Clean and jerk

Clean and jerk

The clean and jerk is one of the two Olympic weightlifting events (the other being the snatch).

The clean portion of the lift refers to the lifter explosively pulling the weight from the floor to a racked position across deltoids and clavicles. In early twentieth century weightlifting competitions, a variant movement called the "Continental" (because it was practiced by Germans rather than the British) allowed the lifter to pull the barbell up to his belt, where it could rest. Then with several successive flips, the bar would be moved up the torso until it reached the position for the overhead jerk. The Continental gained a reputation as clumsy, slow, and nonathletic compared to the swift coordinated movement required to lift the bar "clean." Hence, the clean movement was adopted by the early weightlifting federations as the official movement.




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. Weight is kept on the heels. 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

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 muscles of the upper back ("traps"). This pulls the lifter under the bar and into a deep squat position. The lifter then stands (similar to a front squat) in preparation for the second phase.

Position after an overhead split jerk.

Overhead jerk phase

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.

World records

As of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, the official world record for the Men's Clean and Jerk is 263.0 kilograms (580 lb). This record was set by Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran.[2]

The former world record in the Clean and Jerk was 266.0 kilograms (586 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.[2][3]

The world record for the Women's Clean and Jerk is 187.0 kilograms (412 lb) as of 2009 World Weightlifting Championships. This record was set by Jang Miran of South Korea.[4]

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • clean and jerk — clean′ and jerk′ n. spo a lifting of a barbell from the floor to the shoulders and then overhead with the arms extended • Etymology: 1935–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • clean and jerk — n. Weight Lifting a lift in which the barbell is cleaned and then thrust directly overhead so that the arms are completely extended …   English World dictionary

  • clean and jerk — noun a weightlift in which the barbell is lifted to shoulder height and then jerked overhead • Syn: ↑clean • Hypernyms: ↑weightlift, ↑weightlifting • Part Meronyms: ↑jerk * * * noun : a lift in we …   Useful english dictionary

  • clean and jerk — noun Date: 1913 a lift in weight lifting in which the weight is raised to shoulder height, held momentarily, and then quickly thrust overhead usually with a lunge or a spring from the legs compare press, snatch • clean and jerk verb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • clean-and-jerk — verb see clean and jerk …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • clean and jerk — a weightlifting exercise in which a weight is raised above the head following an initial lift to shoulder level. → clean …   English new terms dictionary

  • clean and jerk — Weight Lifting. a lift in which a barbell is raised from the floor to shoulder height where it is brought to rest and then, with a lunging movement by the lifter, is thrust overhead so the arms extend straight in the air, being held in this… …   Universalium

  • clean and jerk — noun The act of lifting the barbell to hang at arms length, a pause, and thrusting the barbell over head to a stationary position in one movement …   Wiktionary

  • clean and jerk — basic weightlifting lift in which the weightlifter draws a barbell up against him and then pushes it up over his head in two phases …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Clean and press — The clean and press is a weight training exercise, and was part of the sport of weightlifting in the Olympics until 1972. It was removed from Olympic weightlifting due to difficulties in judging proper technique. The clean and press technique… …   Wikipedia

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