Olympic lifting is a very common tool high school strength and conditioning coaches use as well as colleges. The reason for it is because it is a technical exercise that requires the athlete to really hone in and focus on their technique and form, while teaching proper power development and strength development. While Olympic lifting may have some controversy as to if it is effective for athletes and transfer overs to sports performance, there is typically one exercise that is agreed upon among all strength and conditioning coaches. And the Olympic lift that all should learn, start with and progress off of!
The singular Olympic lift that all athletes and honestly every day people could benefit from is the hang clean (or known as the hang power clean). Whether this is performed from above the knee or from blocks. The hang clean is a very simple and technical exercise that requires a lot of power, strength and understanding form the athlete to be able to complete it precisely. The reason I am a fan of teaching and programming the hang clean for 12-18 year old athletes and even 18+ year old athletes and every day people is because. It teaches very simple movement patterns and mechanics in other movements. The clean emphasizes knee flexion and hip flexion into an extremely rapid and explosive hip and knee extension. Which carry overs to running, jumping, squatting, and many more athletic movements.
A hang clean to break it down in text and make it a little more visual is this.
(1) The bar is pulled off the floor
(2) The bar is above the knee, typically in-line with your mid thigh
(3) Based on your preference you can hook grip the bar or do a normal thumb lock grip when holding the bar
(4) In ONE motion, the individual would slid the bar down their thighs until it reaches the knee cap from there they would extend the hips and knees
(5) When one explosively extends the hips and knees, causing them to take a little "jump" off the floor and catching the bar right along their clavicle and or right in front of their shoulders
(6) They then would hold the bar high and push their elbows out in front of them causing their elbows to be pointed out in front of them (like a front squat rack position)
The hang clean is one of the more risk over reward exercises for athletes, it provides little risk but a lot of reward. When taught properly and progressed properly in weight the athlete can reap the benefits of being more explosive, powerful, faster, quicker and encompass a great understanding of why technically is important to performing heavy lifts and lifting weights.
To learn how to hang clean check out this YouTube video