The other day I got an email with a quesiton from someone that had just read an article I had written a while back for EliteFTS: Rapid Rate of Force Development
It’s a good question. My assumption is that he was thinking that the power clean starts off the floor with minimal muscle activity, so it’d require a greater rate of force development to get the bar moving. To an extent, that may be true, but this is based on a couple important assumptions:
Both lifts involve some sort of muscular pre-tension (holding the bar in a hang clean will pretension the muscles; gripping bar and pulling yourself into the right position will pre-tension the muscles in the power clean). In other words, you aren’t starting from complete muscular inactivity in a power clean. You still need to perform an isometric contraction against the bar to get into the correct starting position, but it’s reasonable to assume there would be more activity in the glutes, traps, and back extensors during a hang clean.
To expand on the latter, the exercises are simply different. Even with the same load, the momentum and stretch-reflex characteristics of the two exercises are likely to be different. I don’t think a power clean is necessarily a more explosive lift. You definitely do more work (by definition work is calculated by the distance a weight travels) during a power clean than hang clean, but I think saying it’s more powerful may be giving the wrong impression.
Regarding athletics, I think the hang is a better option because you get to reinforce the proper athletic position and you avoid the problems most athletes have with off-the-floor exercises associated with limited range of motion.
To your success,
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.