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 the deltoids, without resting fully on the 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.


Naim Süleymanoğlu sets the world record clean and jerk of 190 kg at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

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 53 kg 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 also described as the power 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. This is usually, but not always, accompanied by a significant lateral movement of the feet for increased stability. When the bar is received in a full squat position, it is referred to as the squat jerk


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 clean 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 kilograms (377 lb)
62 kg Chen Lijun 183 kilograms (403 lb)
69 kg Liao Hui 198 kilograms (437 lb)
77 kg Nijat Rahimov 214 kilograms (472 lb)
85 kg Kianoush Rostami 220 kilograms (485 lb)
94 kg Sohrab Moradi 233 kilograms (514 lb)
105 kg Ilya Ilyin 246 kilograms (542 lb)
105+ kg Hossein Rezazadeh 263.5 kilograms (581 lb) 1


Weight Class Name Lift
48 kg Nurcan Taylan 121 kilograms (267 lb)
53 kg Zulfiya Chinshanlo 134 kilograms (295 lb)
58 kg Kuo Hsing-chun 142 kilograms (313 lb)
63 kg Deng Wei 147 kilograms (324 lb)
69 kg Liu Chunhong 158 kilograms (348 lb)
75 kg Kim Un-Ju 164 kilograms (362 lb)
75+ kg Tatiana Kashirina 193 kilograms (425 lb)

1 This is the official world record for the Clean and Jerk in the Men's 105 kg+ category; the highest weight ever lifted in the Clean and Jerk is 266 kilograms (586 lb) in 1988 by Leonid Taranenko of the Soviet Union, but this is no longer considered a world record by the International Weightlifting Federation due to the restructuring of weight classes in 1993 and 1998. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Everett, Greg (2012). Olympic weightlifting for sports. [Sunnyvale, CA]: Catalyst Athletics. ISBN 9780980011142.
  2. ^ "section A21". Official Rulebook of the USAWA (PDF) (8th ed.). Al Myers. 2014.
  3. ^ "IWF eliminates World Standards from World Record list".

External links[edit]