It's programmed probably 9 times out of 10 for the Fitness programming, and frequently for Performance as well. Why would we do this when the lift itself must start from the ground to count in competition?
Well of course, firstly, because our primary goal is fitness, not competition. Competition is something we can use to gauge progress, create goals and inspire us, as well as being part of our chosen sport.
The Olympic lifts are highly technical movements, mastering them takes years. Basic competence can take months of work. Starting from the hang means there is less to think about in the beginning. Lifting the barbell from the floor past the knees, can be tricky, so taking that part out lets you focus more on exploding hard, and moving fast.
The increased stretch reflex as you lower the bar to the knee also assists with a stronger 2nd pull. If you find it hard to maintain a strong, neutral spine from the floor (particularly with the snatch as you have to get super low), the hang variations allow you to still play with the big kids, safely, while you work on your mobility and stability.
I came across a blog post yesterday talking about USA Olympian Kendrick Farris. Apparently most of his training year he only works from the hang!
This reinforces good movement patterns and allows him to perform more repetitions, also building better capacity. And, contrary to what people might think (and want to do in the gym all the time...), Farris only maxes out roughly once every 6 months! For the lifting geeks, Kendrick will be in NZ in May for a seminar, CLICK HERE to register.
Ultimately, the lifts work dynamic hip extension, power development and direction change (agility). Although the Fitness stream aren't Oly lifting today, the deadlift takes care of that first requirement, but with a lower velocity, allowing those of you still new to training to dial that motor pattern in, and those of you at an intermediate level but still pursuing increased strength, to reap plenty of benefits still.
5 x 5, building
Pushup (or Strict Ring Dip)
5 x 5-10
2min Russian swing
1.1 reps EM x 7 @ 60-80%
Then, 10 reps TnGo unbroken
2min Burpee Box Jump 60/50cm
2min DB Snatch
2min Burpee Box Jump
2min DB Snatch