Hang Clean vs Power Clean

by Kilo on December 9, 2010

power cleanI wish I had learned how to do cleans a lot time ago. I would be stronger, more muscular, more awesome, and I’ve heard that a 400 lb power clean makes you 20 years younger. Or maybe that was older.

In any case, in the last two months I have finally started working on barbell cleans. I had not done a real clean since my junior year in High School when Mr. Barret made us do them in strength training class. I avoided this at every opportunity and slacked, thereby avoiding larger muscles and greater strength gains. You sly dog! I said to myself.

If only…

These days, the power clean is my favorite movement. I like it (currently) even more than my beloved deadlift. Even though the weight is drastically reduced, cleans make me feel just as strong, and the sense of explosiveness is pretty snazzy.

I alternate between two styles–the hang clean and the power clean. Now, as var as hang clean vs power clean in terms of which is more beneficial, I’m not going to touch that one because I don’t care. My exercises are guided by testing so on a day when the hinge-at-the-hips pattern tests well, I’ll generally test between the two and choose the one that results in a greater range of motion increase.

I also do a ton of kettlebell cleans, but today we’re only talking about the barbell variety.

Rather than try to explain the two styles, I want to show you. This first video demonstrates the hang clean.

So as you can see, hang cleans are done without putting the barbell on the ground between reps. You only yank it off the floor once, at the beginning. I am able to perform these comfortably with about 185 pounds. Not much, but I’m trying to make things feel easy, comfortable, and keep myself safe. I train for quality of life first.

In this next video you’ll see Mark Rippetoe coaching a lifter through the power clean.

As you can probably tell, this version takes more power. Long sets of heavy cleans are pretty gut wrenching, but with every single rep I can feel the benefit I am getting.

If you’re looking for something to add to your program, you like the basics, and you want to lift heavy, I would strongly recommend doing something I never did–learn how to clean safely and strongly sooner rather than later, assuming it is in line with your goals.

And of course, once you can clean, you’ll be in a good spot to expand into the jerk if you like. (you should like).


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