Clean and jerk

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An image series showing the different movements involved in the clean and jerk.

The clean and jerk is a composite of two weightlifting movements, most often performed with a barbell: the clean and the jerk. During the clean, the lifter moves the barbell from the floor to a racked position across deltoids and clavicles. During the jerk the lifter raises the barbell to a stationary position above the head, finishing with straight arms and legs, and the feet in the same plane as the torso and barbell.

Of the several variants of the lift, the most common is the Olympic clean and jerk, which, with the snatch is contested in Olympic weightlifting events.


To execute a clean, a lifter grasps the barbell just outside the legs, typically using a hook grip. Once the barbell is above the knees, the lifter extends explosively, raising the bar as high as possible before quickly dropping into a squat and receiving it in a "racked" position in front of the neck and resting on the shoulders. To complete the clean, the lifter stands, often propelling the bar upward from the shoulders slightly as the erect position is attained and shifting the grip slightly wider and the feet slightly closer together in preparation for the jerk.[1] This form of clean, commonly referred to as power clean, was popularized by Dent Guarino.


Zulfiya Chinshanlo, World Champion 2009 in the 53kg class performing the jerk portion of the lift.

The jerk begins from the "front rack" position, which is the finishing position of the clean. The lifter dips a few inches by bending the knees, keeping the back vertical, and then explosively extends the knees, propelling the barbell upward off the shoulders, and then quickly dropping underneath the bar by pushing upward with the arms and splitting the legs into a lunge position, one forward and one back. The bar is received overhead on straight arms, and, once stable, the lifter recovers from the split position, bringing the feet back into the same plane as the rest of the body.


Another variation of the jerk besides the split jerk described above is the squat jerk, in which the lifter receives the bar overhead in a partial squat, with the feet in the same plane as the bar rather than split forward and back.

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, hanging from the arms. 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]


Weight Class Name Lift
56 kg Om Yun Chol 171 kg
62 kg Chen Lijun 183 kg
69 kg Liao Hui 198 kg
77 kg Oleg Perepetchenov 210 kg
85 kg Zhang Yong 218 kg
94 kg Ilya Ilyin 233 kg
105 kg Ilya Ilyin 246 kg
105+ kg Aleksey Lovchev 264 kg


Weight Class Name Lift
48 kg Nurcan Taylan 121 kg
53 kg Zulfiya Chinshanlo 134 kg
58 kg Qiu Hongmei 141 kg
63 kg Deng Wei 146 kg
69 kg Liu Chunhong 158 kg
75 kg Kim Un-Ju 164 kg
75+ kg Tatiana Kashirina 193 kg

As of the Houston 2015 IWF World Championships, the official world record for the Men's Clean and Jerk, in the 105 kg+ category, is 264 kilograms (582 lb), set by Aleksey Lovchev of Russia.[3]

The former world record in the Clean and Jerk was 266.0 kilograms (586.4 lb) in 1988 by Leonid Taranenko of the Soviet Union, but this is no longer 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 75 kg+ category, is 193.0 kilograms (425.5 lb) as of the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships. This record was set by Tatiana Kashirina of Russia.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Everett, Greg (2012). Olympic weightlifting for sports. [Sunnyvale, CA]: Catalyst Athletics. ISBN 9780980011142. 
  2. ^ Official Rulebook of the USAWA (PDF) (6th ed.). Al Myers. 2012. p. 38. 
  3. ^ a b "IWF - Current male world records". 
  4. ^ "IWF eliminates World Standards from World Record list". 
  5. ^ "IWF current female world records". 

External links[edit]