. Keep looking forward.
  2. Leaning forward from the hips, grip the bar just outside your knees.
  3. Bend your knees to initiate the move and pull the bar up in front of you powerfully. Rise up onto your toes to gain more power.
  4. Flip the bar onto your fingers and catch it on top of your chest.
  5. Bend your knees to duck under the bar at its highest point.
  6. Stand up straight and reset the bar before repeating.

Keep your core muscles braced throughout.

Hang Clean Form Tips

Think ‘Jumping’

You’ll start with the bar already in your hands – deadlift it off the floor, then do a quarter-squat before driving off the floor as powerfully as you can, almost as if you’re jumping. The bar should fly up – now all you have to do is catch it.

Hang Clean Variations


Duck under the bar to ‘catch’ it overhead. This requires excellent co-ordination and shoulder flexibility, so try it with a light bar to begin with.

  1. Start in a deadlift position with the bar off the floor.
  2. Lift the bar powerfully.
  3. Duck beneath the bar to “catch” it with straight arms. Keep a natural arch in your back.
  4. Stand up straight.

One-arm dumbbell snatch

Work each side of your body independently. This is especially useful for sports conditioning.

  1. Hold one dumbbell between your legs, keeping your shoulders square.
  2. Lift the weight powerfully in front of you.
  3. Squat beneath the weight to catch it.
  4. Stand up straight.

Clean and jerk

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This exercise targets so many muscle groups it’s a workout in itself. Make sure you use perfect form throughout.

  1. Start in the deadlift position.
  2. Lift the bar powerfully.
  3. Drop beneath the bar for the catch.
  4. Stand up straight and steady yourself.
  5. Drop into a lunge and press the bar overhead simultaneously.
  6. Stand up straight.

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