Monday, March 7, 2011

Do we have to Front Squat to be able to Hang Clean?

I use the hang clean in most of my athletes programs. In saying this I dont have anyone do front squats! So this begs the question - Do we have to Front Squat to be able to Hang Clean?

I can safely say no! I teach the hang using Glenn Pendlays teaching of the high hang clean. Since incorporating this approach, I have had hugh success in teaching the hang clean all my athletes who use it.

The fact of the matter is you are only going to catch the hang clean in a quarter squat or even less. (*Just to side track for a second, I guess what I really coach is a hang power clean). I see a lot of athletes who cant Front Squat past a certain range because they are restricted in the t-spine, hips, or ankles, but have absolutely no problem executing a hang (power) clean.

The Pendlay approach I have taking is:

Step One: Get the athlete into a clean grip position and get them into a very slight squat. Above a quater squat.

Step Two: Now that you have shown them the finishing position, and made sure that they can easily achieve the position, you teach them the start position with these three easy cues:

- Chest Up
- Wrist Under
- Sit

Step Three: To execute the lift, you now tell you athletes the following three cues

- Jump
- Shrug
- Punch (to punch the elbows up), or just "elbows up".

This is how I have been teaching it for the last 6months with excellent succuss.

So in my opinion and from what I have seen, you do not need to Front Squat if you are only going to hang (power) Clean, or even power clean. But if you decide to do the full lifts, Front Squats will be an absolute nesscessity.

Just some Thoughts,

Stay Strong,


  1. Hi Robbie,

    The thought process behind the teach the front squat first for the most part is merely to ensure athletes can acheive a proper rack position. If they can't get in an appropriate position with front squats they are not ready to catch a clean. (full clean vs. power clean like you mention) In a similar vein overhead squats are used to gauge readniness to snatch.

  2. I disagree. A front Squat to parallel is a far different position the catch position for a hang power clean, or power clean.

    I am a prime example of this. I can rack a hang clean easily, but my Front past parallel is not nice to look at. My T-spine is my limiting factor, as it is for most.

    If you are an olympic lifter you will have to Front Squat.

    I have had no problems teaching my athletes since I have adopted Plendlays high hang clean approach, and I never do a Front squat with them.

    I get them into the catch position first always, and teach them to clean.