Hangin’ Clean at the Gym

It’s hard not to get absorbed into NBC’s Olympic coverage. According to the network, the first two days of the Beijing Olympics drew an average audience of 29.1 million, making it the most highly rated broadcast of the Summer Games held outside the United States since 1976. And while watching the Games from your couch is inspiring, why not take some of what you’ve seen this past week and apply it to your fitness routine?

When preparing your next workout program, add one or two Olympic lifts to you routine, such as snatching, or clean and jerking a barbell. Some of the moves are challenging, so start simple and work your way up. Here’s a good move to start with: The hang clean.

Standing, grasp a barbell with over hand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend your knees and hips so the barbell rests mid-thigh. Keep your shoulders over the bar, your arms straight and your back arched.

To execute the hang clean, jump straight up and shrug at the same time, forcefully pulling your body under the bar while rotating your elbows around the bar. The barbell will travel up your body. As the catch is made on your shoulders, move into a squat position. Once you hit the bottom of the squat, stand up immediately. That’s one rep. Check out the video above for visuals, courtesy of CrossFit.com.

Why does this matter to you? Olympic lifts are some of the most productive exercises you can do–and the hang clean works everything from your calves to your traps. Once you master the simpler moves, you can set your sight on clean and jerks