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

He asked:

“Based on the information in the article, and relating this to a power clean/hang clean, would this then explain that a power clean requires more ROFD than a hang clean, or in laymen terms, a power clean is a much more explosive lift?”

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:

  1. The muscle activity in the start position is greater in the hang clean than power clean (reasonable)
  2. The same muscles must reach the same amount of muscle activity to perform the exercise (probably unreasonable)

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 Neeld


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