Saying that explosive, Olympic-style lifts are not for you is like saying that you are perfectly content with your current (and perhaps deficient) levels of strength, size and athleticism. The fact is that these types of lifts are a valuable tool in your march toward a better physique. They target your growth-prone fast-twitch muscle fibers, strengthen connective tissues and help to build strength in your core muscles. One such lift is the hang clean. Taylor Simon, MSc, BA, CSCS, co-director of Taylored Fitness (www.tayloredfitness.ca) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, provides the particulars of this challenging but highly beneficial exercise.
WHAT IS THE HANG CLEAN?
"The hang clean is a segment of the more traditional Olympic lift, the power clean," says Simon. "A full clean involves moving the weight from the ground, explosively, to the chest. In the hang clean, the movement is still driven through the hips and glutes, but the starting position is with the bar held by the lifter at full extension from a standing position."
WHO NEEDS IT?
"I think everyone needs to incorporate Olympic lifting and the hang clean is great for anyone looking to add thickness to the upper back and shoulders," Simon says. "While the hips and glutes are the primary movers for the hang clean, the mid back and delts get hammered as well. It is also an awesome workout for any athlete as it develops explosive power through the hips which translates directly to any sport that requires your legs."
RELATED: Read here for TIMED DELTS
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>> Stand holding a loaded barbell in front of yo at full extension with an overhand grip, hands spaced just outside shoulder with. Bend forward through the hips and slightly bend your knees keeping your shoulders directly over the bar. Use the hips and glutes to drive the bar straight up as quickly as possible, keeping it close to the body on the ascent. As the bar reaches chest level, quickly drop your body back under the bar and, with flexed hips and knees, catch the weight on your chest with your elbows under the bar (as in a front squat). Immediately drop it back down to the starting position and repeat the movement for reps.
>> Unlike traditional Olympic lifting we are going to take the reps a little higher and a little faster.
>> Remember that this is an explosive movement and we are looking for traditional triple extension through the ankles, knees, and hips, as we would with any olympic lift.
>> Perform this exercise at the beginning of your workouts when your glycogen stores are high and you produce the greatest amount of power.
>> For those looking to build size and thickness, stick to 4 sets of 6 reps at about 120% of your barbell row 1RM with about 90 seconds of rest between sets.
>> If you are looking for sports performance and upping your explosive power, go for 8 sets of 10 reps at your 1RM barbell row with just 45-60 seconds rest between sets.