Hang Clean Tips & Technique
Achieving the best Hang Clean
Every workout routine can be challenging, particularly if you are just getting started. This similarly applies to strength training programs, like the hang clean. I particularly struggled with getting the correct hang clean in my first few weeks.
If you do not have a good strength coach to take you through the first few days, you are likely to struggle before getting it right. The beauty about this however is the more you train, the easier it gets. After a couple of weeks of consistent training, you will certainly feel more comfortable to try out other variations and add more weight.
Through this article, I will give you some tips and tricks to get you started. These will assist you to learn how to perform the hang clean well and lessen the burden of your learning curve.
Performing the Hang Clean
Before beginning your routine, make sure you load the correct weight for you. Overloading the bar will strain your body muscles and make it difficult for you to achieve a good hang clean. Performing this routine can be broken down into four easy to follow steps.
Step 1: Positioning yourself for the Lift
For you to maximize the output of your body, you need to ensure your body strength is balanced. It is therefore very important that you assume the correct posture for this routine. This will assist you in performing the exercise better and avert any injury to your body.
A good hang position will engage both your hamstring and glutes. When you do so, you will increase the efficiency of your backside. This will allow you to output the maximum force your body can produce.
To assume the best position, you should follow the steps below;
• Stand straight up with your arms straight.
• Balance the pressure on your whole foot. The foot should be well grounded on the floor.
• Lay your hands on the side, in a position slightly wider than the width of your shoulders.
• Bend your hips while pushing your butt until you feel your hamstring stretch a bit. Ensure you can easily reach out for the bar without your body standing in the way.
Most people often get it wrong by bending their knees as if they are sitting down. This usually leads to the knee being pushed forward, creating an imbalance in the position. This also adds more pressure and force on the quadriceps, which can easily lead to injury.
To confirm if you have the correct position, monitor the path the bar follows while descending. As you assume the hang position, the bar should directly drop down, without being impeded by any body part; mostly the thighs and knees. If you notice the bar is pushed forward during this process, it is a sign that you are not having enough balance around your hips.
Step 2. Lifting the Barbell
After confirming you have the right position, the next challenge is to get the barbell off the ground. The maneuvers at this stage are relatively easy, but you will need a lot of energy to perform them.
Follow these steps to lift the bar off the ground.
• Slightly bend your knees while pushing back your hips to reach the bar.
• Hold the bar firmly, while ensuring your entire feet are firmly rooted on the floor. Ensure you are not standing on your heels or toes.
• While firmly gripping the bar, push all your energy through your feet.
• Bring the bar steadily to a height near your might-thigh level.
• Slightly bend your hips and push your but back. Ensure while doing this, your spine is in a neutral position.
• Look straight ahead while in this position. Do not allow your knees to move forward.
While performing this maneuver, remember that the bar should always be over your chest. This will allow the bar to rise further and provide a better position and timing to execute the extension.
You should also be patient with yourself and breathe well. Rushing through the process will not offer more power, but will most likely result in undesired results and injury. Being patient will give you time to prepare and make the right move, thereby giving you more power to support the extension.
Step 3. Extending the lift upwards
After taking a breather at knee-height, the next maneuver involves lifting the barbell. Here, timing is equally very important. You should take your time to find the right opportunity to perform the next steps outlined below.
• Exert pressure on the floor using your feet as you simultaneously pull the bar upwards. Remember to keep your chest above the bar while doing this. Focus your energy more on your feet and not on the hands.
• Strategically elevate your shoulders and push your hips forward.
• Adjust your body down to a squat position below the bar. Concurrently, snap your elbows forward. This will cause your hips to drop.
• Hold the bar at your chest level or lightly around the height of your front shoulders. This position is often called the front rack.
• Maintain this position for a while to gain stability.
It is enticing to attempt this process in the shortest time possible. However, doing so can have several effects on your body. Avoid rushing through the process; take as much time as you need to get your timing right.
Step 4. Standing Up
Once you have assumed the front rack position, exert force through your feet and begin to rise up slowly. Ensure you maintain a grip on the bar till you are at a full standing position with your legs stretched out. If you loosen your grip, it may affect your front rack position.
You can repeat these steps for as much as you would want to. Once done, you can lower the bar to the knee-high position and back to the ground as you did when raising it.
Mistakes you should aim to avoid
For you to master these techniques well, you should try to avoid these mistakes most people make.
1. Rocking or swinging the bar
The key to having the best hang clean is maintaining balance and control. If you sing or rock the bar, it increases your body’s instability. This instability poses a risk of injury to you.
A steady and firm grip will secure the bar in place. It will give you more power to control the movements of the barbell.
2. Pulling the bar using your arms
Many have gone wrong in assuming that pulling the bar is the best way to achieve the hang. This assumption can be very costly to your health. The hang clean primarily focuses on driving energy to the ground through your feet and angling your body to attain a good front rack position.
A good hang should involve the foot, hip and knee movements. For you to master these movements, practice these steps severally using a bar that is not loaded with weights. Ensure you get the proper posture for the front rack position.
3. Gripping the bar inappropriately
When you hold the bar in an inappropriate position, you are likely to fail at a point during the routine. Success is highly dependent on the positioning of your hands, feet and body posture.
To grip the bar appropriately, estimate some inches off the side of each leg. Hold on to that spot consistently throughout the routine.
4. Dropping your elbows
Suddenly dropping your elbows can make the weights drop. Doing so will increase your risk of injury, both externally and to the muscles. To avoid this, you should work to increase your flexibility, movement and strength of your triceps.