There are many ways to progress athletes to Olympic Lift variations such as the hang snatch or hang clean. Olympic lifts are very similar to teaching a hip hinge except they become more explosive and dynamic. Jaime Rodriguez has a great progression article for hang cleans that can be found on HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com, a great resource for any strength coach that trains hockey athletes. Even before we get into the hang clean itself, these various exercises can encourage explosive hip motion that will be needed for the hang clean.
The first two exercises we tend to use for some of our athletes are box jumps and vertical jumps. The box jump and vertical jump can be an easy and effective coaching tool when trying to teach athletes to explode from the hips, knees, and ankles (triple extension) which is critical for the hang clean.
Vertical Jump: (yup, my five-inch vertical, get the hips through better than this!). At first, we are trying to focus on pushing the butt back, then finishing the hips up & through. Do not forget the landing is just as important as the jump itself. Simply jumping for the sake of jumping without an effective landing limits the effectiveness of the exercises and movement pattern. Land how you would initiate the movement.
Box Jump: similar teaching to the vertical jump, focus on getting the hips all the way through and landing softly, which again mine is not awesome. Notice that I am not landing with my butt below my knees. Land how you would start. Knees out, hips back and high, chest up.
Once athletes perfect these explosive exercises as well as the other hip dominant strength exercises. Then we can progress to more dynamic hip dominant exercises like DB hang snatches and KB swings.
When working with athletes and the clean, I have noticed that in our facility they did an awesome job of driving their hips through but were not used to the catch portion of the lift. They tended to catch the bar with the elbows down which puts all the stress on the wrists. One coaching tool for this that I used for the catch was this.
Teaching the “Catch”
- Bar set around chest level (basically where you would drop under to catch the bar)
- Elbows out and up
- Simultaneously drop and “punch” the elbows forward, resting the bar on the delts/clavicle. Usually the “stomp” heard from the feet should coordinate with the punching forward of the elbows.
There are many ways to teach the catch that I am learning such as teaching the front squat position first which our other coaches used successfully. This is simply another way to go about teaching the catch position that seemed to help some of our athletes! I had our athletes usually perform 8-10 of these before each set of cleans.
Categories: Strength Training