Hang Vs Blocks
Let’s answer the age-old question: when and why do we use lifts from the hang versus the blocks?
Like most things, what’s best depends on the lifter and the circumstances—what is the purpose of the lift for that lifter at that time. That said, here are the reasons each variation is useful.
Lifting from the blocks can better help improve the athlete’s rate of force development—how quickly they can get that bar up to speed. To maximize this effect, the lift needs to be initiated from a dead stop rather than with a dynamic start.
Lifters will typically be able to lift more from the blocks than from the hang except in cases of technical or confidence deficiency on blocks, so if partial lifts with the heaviest possible weights are the intent, blocks are the better choice.
For lifters whose first pull is a limitation, whether because it’s weak or intimidating, heavy lifts from the blocks can be an effective way to get more experience with heavy snatches and cleans, and build confidence overall in the lifts that transfers to the floor.
Finally, blocks are a good way to reduce work for the lower back and legs. This may be done for deloading or tapering purposes, or to work around pain or injury.
Lifts from the hang offer a few benefits. Because the lifter has to support the bar the entire time, they build more postural strength and balance and improve the lifter’s sense of proper position, especially when pausing in the hang positions.
Even with single-rep sets, they build more grip strength and stamina, and therefore confidence in a secure connection to the bar for heavy lifts.
We can also use multiple starting positions in a single set from the hang instead of only a single block position
Finally, multiple-rep hang sets build more overall strength and toughness because of the difficulty of lowering the weight between reps.
Generally, newer lifters will be better served with hang lifts to improve their technical proficiency more quickly because of the demand on establishing position and balance and the postural strength development.
Of course, we can take a bar off the blocks to do hang lifts if our hang position is higher than the blocks. This is a good option when wanting to do higher hang lifts to avoid a lower pulling position when we need to avoid a lift from the floor due to fatigue or injury.