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January 14, 2022 10 min read
Weightlifting is a staple in any fitness enthusiast’s workout routine. It is a splendid way to bulk up, improve bone density, boost metabolism, and work major muscle groups.
The hang clean is an explosive form of weightlifting that involves throwing and catching a weighted barbell. It is an extreme exercise, and a lot can go wrong when done wrongly. To help you perform this exercise cleanly, here are some tips to assist you along the way.
Barbell clean exercises are full-body workouts that rival the basic barbell deadlift. The significant difference between both exercises is the techniques they are carried out where deadlifting involves slow and controlled lifting, the clean use explosive force, and speed.
The hang clean is an easier variation of the power clean
It involves loading a weighted barbell from the hanging position of your shoulders, and its method of execution lies in its name. A regular clean exercise begins with the barbell on the ground while you start the hang clean from a standing position. The ‘hang’ is a literal representation of the exercise.
While many professional powerlifters and Olympic bodybuilders agree that the hang clean is a fantastic strength-training workout for getting ripped, the correct position to begin the hang clean remains speculation. Many experienced bodybuilders have a hot take on this subject, with many swearing that their method is the right way to perform a ‘clean’ and perfect hang clean. Fortunately, there is more than one position to begin the hang clean in.
You can choose to do the hang clean with the barbell a little over one inch from the floor.
This would require a greater pulling strength and increase the intensity of the isolation of the muscles. Hanging from this level is an advanced option and places a lot of stress on your back.
Many bodybuilders and powerlifters choose to perform the hang clean from the shin or mid-shin height. Some favor below the knees as the proper starting position. Other men choose above the knees and even more who prefer to start in an erect position with the barbell at hip level.
Regardless of the starting point, the execution mode remains the same, and the same muscles are activated. Every other factor remains constant, and you can choose to experiment with each starting position and discover which height works better for you.
The hang clean is a compound barbell exercise that primarily activates the core muscles, posterior chain, and back muscles. It makes use of the triple extension of the joints, and so it doubles as a functional strength-training exercise that strengthens muscles and improves mobility. Many bodybuilders use their ability to clean heavyweights to measure strength and muscle endurance.
The hang clean takes your muscles through a range of motion that includes deadlifting the bar off the floor, a squat, and a weigh catch. Since most major muscle groups are involved in these movements, they are stimulated under the added resistance of gravity and the weighted barbell.
The core muscles are engaged throughout the hang clean.
Since they are essential in stabilizing you during the lift and adding that extra burst of energy needed to throw the barbell, your transverse abdominis, multifidus, erector spinae, and pelvic floor muscles bear the brunt of your movements. This is a great way to improve core strength and stimulate mass gains in the abdominal muscles for a toned six-pack.
Besides the core muscles, the hang clean specifically engages the trapezius muscles.
Few exercises isolate and stimulate muscle gains in the trap muscles. Other than the extremely popular weighted shrugs, the hang clean is known to wake up your trap muscle. This occurs during the front rack position in your workout as you catch the barbell beneath your chin.
A muscle often targeted for growth to achieve a more jacked look, the deltoid muscles are also activated in the first pulling of the bar during the hang clean. This muscle helps to rotate and distend the arm. Since your arms are doing a lot of work clutching the weight, they are equally engaged. The shoulder muscles, biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles are significantly engaged.
Hang cleans also activate your lower back muscles, stabilizer muscles, glutes, lats, hamstrings, thigh muscles, and hip flexors.
It strengthens them all, improving flexibility and mobility for an increased range of motion. These muscles are mainly activated during the hip thrust and squat part of the hang clean.
While it already looks like the hang clean activates many muscle groups in the body, do not forget that you are driving your legs into the ground during your racking. This leads to the activation of leg muscles like the quadriceps of the thighs and calves during the lowering part of the hang clean. This stimulates an admirable lean mass muscle growth on your legs, resulting in a jacked physique.
Essentially the hang clean is a great workout routine to target every functional muscle. While it might require a great blend of proper speed, balance, muscle endurance, and timing, on the upside, you get to improve all these attributes, which are great to help you on your fitness journey.
The hang clean can be executed and perfected by gym-goers and athletes regardless of their fitness level.
To do this:
Hang cleans are a great workout option for various reasons. They are an explosive strength-training exercise that not only increases strength in the major muscles but also enhances muscle endurance and muscle mass.
While the hang clean is an exceptionally beneficial exercise, performing it the proper way is often difficult, especially for newbies, the hang clean not only requires a great burst of strength and even better balance, it also needs to be performed in perfect form. Due to the explosiveness of this exercise, it is easy to compromise your form. This will not only lead you to perform fruitless cheat reps but can also lead to injuries.
To help you hold the correct form through your repetitions, here are some common mistakes:
There are various modifications of the hang clean that engage different muscles to different extents. Some of the variations are simpler and more difficult than the hang clean.
The clean is a more popular variation of the hang clean. It is more complex and requires more effort.
To do the clean:
The snatch is a full-body progression that includes going into a squat, standing erect, and pressing the barbell overhead as you lower yourself into a squat. It requires immense strength, proper timing, muscle endurance, and proper form to achieve this exercise. It is one of the most challenging variations of the hang clean.
To do the snatch:
The snatch is a highly demanding exercise that takes its toll on your muscles, lungs, and cardiovascular system.
Most professional bodybuilders and powerlifters are familiar with the clean and jerk. This is a body-conditioning and immense strength-training variation of the clean and jerk. It is an advanced, more difficult option and should only be attempted in the presence of a personal trainer after mastering the hang clean.
To do the clean and jerk:
There are different modifications of the hang clean you can work with. For better results, modify these variations to suit your fitness level and goals.
The hang clean might look complicated but it can be easily performed and mastered. With the right speed, balance, muscle endurance, and timing, the hang clean becomes a walk in the park. Couple the hang clean with barbell complexes for the ultimate full-body muscle strength-training program.