Dumbbell Hang Power Clean: Benefits, Muscles Used, and More

dumbbell hang power clean benefits

The dumbbell hang power clean is an efficient weightlifting exercise for developing explosive strength and one that engages a broad range of muscle groups. It is a challenging set of movements that makes for a great introduction to the clean and jerk for beginners.

Weightlifters often perform the dumbbell hang power clean to practice the synchronicity of movements of the hips, knees, and shoulders during that explosive burst of strength that provides momentum for the lift. The skills acquired from this variation are transferable to the clean and jerk, one of the lifts in the Olympic weightlifting competition.

Due to the plyometric nature of the workout, even crossfitters incorporate this exercise into their routine. However, they usually do this with lighter weights and higher repetitions to get their hearts pumping. The best way to do a dumbbell hang power clean is with a weight one can handle without working too hard to keep the proper form.

What is the Dumbbell Hang Power Clean?

The dumbbell hang power clean is a safer and more manageable version of the hang power clean, and they are both fantastic supplemental exercises for the clean and jerk. So whether one is hitting a plateau, trying to get rid of a sticking point, or a beginner trying to progress through more advanced variations, this exercise helps them get there.

dumbbell hang power clean

The exercise starts with the weights on the hips and ends when the dumbbells are swung around and caught in the front rack position. When performed correctly, one should feel the back, legs, and core muscles working hard to manage the movement of the weights.

How to Perform the Dumbbell Hang Power Clean

When doing the dumbbell hang power clean, choose a weight that is manageable for three sets of anywhere from five to ten reps each and within your comfort zone. The weight should be just right so one can keep the form and technique correct through all the sets and reps. 

Using a neutral grip, grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at the side of the thighs. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows. Next, stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and the knees slightly bent. This is the starting position.

dumbbell hang power clean starting position

Engage the core, retract the shoulders, and bend from the hips and knees to lower the dumbbells a little below knee level while maintaining a straight back. Once the weights are below knee level, extend the hips and knees explosively to generate momentum. This knee and hip extension is a jumping movement where the feet actually leave the ground.

dumbbell hang power clean 2nd position

Before the knees and hips are fully extended, the shoulders should start performing a powerful shrug to add more momentum to the lift. Next, rotate the elbows forward while bending the hips and knees, finally catching the weight in a parallel squatting posture. The dumbbells should then be resting at the side of the shoulders.

dumbbell hang power clean 3rd position

To finish the clean, stand up and drop the dumbbells to the sides of the thigh. Repeat movement for the desired number of sets and repetitions.

Muscles Worked by Dumbbell Hang Power Cleans

Nearly every muscle in the lower body, especially the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors, puts in a lot of effort to provide the initial explosive force that generates momentum for the lift and also to control the body’s descent into a parallel squat. After completing the squat position, they are again stimulated upon standing back up.

Additionally, the upper back and shoulder muscles are worked quite a bit to get the desired extra momentum for the lift. To keep one’s trunk stable at all times, the core muscles need to be actively engaged.

Benefits of the Dumbbell Hang Power Clean

Improves Explosive Strength

Maffiuletti et al. conducted research in which they discovered that the outcomes of the rate of force development have substantial functional effects on athletes’ abilities due to their similarity with respect to both sports and everyday activities. 

The rate of force development is a metric that shows how quickly an athlete can build up the power needed to do a particular task. It is the rate at which the muscles can produce a maximal voluntary contraction.

Due to the shortened range of motion, as opposed to starting from the floor, this trains the body to produce the explosive strength necessary to generate momentum from a shorter distance of travel. This helps overcome sticking points or break plateaus in other more advanced clean variations, like the clean and jerk.

Enhances Muscular Coordination

The phrase “motor coordination” refers to the integrated motions of more than one area of the body at the same time. Motor coordination is a measure of how well a person can use their muscles and joints together to do something. It is the capacity to perform smooth, precise, and regulated motor responses in a manner that exhibits the optimum interaction of muscle activity to perform a specific task.

The dumbbell hang power clean requires perfect muscular coordination to perform flawlessly. Because the exercise is a much simpler version of the clean and jerk, it helps beginners train the body for that needed mind-muscle connection before moving on to more advanced clean variations.

Better for Mobility Issues

For those with shoulder and wrist mobility issues, the barbell would be a bit restrictive, as they might find themselves working against getting hit in the face by the bar. In addition, this might put unnecessary pressure on the shoulders and back as the head tries to move away from the bar. 

The dumbbell hang power clean makes this movement a tad more manageable as the dumbbell hangs on the sides of the shoulders. This is a great way to learn the clean movement while still working out shoulder and wrist mobility issues.

Final Thoughts

As is the case with all other types of physical activity, certain forms of exercise are simpler to undertake than others, while others require more skill. The only difference between the power clean with dumbbells and the hang power clean with dumbbells is that the hang power clean with dumbbells begins with the dumbbells positioned higher on the athlete’s body.

This exercise is made easier to perform as a result of the lower travel distance of the dumbbells. This also makes it a good place to start when trying to comprehend how the exercise works and to progress toward more challenging variations.


1. Maffiuletti NA, Aagaard P, Blazevich AJ, Folland J, Tillin N, Duchateau J. Rate of force development: physiological and methodological considerations. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016;116(6):1091-1116. doi:10.1007/s00421-016-3346-6