In Olympic weightlifting there are two main movements, the snatch and clean and jerk. These movements and their variations require high force and velocity which are routinely used in the training of athletes for increased strength and power. Research has shown that there are improvements in athletic movements (e.g., rapid agility, sprinting, jumping etc.) as strength and conditioning professionals integrate Olympic type exercises to improve strength, power and speed in athletes.
What is strength and why is it so important? Well, strength is the ability to exert force on an external object or resistance. In everyday activities, such as getting up from a chair, each individual is required to exert enough strength to propel their bodies up against a gravitational force when standing up from a seated position. Individuals that participate in sports require more force and power to effectively execute movements like running, sprinting, jumping and changing directions. Acquiring sufficient strength and power may determine the performance of an individual in their desired sport or activity. So, with appropriate strength training we can improve an individuals’ ability to increase force and power through neural and morphological adaptations. One way of doing this is implementing the hang clean pulls into an athletes’ training. This variation of the Olympic lift is easier to coach and execute compared to the full movement. The hang clean pull as also known as the “second pull” of the clean and jerk movement where force and power are required the most. The hang clean pull finishes with the individual pulling the bar upwards into full extension of the hip, knee and ankle. The full extension is important as it’s the transferred movement seen in athletic sports that require an explosive extension of the hip, knee and ankle (e.g., rapid agility, running, sprinting, jumping etc.) When technique is accomplished progressive loading can then be applied. Optimal loading for peak force production can range from 70-85% an athletes’ one repetition max of the hang power clean. Optimal loading for peak power development may range from 60-120% one repetition max of an athletes’ power clean. Athletes and coaches need to remember that optimal loads are relative to an individual’s lifting experience and technique foundation.
Whether you’re training off season or during season any Olympic weightlifting pulling derivative is beneficial to an individual’s technique work and strength-power foundation. If you’re looking to add something different to your gym program or want to implement Olympic lifts or variations into your clients or athletes program, make sure you understand how to coach the technique before adding load or seek appropriate advice. Book in with any of our physiotherapists here at Back in Motion Alphington to learn this technique.
Ayers, J. L., DeBeliso, M., Sevene, T. G., & Adams, K. J. (2016). Hang cleans and hang snatches produce similar improvements in female collegiate athletes. Biology of sport, 33(3), 251–256. doi:10.5604/20831862.1201814
Suchomel, Timothy & Comfort, Paul & Stone, Michael. (2015). Weightlifting Pulling Derivatives: Rationale for Implementation and Application. Sports Medicine. 45. 823-839. 10.1007/s40279-015-0314-y.
Suchomel, Timothy & Beckham, George & Wright, Glenn. (2014). The impact of load on lower body performance variables during the hang power clean. Sports Biomechanics. 13. 87-95. 10.1080/14763141.2013.861012.