How to Barbell Hang Clean: Variations, Proper Form, Techniques, Barbell Equipment

A barbell hang clean is a compound weightlifting exercise that increases explosiveness, improves your jumping power, facilitates total-body coordination, and builds muscle. Although individuals can use a full power clean to improve their Olympic weightlifting, starting with a hang clean is better for beginner lifters. 

The muscles involved in the barbell hang clean include the glutes, hamstrings, biceps, core, quadriceps, lower back, adductors, trapezius, and forearm flexors. 

The proper barbell hang clean form is done using the following steps.

  1. Keep the barbell as close to your body as possible.
  2. Start with the barbell against your mid-thighs.
  3. Use an explosive movement to rack the barbell on your shoulders.
  4. Lower into a front squat position to catch the bar. 

There are other types of barbell hang cleans that you can use to supplement your workouts, such as snatches, one-arm dumbbell snatches, power cleans, barbell snatch, and the clean and jerk. 

Common mistakes and injuries resulting from a barbell hang clean and improper form include wrist aggravation, lower back strain, shoulder injuries, and upper trapezius strains. Individuals need to use proper barbell hang clean techniques to avoid these errors. 

How to Perform Barbell Hang Clean with Proper Form?

Doing the barbell hang clean with proper form can avoid injury and build power. This leg exercise is often neglected within most routines, but it is an effective muscle movement for those that take time to learn it. To get the full benefits of hang cleans, individuals should follow these steps in order. 

  1. Grip the bar in front of your thighs with a shoulder-width grip.
  2. Squat slightly during the Hang Clean.
  3. Press through your heels to explode upwards. 
  4. Catch it on your chest.
  5. Pause for a second.
  6. Return the bar to its starting position.
  7. Keep your core muscles braced throughout.

What Are the Five Phases of Barbell Hang Clean?

There are five phases of the barbell hang clean — hitting every stage is essential to completing the exercise, avoiding injury, and reaping the benefits of the full-body power motion. To get hang power clean benefits, individuals must master every phase of the barbell hang clean before moving on to the next step. 

  1. The First Pull Phase of Hang Clean – By using knee extension and hip extension, individuals can move the barbell off the floor. Keep shoulder blades compact and keep the body angle with the ground consistent. 
  2. The Transition Phase of Hang Clean – This is the phase where the barbell comes between the knee level and the power position. Keep the barbell close to the body and keep the knee angle consistent. 
  3. The Second Pull Phase of Hang Clean – This is where the most force and power are developed. Use the hips to drive the barbell upwards and keep the barbell close. 
  4. The Turnover Phase of Hang Clean – The turnover phase is where the user displaces the barbell by bringing their body and hips to the bottom of a squat position. 
  5. The Recovery Phase of Hang Clean – Catch the barbell in a front squat position and stand up. 

What Are the Benefits of the Hang Clean Exercise?

There are numerous benefits of the hang clean exercise. Those who master the technique and perform this exercise in their workout routine will improve their explosive power, increase their jumping height, and build muscle in their hamstrings, quadriceps, biceps, glutes, and core.

What Are the Benefits of the Hang Clean
Benefits of the Hang Clean Exercise

What Are the Mistakes for Barbell Hang Clean Exercise?

Individuals who do the barbell hang clean must learn the form before adding weight or incorporating this exercise into their daily routine. The most common barbell hang clean mistakes are bending elbows during the pull phase, setting up too far away from the bar, opening the hips, and not staying over the bar. 

How to Determine Proper Weight for Barbell Hang Clean?

According to a bodyweight table, untrained men should power clean 55 pounds at 114 pounds body weight. For heavier individuals, men can use 85 pounds for the hang clean as a 180-pound man.

For women, a 114-pound woman should start with 40 pounds as an untrained individual. A 148-pound woman should begin with 50 pounds on the bar as an untrained individual. 

What Is the Importance of Grip for Barbell Hang Clean?

The “Grip” is the muscular grip strength or maximum tension that an individual can generate in their forearm muscles. The grip is one of the critical aspects of a barbell hang clean – individuals need to be able to hold a heavyweight throughout the entire movement to safely bring the bar to the rack position and catch the barbell. 

Which Muscles Are Involved While Performing Barbell Hang Clean?

The primary muscles that the hang clean works are the trapezius and deltoid muscles during the initial and second phases of the motion. The lower back, glutes, adductor, and quadriceps are activated during the thrust phase and the catch portion. The hamstrings, forearms, calves, and core are taxed during the lowering and catch phase of the barbell hang clean. 

What Are the Barbell Hang Clean Variations?

A barbell hang clean variation is another type of the same exercise that may use different weights, equipment, or alterations to provide additional benefits to the replaced exercise. A variation to the barbell hang clean may tax other muscles in different proportions or use another technique that can improve explosiveness and power.

What Are the Barbell Hang Clean Variations
What Are the Barbell Hang Clean Variations?
  1. Snatch: The snatch is a barbell Olympic lift that brings the weight overhead. Start in a deadlift position, lift the bar powerfully while keeping the arms straight, then duck and catch the bar with your arms straight overhead, and stand up. 
  2. One-arm dumbbell snatch: Hold one dumbbell between the legs, lift the weight directly upwards, squat beneath the weight for the catch, and stand up. 
  3. Clean and jerk: Start in a deadlift position, lift the bar powerfully, catch the bar, stand up, and press the bar overhead while going into a deep lunge. 

What Is the Necessary Equipment for Barbell Hang Clean?

The necessary equipment is the barbell and enough space around you to avoid being in anyone’s way. Since this is an explosive movement, care must be taken in a crowded room. Individuals can use a barbell for a hang clean, low hang clean, or power clean.

What Is the Necessary Equipment for Barbell Hang Clean
Necessary Equipment for Barbell Hang Clean

What Are the Shoulder Muscle Exercises with Barbell Hang Clean?

Individuals can do the barbell hang clean for shoulder strength and flexibility. The best shoulder exercises that can improve your barbell hang clean includes military press, one-arm shoulder press, lateral dumbbell raises, forward dumbbell raises, cable and resistance band overhead presses.

Before you can learn how to perform cleans, knowing some key facts is essential to the safety and exercise knowledge. 

  1. Athletes who do frequent jumping in their sport should incorporate the barbell hang clean into their exercise program.
  2. The barbell hang clean can simultaneously improve jumping and sprinting power.
  3. The barbell hang clean can help teach beginners how to do the power clean.

Does Barbell Hang Clean Affect the Hormones?

Yes, the barbell hang clean, and other variations like the low hang squat clean can affect the hormones. Since these are compound movements, hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine increase during and after the exercise. 

Does Barbell Hang Clean Increase Testosterone?

Yes, the barbell hang cleans increase testosterone, a male steroid that boosts strength. 

Does Barbell Hang Clean Affect the Mood?

Yes, the barbell low hang power clean can affect your mood, as it can increase dopamine levels in your brain. 

Is Barbell Hang Clean Practiced Within CrossFit?

Yes, the hanging squat clean is practiced within CrossFit in daily workouts and used to help build Olympic lifts, such as the clean and jerk and power clean. 

Is Barbell Hang Clean a Military Movement?

No, the barbell hang clean is not a military exercise. The hang clean is not necessarily a military movement but can be used in a strength-building program. 

Is Barbell Hang Clean Essential?

Yes, the barbell hang clean is essential to building power and explosiveness in athletes. 

Is Barbell Hang Clean Dangerous?

Yes, the barbell hang clean is a dangerous exercise. Learning how to properly hang clean can reduce the danger of this exercise. When learning how to do the hang clean exercise, individuals should start by researching proper form and using a lighter weight. 

Is Barbell Hanging Clean an Olympic Lift?

No, the mid hang clean and hang clean are not an Olympic lift, but they are used to help teach the power clean and clean and jerk–both of which are Olympic lifts. 

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