The two-position clean is simply 2 cleans performed from 2 different starting positions consecutively. Most commonly, the two positions are from the floor followed by the hang at knee height. However, really a 2-position clean can be from any two different positions desired by the coach or athlete. These positions should be chosen with reason—that is, the exercise should serve a purpose that the chosen positions address.
The most common execution of the 2-position clean is to perform the first rep from the floor and the second rep from a hang position. This forces the lifter to produce more power/force on the second rep after having been fatigued by the first, and then having less time and space to lift the second. The most common second position is knee height, but mid-thigh and below the knee are used often as well.
The order of the positions may be reversed in cases in which technique is more of a priority than power. That is, for a less technically-proficient lifter, performing the first rep from a hang position in which that lifter is more comfortable and proficient, and then following it with a lift from the floor so the lifter can attempt to perform the lift the way he or she did from the hang.
2-position clean is a name for a complex that may also be written as clean + hang clean (or hang clean + clean).
If performed bottom to top, the 2-position clean helps primarily with rate of force development, more aggressive and complete extension at the top of the pull, and more aggressive pull under the bar. If performed from the top down, it can serve as more of a technique exercise that reinforces proper position in the pull at the hang position chosen.
When using the 2-position clean in a training program, it’s important to note the two starting positions. This can be a primary exercise if performed heavy enough, although it’s generally more appropriate for earlier in training cycles. It can also be used at lighter weights for technique work, or as an exercise for lighter training days between heavier clean training sessions.
Variations of the 2-position clean include different hang positions on the second rep, pauses in the hang position, or pauses in the receiving position.
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