Hang Clean

Guide to Hang Cleans Workout: Techniques, Variations and Pitfall Prevention

The hang clean, a powerful and dynamic movement, is a staple in strength training, particularly in workouts aimed at building explosive power and full-body strength. This article will walk you through the correct form, variations, and common mistakes to ensure you get the most out of this exercise while minimizing the risk of injury.

Understanding The Hang Clean

The hang clean exercise is a variation of the traditional power clean, starting with the weight hanging in front of the body rather than on the floor. This movement targets multiple muscle groups, making it a comprehensive exercise for total body conditioning. It's particularly effective for the upper body, hips, and somatic workouts, contributing to improved strength and power.

Hang Clean

Primary Muscles Targeted

  • Back (trapezius, latissimus dorsi)
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Deltoids
  • Calves (gastrocnemius, soleus)

How To Do A Hang Clean Correctly


  • Load a barbell with an appropriate weight for your fitness level.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart on a yoga mat for more grip, core engaged, shoulders back, and chest forward.
  • Squat down and grab the barbell with a hook grip (thumb wrapped under the fingers), slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.


yoga mat


Initial Lift

  • Remember to push through your heels to stand up while keeping the bar close to your shins.
  • Bring the bar to mid-thigh level with arms fully extended.


  • Bend slightly at the hips, pushing your butt back, lowering the bar just above knee height while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Ensure your gaze remains straight ahead.


  • Thrust your hips forward, dropping into a squat position.
  • Shrug your shoulders and snap your elbows forward, catching the bar at chest level.


  • Stand up, keeping the bar in the front-rack position.
  • Lower the bar back to mid-thigh level with control.

Benefits Of The Hang Clean

The hang clean workout is a full-body exercise that offers several benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Strength and Power: Engages multiple muscle groups, improving overall strength and power.
  • Functional Fitness: Mimics movements in daily life aid in tasks such as lifting objects from the floor.
  • Improved Posture: Promotes a healthy posture, reducing the risk of back pain.

Variations Of The Hang Clean

Here are the different techniques for performing the Hang Clean:

Front Squat With Rack Grip (Beginners)

  • Eliminates the explosive portion, focusing on lower body strength.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the bar in a front-rack position.
  • Perform squats while maintaining the bar's position.

Hang Clean High Pull

  • Omits the catch phase, reducing shoulder and wrist stress.
  • Start with the bar at mid-thigh height, pull it to chest height, then return to the start position.

Different Hang Positions

  • Each position alters the mechanics slightly, targeting muscles differently.
  • Positions include below knee, knee, hang (just above knees), mid-hang (mid-thigh), and high-hang (upper thigh).

Increased Weight

  • Increase the weight gradually to challenge your muscles and improve strength.

Full Power Clean

  • Starts and ends on the floor, making it more complex and challenging.
  • Involves lifting the bar from the floor to mid-thigh, then executing a clean.

    Common Mistakes To Avoid

    1. Swinging the Bar: Keep the bar close to your body to avoid back strain and ensure control.
    2. Horizontal Bar Movement: Ensure the bar moves vertically to maintain proper form.
    3. Incorrect Grip: Use a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width for optimal technique.
    4. Overly Tight Grip: Maintain a controlled but not overly tight grip to allow for smooth transitions.
    5. Using Arms to Pull: Focus on driving through your feet and using your hips to lift the bar.
    6. Dropping Elbows: Keep your elbows high to catch the bar correctly and avoid injuries.
    7. Improper Landing: Land with your feet stable and torso upright to maintain balance and reduce injury risk.
    8. Too Many Reps: Start with a few reps to master the technique before increasing the volume.

    Safety And Precautions

    Proper form is crucial to avoid injuries. The hang clean is an advanced movement, so ensure you have the necessary core strength and joint stability. If you experience any discomfort beyond typical muscle tension, stop immediately.

    • Consult Professionals: If you have shoulder, wrist, or elbow issues, consult with a healthcare provider before performing hang cleans.
    • Controlled Reps: Begin with 2-5 sets of 3-5 reps, focusing on technique before increasing weight or volume.


    The hang clean is a highly effective exercise for building strength and power across multiple muscle groups. By following proper form, exploring variations, and avoiding common mistakes, you can safely incorporate this dynamic movement into your workout routine for enhanced fitness and performance.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a Good Hang Clean for a Woman?

    For female beginners, lifting 63 lbs (1RM) in a hang clean is an impressive start, even when compared to the general population.

    What's The Difference Between Hang Clean And Regular Clean?

    The hang clean starts with the bar already elevated, involving a shorter range of motion compared to the regular clean. This makes it easier in terms of mobility and flexibility. While both workouts target the same muscle groups, the hang clean exercise places more emphasis on the upper body and traps.