Contributors: Adam Mosher, CSCS, former head strength and conditioning coach for NASCAR’s Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and current pit crew member for Martin Truex Jr.’s #56 NAPA Auto Parts car; Jeff Kerr, a Hendrick Motorsports pit crew member who has also assisted Mosher as a strength coach.
Where it hits: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, core, shoulders, traps
Why it’s effective: “The hang clean is the perfect lift to improve strength, flexibility, balance, body control and explosiveness,” says Mosher. “In any sport, including pit stops [in NASCAR], those five factors are the pillars to being a great athlete.” “I agree with cleans,” says Kerr,” but I would choose the power clean for all the reasons Mosher mentioned and because it involves a little more lower body strength and power, since the bar starts on the ground.”
How to do it: Stand over a loaded barbell on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down to grasp the bar with an overhand grip, your chest out and your torso bent at 45 degrees. Keeping your entire body tensed, drive explosively through your heels to straighten your knees and bring your hips forward until the bar is at hip height, then immediately pull the bar up to your shoulders and squat under it as you catch it on your shoulders with your elbows pointed forward. Extend your hips and knees to stand straight up with the bar resting on your upper chest and front delts. Lower the bar back to the floor and repeat.
When doing hang cleans, the motion is the same, except that you start the movement in a standing position with the bar hanging straight down in front of you. Initiate the movement by dipping your hips down with a relatively shallow bend of the knees and exploding upward.
How much to do: Mosher recommends five sets of 3-5 reps using 60%-70% of your 1RM and roughly 70-second rest periods.