Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki
So it's better to practice with the hang version than the full version?
After doing power cleans and snatches for years, I've recently started learning the full versions, so I'm no expert, but am probably going through some similar issues as you - trying to relearn the movement. Hang cleans have helped me quite a bit. I think the point of doing them is to reduce any momentum from the first pull, which is a positioning move. When I look at competition videos I see plenty of guys using momentum from the first pull to build on their second pull, but they know what they're doing. When you first start off and don't really have the technique down, however, it's tempting to not really have two distinct pulls, but simply wrench the bar up from the floor. (That's that I had been doing with my power cleans, anyway). This basically left me in a position of being able to power clean more weight than I was comfortable catching at the bottom, and this is from someone who'd had a lot of experience with front squats - it wasn't a strenth issue, it was a confidence, comfort and muscle memory issue.
The hang clean forces you to lift weight that is hanging there, rather than weight that's already on it's way up. This way, you have a relatively manageable amount of weight that you can pull up and catch, but it's not going to go that high, so you actually have to go down and catch it. It's important that you not let your ego get in the way. When I first started this, I could power clean almost double what I could squat clean from the hang. My first pull and arms were strong enough to allow me to get by with bad technique; so, I started hang cleaning with some pretty modest weight and it didn't take long to build up to where I'm hang-cleaning 80-85% of what I can clean from the floor. I don't know what the 'ideal' ratio is, but I gather that the higher it is, the better (within limits).
How comfortable are you with front squats and overhead squats?