No training program is complete if it doesn’t include a healthy dose of explosiveness. It doesn’t matter what the goal is: If it’s building mass, power training recruits fast-twitch muscle fibers (the ones that grow the biggest) to a greater extent than slow-twitch fibers. For strength, being able to move weight faster will allow you to lift more weight immediately. If the goal is fat burning, explosive exercises ramp up the metabolism and keep it elevated long after your workout is over. If you’re an athlete, power moves will directly help your play on the field. In other words, make sure you train explosively on a regular basis. Feel free to start with this exercise: the hang clean.

The Clean Zone

Follow these instructions to power up your training with hang cleans:

Set Up:

  1. Stand holding a loaded barbell with your hands around shoulder width apart.
  2. Start with your arms extended toward the floor and the bar in front of your thighs.
  3. Assume an athletic stance with your knees slightly bent, ready to pull explosively.


Keeping your torso upright, dip down and immediately extend your hips and knees to drive the bar up as fast as possible. Catch the bar by dropping your elbows, bending your knees, and finishing in the “clean” position. Stand up, then let the bar drop down to the start position.

Quick Tips

Where It Hits: Full body, emphasis on legs and upper traps
When to Do It: Early in a lower-body or full-body workout
How Much to Do: 3 to 5 sets, 3 to 8 reps