Clean and jerk

The clean and jerk is a full-body lift that is one of two contested lifts in Olympic weightlifting competitions. It is comprised of two movements: the clean, where the bar is pulled from the floor and caught in the front rack position in three pulls or phases, followed by the jerk overhead. The clean and jerk hits every muscle from head to toe and can be the centerpiece of a lifting program. It is also popular in CrossFit and athletic training programs. It is usually performed in low rep ranges, focusing on power and movement quality.


  1. Trains speed and power for athletic performance
  2. Allows you to use more weight than a strict press or push-press
  3. Great move for full-body strength and power

Clean and jerk Images


Clean and jerk Instructions

Clean and jerk muscle diagram
  1. With a barbell on the floor close to the shins, take an overhand or hook grip just outside the legs. Lower your hips with the weight focused on the heels, back straight, head facing forward, chest up, with your shoulders just in front of the bar. This will be your starting position.
  2. Begin the first pull by driving through the heels, extending your knees. Your back angle should stay the same, and your arms should remain straight. Move the weight with control as you continue to above the knees.
  3. Next comes the second pull, the main source of acceleration for the clean. As the bar approaches the mid-thigh position, begin extending through the hips. In a jumping motion, accelerate by extending the hips, knees, and ankles, using speed to move the bar upward. There should be no need to actively pull through the arms to accelerate the weight; at the end of the second pull, the body should be fully extended, leaning slightly back, with the arms still extended.
  4. As full extension is achieved, transition into the third pull by aggressively shrugging and flexing the arms with the elbows up and out. At peak extension, aggressively pull yourself down, rotating your elbows under the bar as you do so. Receive the bar in a front squat position, the depth of which is dependent upon the height of the bar at the end of the third pull. The bar should be racked onto the protracted shoulders, lightly touching the throat with the hands relaxed. Continue to descend to the bottom squat position, which will help in the recovery.
  5. Immediately recover by driving through the heels, keeping the torso upright and elbows up. Continue until you have risen to a standing position.
  6. The second phase is the jerk, which raises the weight overhead. Standing with the weight racked on the front of the shoulders, begin with the dip. With your feet directly under your hips, flex the knees without moving the hips backward. Go down only slightly, and reverse direction as powerfully as possible.
  7. Drive through the heels create as much speed and force as possible, and be sure to move your head out of the way as the bar leaves the shoulders.
  8. At this moment as the feet leave the floor, the feet must be placed into the receiving position as quickly as possible. In the brief moment the feet are not actively driving against the platform, the athletes effort to push the bar up will drive them down. The feet should be split, with one foot forward, and one foot back. Receive the bar with the arms locked out overhead. Return to a standing position.