The hip clean can be a very technical lift in Olympic weightlifting, but if done correctly, it can do wonders for beginner- to elite-level athletes.
What makes the hip clean so effective is you can use it to teach a beginner-level weightlifter how to move efficiently under the bar from the top down. For intermediate and advanced level weightlifters, the hip clean reinforces the completion of the pull and speed or aggression under the bar in the pull and catch phase.
This means you will learn the classical clean from the hip, the hang, below the knee, and finally from the ground.
Table of Contents
- How To Hip Clean
- Hip Clean Muscles Worked
- Hip Clean Benefits
- Hip Clean Variations
How To Hip Clean
Hip Clean Muscles Worked
The hip clean is a swift and explosive movement. The primary muscles that work in the hip clean are the glutes, quads, traps, and the upper back.
Hip Clean Benefits
Teaches You To Complete Your Pull
The hip clean will force you to focus on completing your pull before pulling yourself under the bar. If, however, you do not complete your pull, you might find yourself missing the lift.
You have to emphasize getting into that triple extended position (ankles, knees, and hips) before focusing on getting under the bar for the clean.
Reinforces Speed And Aggression Under The Bar
Suppose you lack speed and aggression in your cleans when you pull yourself under the bar. The hip clean is a great exercise to reinforce speed in that movement. If you slowly pull yourself under the bar, you have a good chance of missing the lift.
When training this movement for speed and aggression, the aim should not be to go as heavy as possible but rather on the quality of the movement.
Breaks Down The Clean For Beginner Level Weightlifters
If you are a beginner-level athlete, this is a great place to start when learning to do the clean. I am a big believer in teaching from the top down, which means I will teach you first the clean from the hip.
Then move onto the hang, below the knee, and finally from the ground. This breakdown of the movement will make it easier for you not to overthink all the technical steps along the way. The aim would be to feel where the bar should sit in the hip position and pull yourself under the bar, catching the bar in the front rack position and standing up.
Hip Clean Variations
Hip Clean No Feet
Hip clean with no feet means that you will perform the hip clean without moving your feet or jumping out with your feet in the catch phase. The main emphasis here is to focus on getting tall and completing the pull before pulling yourself under the bar.
Hip Clean With A Pause In The Squat
The hip clean with a pause in the squat can be done for two reasons, to build strength in the catch phase or work on technique in the catch phase. You will pause in the squat after performing the lift for about 2-4 seconds, focusing on keeping tension in the squat position and staying tight under the bar.
The hip clean is a great assistant exercise for the beginner to the advanced level weightlifter. The main emphasis is to teach you to complete your pull or work on that aggression and speed when you pull yourself under the bar.
If done correctly, this movement can be very powerful for your technique and help you work on more minor details without having to overthink the lift. Typically, you will find athletes working between 65%-90% of their current 1 RM clean for 1-3 repetitions depending on your goal for the movement.