Clean And Jerk


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.

Sport uses

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.

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  1. Stand over a suitably weighted barbell, feet shoulder width apart and beneath the bar
  2. Squat down and grasp the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width, overhand grip
  3. Back should be arched, with chest up, butt sat back and arms straight


  1. Extend at your knees and hips to pull the weight off the floor, keeping back straight and chest up
  2. As the bar reaches knee level, raise at shoulders but keep the barbell close to your body at all times
  3. As the bar raises to thigh level, explosively jump upward to aid the ascent of the bar whilst pulling it up with arms
  4. Partially squat down to position your body under the bar, and then move into the squat position as the bar is positioned on your shoulders, rotating elbows so the arms are supporting the bar
  5. In the squat position, extend at your knees and hips to stand erect with the bar on your shoulders
  6. Controllably dip body by partially flexing at your knees and hips, then rapidly extend upward to drive the barbell off your shoulders and upward into the air
  7. Drop the body beneath the barbell, taking a split stance, and then stand erect with feet at shoulder width and bar extended above your head
  8. Lower the barbell to the ground safely
  9. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions