Advise on Improving My Hang Clean

Alright, here’s what’s going on with me. I can hang clean a max of 220 right now, and weigh about 154 lbs. My goal is to get to 300 by the beginning of september for semi pro tryouts. Right now I’m hitting a bit of a snag. It seems reaching a 225 max is a difficult hurdle, part of it seems to be psychological ias I get nervous before I do cleans. Now, what I want to know is how I can faster improve my max hang clean, and want to know if I am doing something wrong. Now, here’s what’s been going on. I started back at the gym in october, after a 2 year period of not going.

My max had dropped from 230 to 190. I got it up to 225 in 2 months, then got sick for a large part of january and didn’t go. Started back feb. 6th and the Max had dropped to 205. I hit 220 on 2/27 and since haven’t hit 225. I can rep 215 4 times, which has gone up from 1 rep on 2/27…so I’m improving in repping, but not maxing. I have been going to the gym every 2 days, doing 3 sets of 3 to 4 each day. I want help with how to make the 1 rep max go up fast. Firstly,how often should I go, and how many sets and reps of hang cleans should I do. What about other lifts that could help? Protein supplements? Give me some recommendations on those things.

Try posting in the Olympic Lifting forum. And, semi-pro what?

Hey congratulations on cleaning 220 weighing only 154, you are one strong dude. I did a military press of 220 at 160 when i was 19. I think you want to back off a bit on the over 90% attempts and work with say 80% and work on technique and speed ok. Now at nearly 64 years old my best is only 170 from the floor. And I to was looking for an assistance exercise that would have carry over value… I think the dumbell snatch could be that.

But again find a weight around 60 to 80% and work on technique and speed. I myself feel better lifting from the floor ok… And there you start off slow until you hit the knees,then you shrug the weight while your positioning yourself for the triple extension of the ankles, knees and hips.

Are you doing a squat clean? or a power clean? I think assistance exercises that work the hips and ankles are needed, plus spinal errectors and entire back too. I find doing the frog jump squats actually give me a kind of explosiveness that does carry over. Jump squats can help but keep the weight down for these, also but not last some type of explosive jumping from a hang position works too.

Let me know how things are going for you…

[quote]MElrodR wrote:
Try posting in the Olympic Lifting forum. And, semi-pro what? [/quote]
Semi-pro football

[quote]silee wrote:
Hey congratulations on cleaning 220 weighing only 154, you are one strong dude. I did a military press of 220 at 160 when i was 19. I think you want to back off a bit on the over 90% attempts and work with say 80% and work on technique and speed ok. Now at nearly 64 years old my best is only 170 from the floor. And I to was looking for an assistance exercise that would have carry over value… I think the dumbell snatch could be that.
But again find a weight around 60 to 80% and work on technique and speed. I myself feel better lifting from the floor ok… And there you start off slow until you hit the knees,then you shrug the weight while your positioning yourself for the triple extension of the ankles, knees and hips.

Are you doing a squat clean? or a power clean? I think assistance exercises that work the hips and ankles are needed, plus spinal errectors and entire back too. I find doing the frog jump squats actually give me a kind of explosiveness that does carry over. Jump squats can help but keep the weight down for these, also but not last some type of explosive jumping from a hang position works too.

Let me know how things are going for you…[/quote]

Thanks. Strangely, my bench and squat maxes are both low…but the clean is good. Some good advise there, but -'d also like to know how often I should go. Sets and reps as well. Should i go down to say 185 and do sets of 6? And, how about back squats, do they help? I think my legs are the weAk link in the clean. I actually flipped 225 all the way, but then fell backward. I also 4 days ago picked it up, I felt like my arms could flip it, but like my legs couldn’t do their part and I would fall if I did it. Sure enough, I was right. My squat is only like 165, if even…which to most makes it amazing I can even clean 220. I think more reps with say 185 would make me less nervous before working out as well, since its not so close to my max. Squats would do the same, since its just an assistance lift for my real goal. Though I find it strange I can rep 215 4 times and not even 1 for 225…could that be because its just the limit for my legs? Also, would protein supplements help? I’m a vegetarian…thoughts?

[quote]Halfspin4life wrote:

[quote]silee wrote:
Hey congratulations on cleaning 220 weighing only 154, you are one strong dude. I did a military press of 220 at 160 when i was 19. I think you want to back off a bit on the over 90% attempts and work with say 80% and work on technique and speed ok. Now at nearly 64 years old my best is only 170 from the floor. And I to was looking for an assistance exercise that would have carry over value… I think the dumbell snatch could be that.
But again find a weight around 60 to 80% and work on technique and speed. I myself feel better lifting from the floor ok… And there you start off slow until you hit the knees,then you shrug the weight while your positioning yourself for the triple extension of the ankles, knees and hips.

Are you doing a squat clean? or a power clean? I think assistance exercises that work the hips and ankles are needed, plus spinal errectors and entire back too. I find doing the frog jump squats actually give me a kind of explosiveness that does carry over. Jump squats can help but keep the weight down for these, also but not last some type of explosive jumping from a hang position works too.

Let me know how things are going for you…[/quote]

Thanks. Strangely, my bench and squat maxes are both low…but the clean is good. Some good advise there, but -'d also like to know how often I should go. Sets and reps as well. Should i go down to say 185 and do sets of 6? And, how about back squats, do they help? I think my legs are the weAk link in the clean. I actually flipped 225 all the way, but then fell backward. I also 4 days ago picked it up, I felt like my arms could flip it, but like my legs couldn’t do their part and I would fall if I did it. Sure enough, I was right. My squat is only like 165, if even…which to most makes it amazing I can even clean 220. I think more reps with say 185 would make me less nervous before working out as well, since its not so close to my max. Squats would do the same, since its just an assistance lift for my real goal. Though I find it strange I can rep 215 4 times and not even 1 for 225…could that be because its just the limit for my legs? Also, would protein supplements help? I’m a vegetarian…thoughts? [/quote]

I don’t know how often you should train this…I think you have to experiment. Sets well, depends on your reps… I think say 10 sets of 1 or 2 rep. 185 is 84% of 220 so. Definitely you should rest 3 to 5 minutes. I think any form of squats are good, but recommend the front squat. and do some single leg work too like a bulgarian squat. Say you train three weeks twice a week, Then take your deloading days keeping it light, nothing about 60% of 1 rep max… then for the next three weeks work with 190. The idea is to gain confidence and get your technique down, where you feel confident with your legs, that you will not fall back.

You could try to do a spilt when cleaning. For that you would bring one leg back and one forward in short you are lowering yourself to get under the bar.
I agree that you should bring up your leg strength, their i would do front squats with but start with say 70% of your one rep max which is 165. and train by doing 5 sets of 5 reps. You know that a lot of your training will have to be tweaked.
Question when you tried 225 did you start by doing 215 for 4? what did you do prior? It could be your warm-up has to be less strenuous, so warm up using only 60% of the 1 rep max and then jump up by so 135 2 or 3 reps, then 160/1 185/1 210/1 then Depending on how you are feeling either go for it or do a 220 to establish that you can do that again…

eating a well balanced diet is important. Are you looking to gain weight? If i were you i wouldn’t attempt to set your record on an empty stomach. so an hour before eat a meal consisting of some slow burning carbs with a glass of chocolate milk, if you want to supplement that with whey protein thats fine.

your not that far off on your goal… So start telling yourself its going to happen, because it is! how old are you?

I do actually split when I clean,but when it gets to 225, the legs give out. The last time I tried 225 it was the first thing I did at the gym that day…I did not feel 100 percent but it was from the heat…but I doubt thatve made a difference. I’m 20, almost 21 so my prime has yet to arrive in terms of strength, and I do believe my goal is reachable, but I get antsy about wanting to be there now. Back when I hit 225 in dec. I got it there by doing 3 sets of 5-6 roughly, and was doing 205. But even then, I know I was pushing my legs max…as they felt like they could barely manage the weight though my upper body had little trouble. I like your idea of front squats, since its basically squatting down in the position the bar has to get to on a clean…it will also help the upper body. So you think I should go only twice a week? Or did you mean only two days of heavy lifting. It seems like itd take 3 to get the job done. I’m thinking the 3 sets of 6 deal on cleans seems good, and then ill do the same for front squats.

make your front squat stronger than your goal clean, in addition to training your clean 2-3 times a week. do a speed day with around 75%, medium technique day with 80%, then a heavy singles day with like 10 sets of 85%.

[quote]Halfspin4life wrote:
I do actually split when I clean,but when it gets to 225, the legs give out. The last time I tried 225 it was the first thing I did at the gym that day…I did not feel 100 percent but it was from the heat…but I doubt thatve made a difference. I’m 20, almost 21 so my prime has yet to arrive in terms of strength, and I do believe my goal is reachable, but I get antsy about wanting to be there now. Back when I hit 225 in dec. I got it there by doing 3 sets of 5-6 roughly, and was doing 205. But even then, I know I was pushing my legs max…as they felt like they could barely manage the weight though my upper body had little trouble. I like your idea of front squats, since its basically squatting down in the position the bar has to get to on a clean…it will also help the upper body. So you think I should go only twice a week? Or did you mean only two days of heavy lifting. It seems like itd take 3 to get the job done. I’m thinking the 3 sets of 6 deal on cleans seems good, and then ill do the same for front squats.[/quote]

yeah you can do 3 days , 1 at say 70%, another at 85% then the last one at 90%. If 3 sets of six is fine for the moderate day . 5or 6 sets of 2or 3 on the light day and 4 sets of 1 on the heaviest day.

Get the form down pat on the front squats… so 5 sets of 5 i should think… you have to play this by ear. get into it and see how it goes and then take it from there. Plan on going for a PR in 6 weeks… something to that effect…

Alright 5 sets of 5 on front squats will do…and ofcourse ill moderate it if needed after I see how it goes. I’ll go w/ 3 days a week, and see how the sets/reps thing works. With the front squats at aide, it should go up faster. Can’t wait to start…my schedule makes it best to start on tuesday again. Will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks for advise.

Eat more and grow.

is it just me or does 6 reps on hang cleans seem like alot? I wouldnt do more than 3 in a set unless it was for conditioning is which case the load would be like 50%

Why do you care about your hang clean so much? If you can only squat 165 then your 220 hang clean is the least of your concerns.

In training for sports, there is such a thing as “good enough.” A 220 hang clean at 154 bw is good enough for a football player. A 165 squat is not.

[quote]bignate wrote:
is it just me or does 6 reps on hang cleans seem like alot? I wouldnt do more than 3 in a set unless it was for conditioning is which case the load would be like 50%[/quote]

in high school the coach had us do 3 sets of between 3-6 depending on the day, I just went with what he had us do. Back when I did 3 sets of 6, I improved pretty fast on hang cleans. I just assume that if I’m improving i’m doing something right…but I’ve hit a little snag since I hit 220 on 2/27 and have yet to hit 225…I’m trying to take care of it before it becomes a serious snag

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Why do you care about your hang clean so much? If you can only squat 165 then your 220 hang clean is the least of your concerns.

In training for sports, there is such a thing as “good enough.” A 220 hang clean at 154 bw is good enough for a football player. A 165 squat is not. [/quote]

I want to get the clean up there because I think it will help with my throw-down tackle, to get a stronger slam. I may be off base, but it seems there is some correlation. I want to make a back fall sideways,instead of having to throw them forward.

Plus, it used to just be for football, but then I started to care about the numbers themselves. Since its my only lift thats good, I want to try and make it great…get it to 300 or more.

However, the front squats should help build my squat up to a better level, plus its unlikely you can clean 300 without having atleast a squat of 225 or so, since you do use the legs.

I also think hang cleans help the upper body in general, and will help with taking the hits at the semi-pro level when I run the ball. When I drop my shoulder, its the upper body that takes it. As long as I can stay on my feet, I can do my forward spin…after the hit…but the hits are bigger at semi pro

[quote]Halfspin4life wrote:
Alright 5 sets of 5 on front squats will do…and ofcourse ill moderate it if needed after I see how it goes. I’ll go w/ 3 days a week, and see how the sets/reps thing works. With the front squats at aide, it should go up faster. Can’t wait to start…my schedule makes it best to start on tuesday again. Will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks for advise. [/quote]

Please do. Jog down everything thing as you work though the program

[quote]bignate wrote:
is it just me or does 6 reps on hang cleans seem like alot? I wouldnt do more than 3 in a set unless it was for conditioning is which case the load would be like 50%[/quote]
Yeah i agree but he obviously knows what he wants to do. And if the set got to 90% of 1 rm then 1 to 2 reps are plenty

[quote]Halfspin4life wrote:

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Why do you care about your hang clean so much? If you can only squat 165 then your 220 hang clean is the least of your concerns.

In training for sports, there is such a thing as “good enough.” A 220 hang clean at 154 bw is good enough for a football player. A 165 squat is not. [/quote]

I want to get the clean up there because I think it will help with my throw-down tackle, to get a stronger slam. I may be off base, but it seems there is some correlation. I want to make a back fall sideways,instead of having to throw them forward.

Plus, it used to just be for football, but then I started to care about the numbers themselves. Since its my only lift thats good, I want to try and make it great…get it to 300 or more.

However, the front squats should help build my squat up to a better level, plus its unlikely you can clean 300 without having atleast a squat of 225 or so, since you do use the legs.

I also think hang cleans help the upper body in general, and will help with taking the hits at the semi-pro level when I run the ball. When I drop my shoulder, its the upper body that takes it. As long as I can stay on my feet, I can do my forward spin…after the hit…but the hits are bigger at semi pro[/quote]

Just to be brutally honest, I have no idea how the hell you are playing “semi pro” football with a 165 squat.

^ +1 I could squat 165 below parallel when I first started SS.

^ +1 I could easily squat 165 for 3x5 to depth when I started SS at a sloppy 200 lbs, 6 ft, haha.