Clean and jerk

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The clean and jerk is a lift that is a composite of two weightlifting movements: the clean and the jerk. The clean portion consists of the lifter moving a weighted barbell from the floor to a racked position across deltoids and clavicles. The jerk portion involves lifting the weight above the head until the arms are straight and the bar is stationary.

Several variants of the clean and jerk exist, with the most common being the Olympic clean and jerk. The clean and jerk is one of the two Olympic weightlifting events, the other being the snatch.



An Iraqi weightlifter with 180 kg (397 lb) in the rack position; at the end of the clean phase.[1]

The athlete begins the clean by squatting down to grasp the bar. Hands are positioned approximately a thumb's distance from hips using what is known as a hook grip. The hook grip requires grasping the bar so that the fingers go over the thumb. This makes it much easier for the lifter to maintain his grip on the bar. The lifter's arms are relaxed and just outside the legs with the bar up against the shins. The hips are as low as necessary to grasp the bar, with the feet placed approximately at hip width. Toes may be pointed straight ahead or angled out according to the lifters' preference. The chest is up and the back is neutral to slightly hyper extended. This is the starting position of the "pull" phase of the lift.

Clean phase[edit]

The lifter jumps the bar up through triple extension (in very quick succession) of the hips, knees and then ankles. When the legs have driven the bar as high as possible, the lifter pulls under the bar by violently shrugging (contracting) the trapezius muscle (upper back). This pulls the lifter under the bar and into a deep front squat position. The lifter then stands in preparation for the second phase.

Position after an overhead split jerk.

Overhead jerk phase[edit]

From the standing position, the lifter bends the knees and then straightens them in order to propel the barbell upwards. The lifter pushes slightly with the arms. This pushes the lifter underneath the barbell. A split jerk is most often used, in which one leg lunges forward while the other moves backward. The lifter must hold the barbell overhead, keep the arms locked, and move the legs directly underneath the torso so that the entire body lines up in a single plane. A push jerk can also be used, in which the lifter keeps both legs in position, bends the knees and jumps into lockout position.


Variants of the jerk include the old style jerk where the legs stay under the lifter's hips and the lifter squats down under the bar and then stands upright. The main advantage of the split jerk is that it is easier to balance the bar forwards and backwards whereas the main advantage of the more difficult squat jerk is a greater ease of recovery.

The power clean, a weight training exercise not used in competition, refers to any variant of the clean in which the lifter does not catch the bar in a full squat position (commonly accepted as thighs parallel to the floor or below). The hang clean, another weight training exercise, begins with the barbell off the ground arms hanging down. I.e., any position between the barbell touching the ground and the body fully erect. Both power and hang cleans are considered to be ideal for sports conditioning; as they are both total body exercises, that have been known to increase neuromuscular co-ordination and core stability.

The Continental, so named because it was the favored style of old-time weightlifters in Germany, involves lifting the bar from the floor to the final clean position by any method of the lifter's choosing so long as the bar is not upended and does not touch the ground. The bar may be rested on the legs, stomach, or belt. Hands may be removed and replaced. [2]

World records[edit]

As of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, the official world record for the Men's Clean and Jerk, in the 105kg+ category, is 263.5 kilograms (581 lb). This record was set by Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran.[3]

The former world record in the Clean and Jerk was 266.0 kilograms (586.4 lb) by Leonid Taranenko of the Soviet Union. However this weight is not considered a world record by the International Weightlifting Federation, since all the old records were annulled after a restructuring of weight classes.[3][4]

The world record for the Women's Clean and Jerk, in the 75kg+ category, is 190.0 kilograms (418.9 lb) as of the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships. This record was set by Tatiana Kashirina of Russia.[5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]