Weightlifting Blocks vs. the Hang: The Differences & When to Use Each

The barbell begins immobile on the ground at each weightlifting competitors and finally ends up at arm’s size overhead. That’s the sport; get an object from level “A” to level “B” as shortly and effectively as you may. Oh, and be sure that bar is as heavy as potential as effectively.

Nonetheless, coaching for achievement within the sport of weightlifting doesn’t all the time resemble the circumstances of a aggressive atmosphere. Olympic lifters depend on all method of tips and instruments to enhance their efficiency, together with — and maybe, particularly — altering how they pull on the barbell within the first place.

A person in the weightlifting hang position.
Credit score: Riley Stefan

Weightlifting blocks and the cling place are two sides of the identical coin. One is a software meant to change an athlete’s setup and execution of the snatch or clean & jerk; the opposite is a lifting method that accomplishes the identical factor. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply cling work is interchangeable with lifting off blocks. The satan is within the particulars, and understanding these particulars will assist you to carry out higher. 

What Are Weightlifting Blocks?

First-day-in-the-gym beginners and Olympic Champions alike depend on segmenting the snatch and clean & jerk into their element components whereas they be taught and practice. Notably, the pull part, throughout which the athlete lifts the barbell from the ground as much as their thigh or hip.

Weightlifters use blocks to make this compartmentalization simpler. Blocks are any steady, elevated floor upon which a weightlifter can relaxation a loaded barbell. They primarily alter the beginning peak of the bar, shortening the vary of movement of the pulling part. 

Most weightlifting blocks are product of wooden and are constructed strongly sufficient to have loaded bars dropped on them from overhead. Nonetheless, you may also use plyometric boxes, stall mats, and so forth.

What Is the Hold Place?

Throughout weightlifting competitions, the barbell can solely transfer upward. When you’ve lifted it off the platform and previous your knees, you don’t have any selection however to provide it the whole lot you’ve received, otherwise you forfeit your try.

No such rule exists in coaching. The cling place refers to standing up with the barbell after which hinging over to decrease it all the way down to a particular peak with out it touching the bottom once more. 

The most typical cling place is the knee hang; from a standing place, the athlete shoots their hips again and permits the bar to slip all the way down to knee stage earlier than reversing the movement and performing a snatch or clear. That stated, you may cling as low or excessive as you want, so long as the barbell doesn’t contact the ground

Advantages of Blocks for Weightlifting

The most important advantage of utilizing blocks is apparent; doing so shortens your vary of movement. Nonetheless, that basically solely scratches the floor of why a weightlifter would possibly decide to work off of blocks relatively than lifting from the ground.

Helps Handle Weak Factors

Breaking your pull down into its element components is one of the simplest ways to deal with a difficulty or inconsistency in your method. If, for instance, you could have bother holding the barbell near your physique because it passes your knee and strikes up towards your hip, spending time and vitality lifting from the ground is redundant and should influence your skill to concentrate on the problem at hand.

You may work round that concern in a literal sense by snatching or cleansing from knee-height blocks as a substitute. With the barbell already at knee stage, every repetition begins with the issue at hand. Blocks assist you to zone in on weaknesses by eradicating the necessity to exhibit your strengths within the first place. 

Prepare Energy Growth

Energy — particularly, explosive and intense hip extension — is the hallmark of a profitable weightlifter. With out violent lower-body extension, the barbell merely won’t fly, and also you gained’t make many lifts should you can’t elevate it within the first place.

Lifting from the ground gives you with loads of time to generate speed and momentum so, by the point the bar is in the best place, you may impart numerous drive into it. Weightlifters deliberately use blocks to make this harder.

In case you snatch or clear from knee or thigh-height blocks, you could have much less time to generate the requisite drive to maneuver your bar. This, very clearly, makes every repetition that a lot more durable, since you may’t depend on a protracted, sweeping pull from the ground.

Excessive-block (that’s, blocks tall sufficient to droop the barbell above knee peak) energy variations are commonplace within the early phases of a weightlifting program as a means of serving to the athlete get in tune with their drive output capabilities, relatively than counting on pure power or beautiful method. 

Helpful for Rookies

The place a sophisticated weightlifter makes use of lifting blocks to enhance their energy output or treatment a technical weak spot, the beginning weightlifter works off blocks to be taught the basics of the game’s two aggressive actions.

The snatch and the clear & jerk are among the many most intricate and sophisticated workout routines you are able to do with a barbell. With so many shifting components, it’s straightforward for a newbie to really feel overwhelmed. 

Lifting blocks permit a coach (critically, if you wish to strive weightlifting, it is best to achieve this below supervision) to take a brand new athlete via every side of the lifts step-by-step. You’ll have a neater time stringing collectively every stage of an excellent pull should you be taught them individually first. Blocks give you the chance to take action. 

A Workaround for Harm or Fatigue

Any veteran weightlifter will inform you that the pulling phases of the snatch and clear & jerk are extra akin to a leg press than a deadlift. Your posterior chain is the framework, however your legs are the engine, notably when pulling from the ground.

As such, blocks present the weightlifter with a method of training the 2 lifts with out exhausting their leg power. Your quads work the toughest to get the bar from the ground to round knee peak; lifting from knee blocks can spare your legs in the event that they’re fatigued. 

Athlete competing in a weightlifting competition.
Credit score: mavo / Shutterstock

Alternatively and in some instances, block lifts might assist a weightlifter proceed to train through or around an injury. Nonetheless, that is extra of a case-by-case determination {that a} weightlifter makes with their coach, relatively than a blanket prescription. At minimal, blocks can help you omit sure ranges of movement which may be painful or trigger discomfort.

You Can Elevate Heavier

Intermediate and superior weightlifters depend on block coaching as a method of exposing themselves to higher training intensities. Most weightlifting athletes can snatch or clear extra weight off blocks than they will from the ground, particularly in the event that they use lifting straps to assist their grip.

This is because of blocks, notably knee-height blocks, enabling you to arrange in a stronger place than you will get into when the bar is on the ground. A big lift off the blocks normally indicators that the athlete is likely to be prepared to aim a brand new private document in a aggressive setting. 

Advantages of the Hold for Weightlifting

The cling place is nice for far more than mimicking the utility of lifting blocks should you don’t have entry to them. The act of holding the barbell in a particular place relatively than suspending it on an elevated floor modifications the whole lot. Properly, virtually. 

Nice for Conditioning

In case you partake in or comply with CrossFit, you most likely know that its programming borrows closely from the sport of weightlifting. That stated, you don’t see an excessive amount of of the usual, competition-valid snatch and clear & jerk in most WODs.

Then again, cling variations are extraordinarily frequent, particularly as conditioning tools. It’s typically simpler and quicker to transition between a number of hang lifts than it’s to drop a barbell onto blocks, alter it, and elevate once more.

As such, you need to use workout routines just like the excessive cling energy clear or cling snatch as a part of a lifting complicated or barbell biking routine. So long as you retain your weights comparatively mild, it’s a great way to drill some technical observe whereas getting your sweat on. 

Intuitive to Study

Many newcomers to the game of weightlifting wrestle with the distinctive “feeling” of the snatch or clear & jerk. That is, partially, because of the two lifts having no eccentric element by default; you don’t decrease the weights earlier than lifting them, as you’ll throughout a squat or bench press.

As such, these new to the game have restricted tactile suggestions to tell their posture or assist them get a way of how they’re shifting. However by lifting from the cling relatively than the ground, learners can get a way of the way it feels to load their posterior chains earlier than pushing with their legs, amongst different forms of worthwhile bodily suggestions.

A motion just like the excessive cling power snatch bears some resemblance to a vertical bounce or perhaps a kettlebell swing, from a mechanics viewpoint. Hold variations assist bridge the hole between actions a brand new trainee could also be conversant in and the distinctive methods they should be taught to reach the game. 

Reinforces Postural Power

Many weightlifters use cling work to dial of their posture once they pull. There’s a lot that may go incorrect while you yank the bar off the ground through the snatch or clear; your behind can shoot up, your knees would possibly lengthen too early, or the bar can drift away out of your physique.

By beginning on the high and dealing your means down, you may make sure that you hit each beat in your technical guidelines. Hold lifts additionally give you postural reminders moments earlier than you execute your pull; should you briefly establish the way it feels to have your shoulders over the bar, you’re extra prone to hit that precise spot once more while you reverse your cling and lengthen upward. 

Provides Eccentric Rigidity

The snatch and clear & jerk are distinctive, at the same time as elements of a power sport. Notably, there’s virtually no eccentric pressure on any of your physique’s major muscle groups when you elevate.

Pushing off of the ground and recovering from a deep entrance or overhead squat are each eccentric actions. While you obtain the bar throughout every elevate, your muscle tissues largely contract isometrically to stabilize your joints and repair the barbell overhead (or within the front rack position).

As such, competitors weightlifting is mild on eccentric mechanical pressure, which is an especially essential side of muscular hypertrophy. (1)(2) Workouts just like the cling snatch or clear drive your posterior chain to elongate below load. This strengthens the buildings in your backbone, hips, and knees and provides some worthwhile time below pressure as effectively.

Greatest Block and Hold Workouts for Weightlifting

In case you’ve been offered on blocks and, extra importantly, have entry to them, the following step is figuring out which variations of the snatch and clear & jerk are acceptable. Listed here are a number of in style choices for block (and cling) coaching.

Block Snatch (or Clear) Pull

Pulls are the bread and butter of weightlifting accessory training, maybe second solely to the squat. Snatch and clear pulls can help you construct postural power, refine your method, and get some coaching quantity in with out the trials of catching the barbell and standing up with it.

Blocks are particularly helpful right here if you wish to go ultra-heavy. Low to mid-block pulls are nice for strengthening your again and instructing your self hold a heavy barbell near your physique. 

Hold Energy Clear

A great turnover separates common cleaners from nice ones. Catching your barbell in an excellent front rack at precisely the best second will make even a 1-rep max really feel virtually weightless.

That is the type of high quality which you can develop by working from the cling. An train just like the cling energy clear removes the entire pointless components; you don’t want to tug from the ground, carry out a heavy jerk, or do a entrance squat. All you must do is nail your timing. 

Excessive Block Snatch

The third pull — while you transfer all the way down to catch the barbell overhead — is essentially the most tough side of the snatch for a lot of athletes, notably rookies. It takes precision, focus, and lightning-fast reflexes to maneuver from an prolonged place into a deep squat within the blink of a watch.

You may ante up on this problem by establishing some thigh-height blocks to grab off of. Doing so will rob you of virtually all of the momentum you usually generate by pulling from the ground. In case you can’t transition shortly into your third pull, even a lightweight barbell will really feel impossibly heavy.

3-Place Hold Snatch (or Clear)

Weightlifting could also be greater than the sum of its components, however working via these components individually is one of the simplest ways to be taught. The three-position cling is among the many hottest instructing instruments for early weightlifting instruction, and for good motive.

A 3-position cling entails performing three snatches or cleans from varied cling heights back-to-back, ranging from the thigh and dealing downward. The second rep permits you to construct on what you realized within the first, and so forth. 

Block Jerk

Blocks aren’t only for snatches or cleans. When you’ve got entry to them, jerk blocks are an indispensably-useful software. 

Jerks could be tough to coach on their very own. In spite of everything, the bar begins within the entrance rack place. So, if you wish to work in your jerk, you solely have a number of choices. You may clear the bar each time and expend a bunch of vitality, or work out of a squat rack, which could be clunky in a fatigued state.

Jerk blocks allow you to freely drop the bar between reps and decide it up once more from about chest peak. They allow you to pack in training volume with out the inconvenience of doing the clear or having to delicately substitute the bar in a rack. 

The Constructing Blocks of Success 

For a sport with such slender efficiency standards in competitors, weightlifting training is notably numerous. If you wish to succeed within the snatch or clear & jerk, you must look past the barbell every so often — or change how you’re employed with it within the first place. Blocks and cling work each have their place, however figuring out how every one impacts your efficiency is the true key to success. 


  1. Franchi, M. V., Reeves, N. D., & Narici, M. V. (2017). Skeletal Muscle Transforming in Response to Eccentric vs. Concentric Loading: Morphological, Molecular, and Metabolic Variations. Frontiers in physiology, 8, 447. 
  2. Pedrosa, G. F., Lima, F. V., Schoenfeld, B. J., Lacerda, L. T., Simões, M. G., Pereira, M. R., Diniz, R. C. R., & Chagas, M. H. (2022). Partial vary of movement coaching elicits favorable enhancements in muscular variations when carried out at lengthy muscle lengths. European journal of sport science, 22(8), 1250–1260. 

Featured Picture: @catalystathletics / Instagram

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