Muscle Hang Clean Squat - WTF?!

There is nothing more confusing to CrossFit beginner than the Olympic Weightlifting portion. Even though the sport is supposed to be raw and simple (just bring a weight from the floor over your head), there are indeed many many variations we are using in CrossFit and if you got lost about the terms: You are not alone!

But it actually is quite logical: The different names of the Cleans and Snatches follow a kind of system. Let´s take a look at it using the Clean as an example (SAME applies for the Snatch, of course).



The Clean is a lift where the weight is brought from the floor to the shoulder in one fluent movement. The movements starts with the barbell in a completely passive state on the ground and ends with the athlete standing up all the way, the body in one straight line, the bar resting on the shoulder and clearly behind the elbows.


Ok, that was easy. Now it can happen that there is a word written in front of the "Clean". There are 3 options and they all descripe the receiving position. 


Squat Clean (also called: Full Clean)

The Clean has to be received in a squat position where the hip crease is clearly below the knee.

The Squat Clean is manly used for heavy loads and low reps, since it is slow and leads to fatigue easily, but also allows us to move the highest weights.




Power Clean

The Clean has to be received in a partial squat. When catching the bar, the athletes hip has to be clearly above the knee. 

The Power Clean is one of the most popular movements in CrossFit. It is fast yet allows to move moderat weights. Perfect for workouts with medium load and medium to high reps. It is also a beginnter friendly version since it doesn´t require the speed and mobility a Squat Clean does.



Muscle Clean

After the full extension of hips, knees and ankle, the athlete´s knees have to remain locked. The bar has to be received in an upright position without any further dropping under the load.

The Muscle Clean is a typical technical drill to practice power generation from full extension. It is only done on light loads and actually never in CrossFit workouts.



Ok, let´s repeat: The word directly in front of the "Clean" describes the receiving position. If there is no word giving, the athlete can choose, depending on load, rep scheme and physcial abilities. 

BUT: There can even be another word in front of the word in front :-). Sorry for that. The first word in a row of 3 is used in case the lift DOES NOT start from the ground. It then desribes the alternative starting point.


Hang (Squat/Power/Muscle) Clean

The Clean starts with the barbell anywhere between the knee and the hip pocket.

Lifts from the Hang can be used for different reasons, e.g. to reduce the complexity of a Clean, to cycle multible reps faster or the train the forearm stamina. 



High Hang (Squat/Power/Muscle) Clean

The Clean starts with the barbell directly in the hip pocket.

The High Hang is also a technical drill that is commenly used with novice to teach the basic concept of the tripple extension and force generation from the legs as well as the tight-to-the-torso-bar path and the receiving.




It is either given a Clean (end position on the shoulder) or Snatch (end position over head). If there is nothing further stated, you have to start from the floor and bring the weight to the end position in one fluent movement. The receiving is up to you, as long as your body is fully extented in the end.

There might be a term in front of the Clean/Snatch that describes the receiving position: Squat, Power or Muscle.

There might be even a term before the receiving describtion. That one describes the starting point: Hang or High Hang.