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Daniel Mesa

Dumbbell Hang Clean: How To & Benefits

dumbbell hang clean

The dumbbell hang clean isn’t just an exercise; it’s a dynamic powerhouse that can transform your strength, unleash your explosiveness, and elevate your overall athleticism. Join us on this exciting journey as we dive into the world of the dumbbell hang clean. 

We’ll provide you with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to nail the form, sprinkle in some valuable tips to help you shine and explore the muscles that get a workout during this move.

But that’s not all! We’re not just about showing you how to do it; we’ll also uncover the fantastic benefits that come with it. And hey, we get it; sometimes you want options. So, we’ve got you covered with some cool alternatives you can spice up your routine with. 

Plus, we’ll highlight the common missteps to avoid, so you can leap into this exercise journey with confidence. Get ready; the world of the dumbbell hang clean is waiting for you!

How To Do Dumbbell Hang Clean

The dumbbell hang clean may appear complex, but with the right guidance, it can be mastered effectively. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to perform this exercise:


Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs. Your palms should be facing your body.

The Hang Position

Begin by slightly bending your knees and pushing your hips back, lowering the dumbbells to just above your knees. Maintain a straight back, a tight core, and your chest up.

The Pull

Explosively extend your hips, straightening your knees and using the momentum to raise the dumbbells. As you lift the dumbbells, pull them close to your body, keeping them as close as possible to your torso.

Catch and Rack

When the dumbbells reach chest level, quickly drop into a quarter-squat position. Your elbows should be bent, and your upper arms parallel to the ground. Catch the dumbbells on the front of your shoulders.

Stand Tall

Finally, stand up straight, fully extending your hips and knees. The dumbbells should now rest on your shoulders, and you are in the finished position.


To return to the starting position, reverse the movement. Lower the dumbbells back to the hang position, maintaining control and proper form.

Our Tips For Dumbbell Hang Cleans 

Focus on Technique First

Proper technique is the foundation of the dumbbell hang clean. Before attempting heavier weights, spend time perfecting your form to reduce the risk of injury. Start with a manageable weight that allows you to maintain proper posture throughout the exercise. 

Ask guidance from a certified trainer or coach who can provide valuable insights into your technique. Use video recordings to self-assess your form, paying close attention to your back’s straightness and the explosiveness of your hip drive.

Explosive Hip Drive

The power in the dumbbell hang clean is generated from your hips, not your arms. Emphasize hip explosiveness to lift the weights efficiently. Think of your hips as the engine of the movement. As you extend them rapidly, the dumbbells are propelled upward. 

Incorporate hip-focused exercises like kettlebell swings into your routine to improve your hip explosiveness. Visualize your hip drive as a powerful force that initiates the upward movement of the dumbbells.

Catch Softly

When catching the dumbbells on your shoulders, avoid rigidly locking your elbows and wrists. Instead, allow for a slight bend to absorb the impact softly. A gentle, cushioned catch reduces stress on your joints and prevents jarring impacts. 

Practice catching the dumbbells in a quarter-squat position to ensure a safe and controlled landing. Gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable with the catch, focusing on maintaining control.

Common DB Hang Clean Mistakes To Avoid

Rounding Your Back

Rounding your back during the dumbbell hang clean is a common mistake that can lead to serious injury. It puts excessive strain on your spine. A rounded back compromises your form, reducing the effectiveness of the exercise and increasing the risk of lower back pain. 

Focus on keeping your back straight and your chest up throughout the movement. Engage your core muscles to support your spine. Start with lighter weights to ensure you can maintain proper posture before progressing to heavier loads.

Neglecting the Hips

Some individuals rely too much on their arms and neglect the crucial hip drive. This not only limits power but also places unnecessary stress on the upper body. To avoid this mistake, prioritize hip explosiveness in the initial phase of the exercise. 

Think of your hips as the primary engine for lifting the dumbbells. They should lead the upward movement. Incorporate hip-focused drills and exercises into your training regimen to reinforce the importance of this movement pattern.

Skipping the Catch

Skipping the quarter-squat catch can strain your wrists, shoulders, and elbows. It also decreases control over the weights. This mistake often occurs when individuals rush through the exercise, neglecting the crucial catch phase. 

Ensure you drop into the quarter-squat position as the dumbbells reach chest level. This controlled catch minimizes the risk of injury. Practice the catch with lighter weights until you are comfortable and can safely execute it with heavier dumbbells.

Dumbbell Hang Clean Muscles Worked

Legs: The dumbbell hang clean engages your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes as you explosively extend your hips and knees.

Core: To stabilize your body throughout the movement, your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques, play a vital role.

Shoulders: The front deltoids (front shoulder muscles) are heavily involved during the catch and rack phase, as they work to support the dumbbells.

Back: Both the upper and lower back muscles come into play to keep your spine straight, support the pull, and assist in lifting the dumbbells.

Dumbbell Hang Squat Clean Benefits

Full-Body Power

One of the standout benefits of the dumbbell hang clean is its capacity to harness full-body power. It engages many muscle groups simultaneously, including the legs, core, shoulders, and back. This holistic approach not only strengthens these muscle groups but also improves your overall power, which can be a game-changer in various sports and daily activities. The explosive hip drive and pull make it a potent exercise for developing functional strength.

Athletic Performance

If you’re looking to boost your athletic performance, the dumbbell hang clean is a valuable addition to your training routine. Its dynamic nature mirrors real-world movements like lifting, jumping, and throwing, making you more agile and explosive. Whether you’re an athlete seeking an edge in your sport or simply aiming to perform better daily, the enhanced athleticism gained from this exercise can be a game-changer.

Weight Loss and Muscle Building

The intensity of the dumbbell hang clean makes it a calorie-burning powerhouse. This, combined with its muscle-building properties, makes it a valuable tool for both weight loss and muscle gain. By incorporating this exercise into your routine, you can efficiently burn calories while building lean muscle mass, which can contribute to a leaner and more sculpted physique.

Alternatives To Dumbbell Hang Cleans

Barbell Hang Clean

The barbell hang clean is a close relative of the dumbbell hang clean but typically involves heavier weights. It’s a top choice for those aiming to build raw strength and explosive power. Weightlifters often incorporate this exercise into their training regimen to enhance performance in the clean and jerk. It’s essential to master proper form and technique before attempting heavier weights in the barbell hang clean.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings focus on explosive hip power and are excellent for building strength in the lower body and core. They also provide a cardiovascular challenge, making them suitable for those looking to improve conditioning. Kettlebell swings are versatile and can be performed with various kettlebell weights to accommodate different fitness levels.

Medicine Ball Cleans

Medicine ball cleans involve lifting a weighted medicine ball from the ground to the shoulders in a fluid motion. This exercise is fantastic for improving explosiveness, coordination, and functional strength. It’s a popular choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to enhance their athletic performance and agility. Medicine ball cleans can be adapted to different fitness levels by selecting an appropriate weight for the medicine ball.

Bottom Line On The Dumbbell Hang Clean

The dumbbell hang clean has the power to boost your strength, make you more explosive, and amp up your athleticism. So, here’s the deal: nail down the right form, sidestep those typical slip-ups, and get a grip on its perks, and you’re on your way to seamlessly weave this exercise into your fitness groove. Whether you’re an athlete gunning for top performance or someone on the hunt for a versatile and effective workout, the Dumbbell Hang Clean has got your back.


Can beginners do dumbbell hang cleans?

Yes, beginners can start with light weights and focus on proper technique before progressing to heavier dumbbells.

How often should I incorporate dumbbell hang cleans into my routine?

Including dumbbell hang cleans 1-3 times a week can provide substantial benefits. It’s essential to allow for adequate recovery between sessions.

What if I don’t have access to dumbbells?

You can adapt by using other weighted objects, like kettlebells or barbells, to perform similar movements.

Can dumbbell hang cleans help with weight loss?

Yes, incorporating compound exercises like dumbbell hang cleans can contribute to weight loss by burning calories and building muscle, which increases your metabolic rate.


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