How to Perform Olympic Lifts, Part 1: The Hang Clean

March 25, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

In this three-part series on Olympic lifting, we will explain the correct technique for these complicated lifts. In Part 1, we focus on how to perform the Hang Clean.

Explosive movements dominate sports. Jumping to spike a volleyball, dunking on your opponent or driving through a defender to finish a play all depend on an athlete's ability to be explosive. If you want to be a better athlete, you need to perform Olympic lifts.

Olympic lifts—like the Clean and Snatch—are without a doubt the best lifts for becoming more explosive. A 2004 study at the College of New Jersey found that athletes who trained using Olympic lifts were faster, stronger overall and better performers in tests of agility than athletes who did not train with Olympic lifts.

Olympic lifts look complicated, but learning them isn't as hard as some people make it out to be. Athletes can learn to Olympic lift safely in a short amount of time. A great place to start is with the Hang Clean, which comprises most of the fundamental techniques of the more advanced lifts.

1) Start Position
Start your Olympic lifts from the hang position as opposed to the ground. The hang position is similar to the one you'd assume if you were about to perform a vertical jump. It helps you get accustomed to using your hips to drive the bar. Also, the bar doesn't have to travel as far up, limiting potential technique mistakes.

To assume the hang position, stand in an athletic stance with your feet about hip-width apart. Holding the bar in front, bend at the hips and lower until the bar is just above your knees and close to your legs. Bend your knees slightly. Keep your back flat, chest in front of the bar and chest and head up.

Hang Position

2) Jump With the Bar
From the hang position, you do something very familiar—you jump! Make sure you are flat footed to start, giving you a stable base. Jump as forcefully as possible, extending through your hips, knees and ankles. Finish through your toes and shrug your shoulders at the top. You are trying to jump as high as possible, so you need to put force into the ground.

When you land, bend your knees slightly and don't let your feet get outside of your shoulders.

Jump Position
3) What About Your Arms?

To get the bar in the racked position, you need to use your arms. Instead of pulling as hard as you can, try keeping your arms relaxed (like noodles) and use them to guide the bar. Many athletes make the mistake of flipping the bar out, away from their bodies. Keep the bar close to your body and your elbows above the bar.

When it's time to rack the weight, you should be able to simply drive your elbows forward and around the bar, sit back on your flat feet and receive it. This step is easy if you have done things right up to this point. The bar should end up resting across your shoulders, not on your chest or on top of your wrists.

Rack Position

Photo:  t-nation.com

Wil Fleming is the owner of Force Fitness in Bloomington, Ind. During the past two years, he has helped more than 15 athletes go on to play Division I athletics. He is the author of the speed and agility portion of the soon-to-be released Essentials of High School Strength and Conditioning. Prior to his career as an athletic performance coach, Fleming was an All-American athlete at Indiana University and a competitor in the 2008 Olympic Trials for track and field.

Wil Fleming
- Wil Fleming is the owner of Force Fitness in Bloomington, Ind. During the past two years, he has helped more than 15 athletes go on...
Wil Fleming
- Wil Fleming is the owner of Force Fitness in Bloomington, Ind. During the past two years, he has helped more than 15 athletes go on...
Must See
Dashon Goldson: Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 5,108,955
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 5,166,407
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 85,152

Featured Videos

Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 20,496
Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Greg Nixon's Full-Body Dumbbell Circuit Views: 317,829
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of Views: 58,814
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,105,983
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,942
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,972
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,938
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,467

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

As Sandbag Workouts continue to gain popularity, athletes and trainers are seeking various approaches to intensify their training programs; however, one...

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

German Volume Training: How to Pack on Muscle Mass

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Why Your Instagram Box Jump Isn't That Impressive

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

YardBarker