The Hang Power Clean has the potential to provide great benefits to athletes. It combines strength, coordination, timing, explosiveness and athleticism in a single movement.
Unfortunately, technical flaws often hinder its usefulness for lifters looking to become more explosive.
It's one thing to perform an exercise. But it's a whole other thing to do it so you get all the benefits it has to offer.
Here are three ways to fix the most common technique mistakes athletes make on the Hang Power Clean.
1. Start Position
Mastering the hip hinge is the first step toward executing a smooth Hang Power Clean.
Many athletes begin the lift in a position that is too squatty, with their knees and hips flexed too much and their shoulders behind the bar.
This position puts most of the weight on the quads and effectively takes out much of the low back, hamstrings and glutes—where all your power comes from—making it impossible to move big weight in an explosive manner.
Begin the movement with a slight bend in your knees and your butt pushed back. Your shins should remain nearly vertical, your chest should stay up, your low back should be straight, and your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar when viewed from the side.
In our progression scheme, we teach our athletes how to Romanian Deadlift (hip hinge) first. Once they've got that down, finding the start position for the Hang Power Clean is easier. We simply instruct them to perform a Romanian Deadlift until the bar rests above their knees.
2. High Hang Position
Learning how to hip hinge properly will solve your starting position issue and put you in the most advantageous position to execute a solid Hang Power Clean. But some athletes still have difficulty putting the "power" into their Power Cleans.
In other words, they don't have that "pop" that lifters associate with an explosive movement.
The two big tell-tale signs of this are early arm pull and failure to extend the hips.
For athletes who have a tendency to pull too early with their arms and/or not extend their hips fully, the following regression will iron out both errors.
Instead of starting in a typical Hang Clean position above the kneecaps, begin in the high hang position with the bar resting on your upper thigh.
From there, the only way you can get the bar up explosively is to initiate the movement by forcefully extending your hips and shrugging your shoulders.
3. Catch Position
Another typical mistake occurs when athletes catch the bar on their upper chest with their elbows pointing down.
The Scarecrow Drill teaches you to "punch through" the elbows at the end. As a result, the bar comes to rest on your shoulders instead of your chest, and your elbows are up in the catch position.
Hammer away at these three drills to nail down your Hang Power Clean form. You'll soon notice how much smoother your technical execution becomes—and don't be surprised if you hit new personal bests as well.
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