Weightlifting for Football: Low Hang Clean
Low hang clean is probably the most common Olympic lift used when training football players. Many high school and college coaches that don't utilize Olympic Weightlifting will still use this movement for their athletes. When performed properly, this movement is great for developing a football players explosiveness and strength. Low hang cleans can be used to improve performance for a variety of positions on the football field, from the offensive linemen to the wide receivers and even linebackers.
As a lineman, it's all about the first step and leverage, getting a quicker first step is half the battle on the field. Low hang cleans help engage and strengthen your hamstrings, which will in turn help you explode off the line quicker. The lower man will almost always win leverage. That is why squatting deep when catching the clean will help with mobility on the field. Developing mobility as a lineman will allow you to get into the starting stance properly, and then be able to fire off the line quickly and explosively.
These positions are read and react positions. Here, you need to be able to transition in and out of movements quickly. As a running back, coming out of your stance, reading the blocks in front of you and then having the ability to explode and hit the hole full speed is essential to being a great running back. For example, Saquon Barkley and Le'Veon Bell, two studs that read and react nonstop. Linebackers are essentially the same thing. Play begins, they take a read step, see what is happening and then explode to wherever they read the play going. On run plays linebackers are trying to mirror the running back, read what hole they are going to and hit the hole with more force than them to make the tackle. On pass plays, read the pass and then get to your zone or run with your man. Overall, the explosive nature of this lift will translate very well to these positions on the field.
Corner Backs/Wide Receivers:
The “skill” guys of the football field. Players in these positions are usually the best athletes on the field solely because of what they are asked to do. As a wide receiver, you have to try and be at full speed the entire time you are on the field. Any route you run, you want to accelerate as fast as you can to hit your top speed. Then when you need to break out of your cut you have to stop on a dime, and then accelerate as fast as you can to get back to full speed. This is what creates ultimate separation. As a cornerback, you have to be able to get to your zone quickly, while watching the quarterback's eyes and then reacting as the ball is thrown.
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