The clean and jerk is one of the two Olympic weightlifting moves, the other being the snatch. The lift is split into two distinct movements, the first being the clean, where the athletes pulls the bar off the floor onto to the front of their shoulders, and the second being the jerk which consists of pressing the barbell above the head.
The clean and jerk is an overall body exercise, recruiting the lower body via the so-called “triple extension” of the ankles, knees and hips, the core to stabilise the trunk, and the upper body during the upward pull of the clean and the extension of the arms and shoulders to execute the jerk.
As well as weightlifters that specifically compete in the clean and jerk, the exercise is widely used among sportspeople and athletes as a way of developing explosive strength capabilities. The triple extension of the ankles, knees and hips is prominent in many sporting and athletic actions, so developing power and strength in these muscles with the clean and jerk can boost performance.
Providing the sportsperson has an ample strength base, the clean and jerk is an excellent choice for athletes looking to develop explosive strength and power. Involving the so-called triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles, it is perfect for sprinting and jumping actions which are seen across a wide array of sports. The jerk portion of the lift requires considerable upper body power, as well as isometric core strength to stabilise the torso.
The clean and jerk targets many muscle groups, providing great overall stimulus for neural and muscular adaptations to increase athletic performance, and therefore is highly recommended within a sports training program.