Posted on

Progressing From the Hang Power Clean To The Power Clean: A 4 Step Model

 
VARIATIONS OF THE WEIGHTLIFTING COMPETITION LIFTS ARE OFTEN USED AS PART OF AN ATHLETE’S COMPREHENSIVE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAM, SPECIFICALLY TO IMPROVE TOTAL BODY POWER. ALTHOUGH THESE VARIATIONS ARE EFFECTIVE, THEIR COMPLEX TECHNIQUE SUGGESTS CAREFUL TEACHING TO THOSE LEARNING. THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO PROVIDE STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROFESSIONALS A TEACHING PROGRESSION FOR THE POWER CLEAN, SPECIFICALLY FOR TEACHING THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY SKILLED IN THE HANG POWER CLEAN.
 
  
THE POWER CLEAN VERSUS THE HANG POWER CLEAN
It is important to note the difference between the power clean and the hang power clean. Although similar, the power clean differs from the hang power clean, in that the maximal load used in the power clean is higher than the maximal load used in the hang power clean. A study examining the snatch in elite weightlifters that illustrated barbell velocity during competition repetitions (reps) shows this theory. The illustration showed that the barbell accelerates during the first pull and does not decelerate during the transition phase before the biggest acceleration occurs during the second pull. Therefore, when done correctly, the second pull of the power clean occurs when the barbell is already accelerating, whereas the second pull of the hang power clean occurs at a zero velocity. Theoretically, this means that the maximal load used in power clean must be higher than the maximal load used in the hang power clean. Therefore, training with the power clean allows the athlete to train with a greater absolute load than the hang power clean. This gives strength and conditioning professionals the option of using a highly loaded power exercise as part of an athlete’s power training workouts.
  
THE 4-STEP MODEL
 
STEP 1: LEARN THE PROPER HANG POWER CLEAN TECHNIQUE
This 4-step model progresses the lifter from the hang power clean to the power clean.Although the first exercise learned in this model is the clean deadlift, the base and first step of the progression is a proper hang power clean technique, which makes this progression model a modification of the USA Weightlifting model. This model is not designed to replace USA Weightlifting’s model but to add to the strength and conditioning professional’s options for teaching such a complex movement. Again, for full understanding of the hang power clean, the reader is encouraged to review “A 6-step progression model for teaching the hang power clean,” as this is the first step in our 4-step progression model presented in this article.
IMPORTANT STANCES AND POSTURE
The important stances and posture associated with the progression are described below:
* Power stance (also referred to as the pulling stance): approximately hip width, toes pointing forward or slightly outward, and center of gravity on mid foot
* Strength stance (also referred to as the squat stance): approximately shoulder width, toes pointing forward or slightly outward, and center of gravity toward the heel
* Proper posture: thoracic spine extended, shoulders neutral, head vertical or in neutral alignment with spine, and eyes looking forward.
 
STEP 2: CLEAN DEADLIFT
Purpose
To teach the athlete the proper starting position, first pull, and transition phases for the power clean using the 15- to 20-kg barbell with standard-sized training plates.
* Starting grip: firm shoulder width, overhand grip (thumbs in), closed grip or hook grip, and wrists neutral or flexed (Heavy loads will cause the wrist to be more neutral.)
* Starting stance: power stance.
* Starting position: clean deadlift position-head vertical or in alignment with the torso, shoulders slightly ahead of the bar, elbows and knees in alignment and side by side (if the athlete has a high leg length to torso length ratio, that is, for most tall athletes, the knees may be in advance of the elbows), the thoracic spine extended, the lumbar spine extended, hips higher than the knees, and feet flat on the ground with the center of gravity over the middle of the foot.
* Action: After getting into the proper clean deadlift starting position, the bar is brought to the hang position.
* Action of the first pull: The bar is separated from the floor to knee height through knee extension and ankle plantar flexion with conscious thought of bringing the bar toward the body and moving the center of gravity toward the heels while keeping a constant posture, a constant back angle relative to the ground, the shoulders ahead of the bar, and the bar in slight contact with the body via wrist flexion.
* Action of the transition: Without slowing or stopping the movement, the bar is brought from knee height to the hang position through hip extension. Although the shoulders move back with this hip extension, they remain in front of the bar, and the center of gravity is brought toward the mid foot .
* Ending position: hang position-weight on the balls of feet, bar at lower midthigh level, tension felt in the hamstrings, and the shoulders slightly in front of the bar.
STEP 3: CLEAN DEADLIFT + HANG POWER CLEAN
Purpose
To teach the athlete how to properly perform the power clean, with a brief 1- to 2-second pause between the transition phase and the second pull using the 15- to 20-kg barbell with standard-sized training plates.
* Starting grip: firm shoulder width, overhand grip (thumbs in), closed grip or hook grip, and wrists neutral or flexed (Heavy loads will cause the wrist to be more neutral.)
* Starting stance: power stance.
* Starting position: clean deadlift position.
* Action: After properly performing the clean deadlift to the hang position (first pull and transition phase), pause for 1 to 2 seconds and execute the hang power clean into the catch position.
* Action of the second pull: Nearly full extension of the ankles, knees, and hips is achieved through aggressively pushing the feet into the ground rising up on the toes and shrugging the shoulders.
* Action of the catch: After the second pull, the bar is caught in the catch position with the upper arms parallel to the ground and in the sagittal plane and the feet flat with the toes pointed forward or slightly outward.This is achieved through the action of bringing the elbows up, under, and around the bar, while the feet are displacing laterally. During this action, it is important to keep the bar close to the body to minimize its horizontal movement (looping) and to make sure the bar and feet land simultaneously. Also, arm strength should not be used to pull the bar up to the catch. Instead, the ankle, hip, and knee extension from the second pull should be used to transfer force into the bar with the intent of then getting the body under the bar into the correct catch position.
* Ending stance: strength stance.
* Ending grip: front squat rack position.
* Ending position: catch position the lifter then finishes the front squat driving through the heels with the elbows up, forward, and aligned in the sagittal plan.
 STEP 4: POWER CLEAN
 
Purpose
To teach the athlete how to properly perform the power clean in one movement using the 15- to 20-kg barbell with standard-sized training plates.
* Starting grip: firm shoulder width, overhand grip (thumbs in), closed grip or hook grip, and wrists neutral or flexed (Heavy loads will cause the wrist to be more neutral.)
* Starting stance: power stance.
* Starting position: clean deadlift position.
* Action: After properly performing the clean deadlift and when approaching the hang position, explosively initiate the second pull and catch (without hesitation).
* Ending stance: strength stance.
* Ending grip: front squat rack position.
* Ending position: catch position; the lifter then finishes the front squat driving through the heels with the elbows up, forward, and aligned in the sagittal plane.
After introducing the progression model and learning each step, it will make the lifter practice before he or she completely learns the power clean. Even with the same proper background in the hang power clean, some lifters will learn quicker than others. During this learning process, it is recommended for the lifter to practice with about 3 to 5 reps per set with lighter loads than would normally be used with the hang power clean. With these lighter loads, it is helpful to control the speed of the first pull and transition phase (clean deadlift portion) before applying full effort during the second pull. This helps the lifter to consistently maintain and reach the correct positions required for a proper technique. With continued practice, though, the lifter should apply full effort during the first pull and the transition phase without losing proper position. Therefore, the lifter should use a higher load with the power clean when compared with the hang power clean. Consequently, the strength and conditioning professional will then be able to appropriately use the power clean as a safe and effective means for a heavy power training.
Sources:

  • Progressing From the Hang Power Clean to the Power Clean: A 4-Step Model

Duba, James MA, CSCS, USAW1; Kraemer, William J PhD, CSCS, FNSCA2; Martin, Gerard MA, CSCS*D, USAW1 (All information  taken from this article)
Leave a Reply