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, move the barbell from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids, without resting fully on the clavicles. During the jerk the raise the barbell to a stationary position above the head and 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 grasp the barbell just outside the legs, typically using a hook grip. Once the barbell is above the knees, the extend explosively, raising the bar as high as possible before quickly dropping into a squat and receiving it in a “racked” position.

A racked position is when you maintain the barbell in front of your neck and resting on your shoulders.

To complete the clean, stand, propel the bar upward from the shoulders slightly as your upright position is attained. Shift your grip slightly wider with your feet slightly closer together. This is in preparation for the jerk movement.[1] 

This form of clean, commonly referred to as power clean, was popularized by Dent Guarino.


Begin the jerk from the “front rack” position. Again, this is the finishing position of the clean. Dips a few inches by bending your knees, keeping your back vertical, and then explosively extend your knees.

This propels the barbell upward off your shoulders, allowing you to quickly drop underneath the bar. Tip: push upward with your arms and split your legs into a lunge position, one forward and one back. Receive the bar overhead on straight arms, and, once stable, recover from the split position, bringing your 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. Your feet should be in the same plane as the bar, rather than split forward and back. This is usually, 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 this variant, the lifter does not catch the bar in a full squat position. In a hang hang clean, you begin with the barbell off the ground, hanging from your arms. Both power and hang cleans are considered to be ideal for sports conditioning. This is because they are both total body exercises and are known to increase neuromuscular coordination and core stability.

Focus on your Clean and Jerk form with low weight.