How To Do It a Clean and Jerk – Benefits, Proper Form, And Tips

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: May 29, 2023
  • Time to read: 10 min.
How To Do It a Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk is one of the core lifts for weightlifters, powerlifters, athletes, and anyone looking to build strength in their upper body.

It requires a combination of agility, coordination, speed, dynamic flexibility, and strength that can be challenging even for experienced gym-goers.

But don’t let its difficult reputation scare you off mastering this lift pays dividends in terms of increased power and mass gains as well as improved athletic performance.

In this blog post we’ll take a look at the benefits of doing a clean and jerk correctly along with proper form instructions and helpful tips on how to execute it safely.

So get ready to learn how to do it right!

What is a Clean and Jerk

Clean and jerk is a powerful weightlifting move that has two parts. The first part, the “clean,” means lifting the barbell to your shoulders in one motion. The second part, the “jerk,” is when you raise it above your head using a squat and a forceful push. It’s a tough yet thrilling exercise!

It’ll take time, dedication and patience to get this move right. Each step should be practiced separately before combining them.

Squats and deadlifts can help build the strength needed to perform this move. So get ready to clean and jerk your way to success!

How To Do It a Clean and Jerk

Clean and Jerk is a weightlifting exercise that involves moving a barbell from the floor to overhead. Here’s how to get it perfect.

  1. Grip the bar just outside shoulder-width.
  2. Squat and pick up the bar with a double overhand grip at your thighs.
  3. Pull the bar to your chest and move under it into a front-rack position.
  4. Stand explosively and catch the bar overhead with elbows locked out.

Maintain a tight core, keep wrists straight and use enough force for stable positioning during the ascent.

Pro Tip: Moderate with an experienced weightlifter or trainer before going all-in on complex weights. See gains in strength, power and the ability to lift heavy objects – even your ego!

Benefits of the Clean and Jerk

Discover the Power of Clean and Jerk Fitness! Unlock your inner Hulk with this remarkable total body workout! Reap the many benefits of Clean and Jerk:

  1. Muscles in multiple areas of the body become stronger.
  2. Flexibility and range of motion are improved.
  3. Balance and coordination are enhanced.
  4. Cardiovascular fitness is elevated through a mix of weightlifting and cardio.
  5. Functional capability for everyday activities is increased.

This exercise has unmatched advantages: it boosts metabolic rate, adapts the nervous system to handle heavier weights, develops healthy bone density, and strengthens muscular endurance.

One gym member had issues with overhead positioning. With help from her coaches and practice, her form improved dramatically. She attained goals she never thought possible! Reach your own amazing goals with Clean and Jerk Fitness!

Total Body Strength and Power

The clean and jerk is an awesome, total body workout. Lift the weight from the floor to over your head in one smooth move. You’ll use your legs, back, core, and arms.

Get your form right. Start with your hands on the bar and then powerfully explode up. Push your legs and hips to help move the bar to your chest. Catch it with your shoulders and elbows, then quickly rise onto your toes and jerk it over.

It’s not just a show of strength. The clean and jerk offers lots of health benefits. It can boost sports performance, increase bone density, and help prevent injuries.

If you’re ready for a new fitness challenge, add clean-and-jerks to your routine today! You’ll be a powerhouse with improved athletic performance.

Improved Athletic Performance

Enhancing Physical Performance: Achieving optimal physical performance is essential for athletes. It requires dedication, hard work and proper training techniques. Combining weightlifting, cardio and functional exercises that focus on specific muscle groups is the way to go. Experienced trainers can help athletes reach their maximum potential.

Implementing Proper Technique: Executing exercise movements with the correct technique is crucial. This helps reduce the risk of injury and ensure efficient muscle activation. Correct posture, alignment and controlled movements are key components. Progression should be tracked by gradually increasing repetitions or weights.

Applying Optimal Nutrition: Nutrition plays a vital role in enhancing physical performance. Athletes must maintain a balanced diet with adequate hydration before, during and after activities. Macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats must be consumed to provide the necessary energy.

Customizing Exercise Routines: Individuals have different fitness goals, body types and limitations. Therefore, customized exercise routines should be tailored to each person’s needs. Trainers can create workout plans based on individuals’ goals, preferences and current physical state.

Implementing Active Rest Days: Active rest days allow muscles time to recover whilst maintaining an active lifestyle. This helps prevent injuries caused by overtraining whilst still providing movement that controls inflammation and reduces muscle stress. Who needs fine motor skills when you can clean and jerk your way to toned arms and a killer bod?

Better Motor Skill Development

Illuminate Your Motor Skills with Clean and Jerk Technique!

For proper motor skills, mastering the Clean and Jerk is key. Get your body in the correct position, grip, foot alignment, and width. Inhale at the start and catch the barbell at the shoulders, then do a squat. Push up until you’re fully extended and stand tall with your feet in line, then do a jerk press.

Develop Control Through Repetition

Practice is the best way to form the right movements. React quickly to feedback from others or self-observation and focus on body mechanics. Gradually increase reps for better control, stability, and motion.

Pro-Tip: Change up your routine by adding new challenges like heavier weights to continue building motor skills. Clean and jerk is a total body workout that will leave your muscles begging for mercy and your ego asking for more.

Clean and Jerk Target Muscle Group

Do the Clean and Jerk exercise for overall strength and power! It targets various muscle groups, like the quads, glutes, hamstrings, back, shoulders, and arms.

First, the “clean” phase. Lift the barbell from the floor up to your shoulders. This relies on leg drive and pulling power from your back muscles. It works the lower body, like the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back.

Second phase: Jerking. Lift the weights over your head until your arms are straight. This uses multiple muscle groups, like the trapezius, deltoids, pectorals, triceps, and quadriceps.

Be careful with these exercises. They’re complex. Train under professional supervision to prevent injury. Poorly done lifts can cause stress to certain areas and lead to injuries or worse performance.

Stretch those hamstrings! Otherwise, you might end up with a jerked back instead of a Clean and Jerk!


The muscles behind your thighs are key for the clean and jerk. They straighten your hips and knees during the drive phase. Activate ’em for power! Start with feet shoulder-width apart, bar at hip level. Bend knees and hinge forward. Feel your hamstrings lengthen. Keep that tension, then pull the bar up with a powerful hip extension. Hamstrings contract fully.

To get better at this lift, do Romanian Deadlifts and Glute-Ham Raises. Fun fact: “Hamstring” comes from Middle English for “knotted sinew.” It was Leonardo da Vinci who discovered their muscle fibers! Leg day? Nah, just do clean and jerks!


The large quadriceps muscle is the most active lower limb muscle group when performing a Clean and Jerk movement. To do it right, activate your quads during both the pull-up and jerk phase. They help extend the knee joint in a standing position. This creates momentum and power for Olympic-style weightlifting.

When lifting the barbell from the ground to your shoulders during the clean stage, use your quads to create explosive power in your lower body. During the jerk stage, push the weight overhead with straight arms while moving your legs. Activating your quads helps you stay balanced.

Don’t rely on your quads alone. Other things are needed to execute the technical maneuver. Get professional guidance and proper training, to improve quad strength and reduce injury risks.

One lifter was nervous when starting her first heavy clean and jerk set. But with proper technique and form, she hit a personal best. All thanks to her strong quadriceps! Get ready to gain some back and traps – no pain, no gain! You’ll have some awesome posture too!

Back and Traps

Strong traps, lats, and an upper back are a must for a successful clean and jerk. These muscles are key to lifting the bar off the ground, maintaining an upright posture, and pulling the bar towards your body. Plus, they help reduce the risk of poor form, resulting in injury or failed attempts.

Focus on contracting these muscles when doing weight training exercises. This will boost strength, endurance, and stability. But for safety’s sake, check with a qualified trainer. They can show you the right method.

Don’t miss out on peak performance! Consult with a trainer and practice clean and jerk using proper form – Your shoulders may hate you, but your ego will love you!


Shoulder muscles, especially in the scapulae and deltoids area, are key for a good Clean and Jerk. They pull the bar from the floor during the clean. During the jerk, they give explosive power for the lockout at overhead.

For success, you must engage several muscle groups. Your shoulders are vital. To make sure you’re using them properly, focus on core strength. Push yourself down into the ground firmly to activate your shoulder.

Maintaining healthy shoulder joint mobility is vital for safety. Mobility exercises like wallslides or rotator cuff strengtheners can help.

Weightlifting has a long history. Variations were used in Western civilizations for centuries! In Ancient Greece, Olympic athletes performed a move resembling the Clean and Jerk. It proved that physical effort boosts strength.

Want to ace the Clean and Jerk? Technique is key. And don’t forget a strong gag reflex!

Tips for Clean and Jerk

To ace the two-part weightlifting routine, tilt your torso to grasp the barbell. Lift it off the ground and pop it on your collarbones. Then, powerfully heave it up and stay still for a moment. Here are five key steps to ace ‘Tips for Clean and Jerk’:

  1. Get comfy by spreading your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Center your grip on the bar, then lean forward to lift it.
  3. Use your knees and hips for an upward jump to raise the barbell onto your shoulders.
  4. Jump beneath the bar as you thrust it up with explosiveness.
  5. Tuck in quickly and push up against resistance for extra momentum.

To stay safe and get stronger, take it slow – gradually add weight each week and work on form more than reps. Interestingly, the clean and jerk was an Olympic event 61 years before it was combined into one in 1972.

To keep your clean and jerk clean, dodge these common errors.

Clean and Jerk Common Mistakes

Clean and Jerk is a tough workout. It needs physical and mental strength. To do it well, you must know the mistakes to watch out for:

  • Starting the lift with arms.
  • Bar too far from body.
  • Jerking bar instead of smoothly lifting.

More than that, you also need to check posture, alignment and do the reps consistently.

When doing the exercise, don’t rush or rely on power movements. Engage the muscles, place hands firmly on barbell and accelerate slowly.

For example, my friend injured his knees while lifting weights recklessly during a competition. After rehab he trained with a coach who taught him how to Clean and Jerk without hurting joints or losing control.

If you want to add variety to your gym routine, try out crazy Clean and Jerk variations!

Clean and Jerk Variations

Cleaning & Jerking – Differently!

Cleaning and Jerking is a very demanding olympic-style weightlifting exercise that needs you to be strong, accurate and skilled. Here are 3 Clean and Jerk variations that athletes use:

  • Power Clean & Jerk: The barbell is caught higher on the chest to avoid going into a deep squat like in regular lift.
  • Squat Clean & Jerk: This one involves catching the barbell in a low squat position.
  • Split Clean & Jerk: Here, the bar is caught overhead with one leg forward and one back.

Perfecting these techniques will require practice, plus skills in coordination and explosiveness.

Apart from these, athletes create their own variations too.

Pro tip: Grip width should be tailored to your body mechanics; it affects how you lift the bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does the Clean and Jerk work?

The Clean and Jerk is a full-body exercise that primarily works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, back, traps, shoulders, and triceps.

How do I properly grip the barbell for the Clean and Jerk?

The grip for the Clean and Jerk should be shoulder-width apart with your palms facing down. Keep your elbows pointing outwards and your wrists straight. This grip allows for maximum power and control during the lift.

What is the difference between a power clean and a full clean?

A power clean is a version of the Clean and Jerk where the athlete only brings the bar up to their shoulders in a squat position, while a full clean involves dropping into a full squat before bringing the bar up to the shoulders.

What are some common mistakes to avoid during the Clean and Jerk?

Some common mistakes to avoid during the Clean and Jerk include using too much upper body strength and not utilizing the legs enough, not keeping a straight back during the lift, and not properly controlling the bar during the jerk portion of the exercise.

How can I improve my Clean and Jerk?

To improve your Clean and Jerk, focus on strengthening your legs and back through compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts, practice proper form and technique with lighter weights, and work on explosiveness and speed during the lift.

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