Hang Clean (How to do a hang clean and why to use them)

Hang Cleans

A Primer On The Hang Clean

The hang clean is a weight lifting exercise performed by lifting the barbell from a hanging position by your hips to above your head, then lowering it back down in one fluid movement.

This vertical lift targets your entire body with explosive, full-body movements. In this article, you'll learn about the benefits of performing hang cleans for all different types of athletes.

The clean is also one of the best exercises to improve your grip strength

What is the Hang Clean?

The Hang Clean is an Olympic weightlifting exercise that targets the shoulders, upper back, and latissimus dorsi muscles. It is also a great exercise for overall strength and conditioning.

The exercise is performed by positioning the bar on the front of the hips and holding it with an overhand grip. Then squat down slightly and push off your toes to jump up and catch the bar on your chest. Keep your core muscles braced throughout.

It is an explosive movement that activates a lot of muscles. Make sure that you are thoroughly warmed up before carrying out working sets. 

Why use the Hang Clean?

Here are eight good reasons to include them in your workout:

1. It is a great exercise to improve your overall strength and power.

2. It helps develop explosiveness in the legs, torso, and arms.

3. It develops core stability and balance.

4. It can help increase your speed and agility.

5. It’s a great way to increase your cardiovascular fitness.

6. It can help improve your sports performance.

7. It’s fun and challenging!.

8. It is a great way to build confidence when performing the Power Clean and the Jerk!

How to do a Hang Clean

If you're new to the weightlifting world and are wondering what it is, or how to do it, here's a primer. 

The hang clean is a weightlifting exercise that uses the same movement pattern as the Clean. It starts with the barbell positioned at the hips so it is not lifted from the ground for each rep. 

How to do a  clean

From this position, the lifter bends at the knees, jumps from the toes and lifts the barbell bar onto the chest. The bar is then lowered and the movement is repeated for the required reps and sets. 

It is a great exercise for developing explosive power and speed in the clean and jerk. It also builds strength and cardio endurance, making it an ideal workout for athletes of all levels. 

To get started, practice doing sets of 5 with moderate weight until you can comfortably complete 10 reps. As your fitness grows, increase the weight and/or set number. Happy lifting!

Alternatives to a Hang Clean

If you're looking for an alternative, there are several options available to you. The front squat, power clean, and snatch are all great exercises that can help improve your explosive power and strength.

The front squat is a great exercise for developing the quadriceps and hamstrings. It also helps to improve your posture and range of motion. The position of the barbell on the chest instead of on the back forces you to develop core strength and balance.

The power clean is a great exercise for developing your explosive power and strength. It also helps to improve your grip and stability. It is harder than a hang clean as you have to lift the weight from the floor. This is a great movement for developing the posterior chain.

The snatch is one of the best bodyweight exercises that you can do to build up your strength and endurance. It is similar to power clean but instead of just lifting the bar to the chest, you are lifting it above your head. 

All of the above exercises are typically performed with a barbell. If you are new to these explosive lifts, start with an empty bar, dumbbells or kettlebells so that you can perfect the movement. 

Lifting in front of a mirror is useful as it allows you to keep an eye on your form and make sure that you are not cheating the movement. 

Hang clean vs. power clean

Power cleans are a specific exercise performed with a barbell lifted to the chest of the lifter from the floor. The goal of these lifts is to clean the weight from the ground to the chest in an explosive, controlled movement.

Power cleans target your hamstrings, lower back, and shoulders while they simultaneously work your forearms and chest. 

Power clean

The hang version accomplishes similar movements but without lifting from the floor. This takes the strain away from the spinal erectors and the hamstrings.

If you want to target the lower body and lower back, opt for a power clean. Hang cleans do have a place in workouts but they are not as effective as a standard power clean or snatch.

Muscles Worked with a hang clean

The hang is a great way to work your muscles and bring you closer to your goals. Here are some reasons why:


1. It works multiple muscle groups. The pull from the weight and the extension from the legs work the muscles in your back, shoulders, arms, and chest all at once. This type of workout is especially good for targeting those stubborn areas.

2. It engages your core muscles. When you lift the weight off the floor, your core muscles have to work hard to keep you stable. This exercise will help strengthen your abs and core overall, which will give you better balance and posture when lifting weights.

3. It is a great cardio workout. The extended time under tension (ETT) required in this movement helps burn lots of calories quickly. Plus, the increased heart rate will help improve your overall cardiovascular health. 

4. They are a surprisingly effective shoulder workout. The shoulders always get a bad rap for not being built to handle weights, but the hang clean works muscles in the upper back and shoulders that are often ignored or overlooked.

5. You can do lots of reps with a hang clean before you need to switch to lighter weights. This is because unlike bench presses, where it's hard to start at around 10 reps and keep going, you can do many more reps on the hang clean.


If you are looking to make huge gains in strength and muscle mass, this is one of the best exercises for you. 

It targets your entire body, including your core and spinal column, which makes it an excellent exercise for overall fitness. 

We hope that you have found this article informative. If you are looking for a strength training program, check out our free HyperStrength strategy by clicking on the link below. 

HyperStrength Training program

Gymenix offers a selection of free training programs to suit all abilities and goals. Click on the links below for FREE access. 

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