Hang Power Cleans Increase Exercise Performance

The clean and jerk is a lift contested in the sport of weightlifting, often called Olympic lifting. Power cleans, involving racking the bar at chest level with only a slight knee bend, are a popular exercise, but can lead to injury if done incorrectly. The power clean involves two pulls: the first pull from the floor to knee level, and the second pulling the bar to chest level via a vigorous hip extension. Most beginning athletes extend their hips prematurely and have little power available for the second pull. The power clean from a hang is a better approach for athletes with little Olympic lifting experience, because it puts them in a powerful hip hinge position at the beginning of the exercise. William Haug and co-workers from the Australian Institute of Sport found that speed skaters made substantial improvements in leg power as measured by vertical jump during the first four weeks of learning the hang power clean. Power athletes such as throwers, sprinters and football players are not weightlifters. It is best to use weightlifting exercises that will transfer quickly to the playing field, with a minimal risk of injury and a short learning curve. The hang power clean is an excellent lift for power athletes. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 29: 1766-1779, 2015)

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