Do the Clear & Jerk for Whole-Physique Power and Energy

Is there a feat of power extra visually hanging than taking a heavy chunk of metallic from the bottom, heaving it into the air, and locking it overhead? The picture alone, generally seen in silhouette, is iconic.

The clear & jerk, together with the snatch, make up the Olympic lifts — the one strength sport at the moment competed within the Olympics. The “C&J” is an entire motion which may develop power, energy, coordination, velocity, and muscle all through your complete physique should you can grasp it.

Credit score: Photology1971 / Shutterstock

No surprise it’s utilized in many power and conditioning packages to provide high-performance athletes, or that the train made its method into CrossFit coaching, which emphasizes difficult your total physique as usually as attainable.

The clear & jerk consists of two distinct actions: the clear and the jerk (sure, it’s that easy). Every of those lifts is advanced sufficient by itself, and mixing each throughout a single repetition is a difficult job. However don’t fear, you’re about to find an in depth breakdown on the best way to grasp this beast of a raise.

Clear & Jerk

Do the Clear & Jerk Step by Step

The clear & jerk is an explosive motion that requires (and builds) power, coordination, and velocity. You can not carry out an accurate clear & jerk slowly. This is likely one of the the reason why it’s so demanding. The approach requires timing, mobility, and total-body coordination.

Ideally, you’ll load the bar with specialised, rubber-coated bumper plates which permit a safer and extra environment friendly option to carry out the ultimate section of every repetition, however the clear & jerk may be carried out (fastidiously) with any metallic plates.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Place

A person starting to do a clean & jerk.
Credit score: baranq / Shutterstock

Stand in entrance of a barbell on the bottom with a hips-wide stance. Angle your toes and knees barely outward. Bend at your hips and hinge ahead to seize the bar with a barely wider than shoulder-width grip, utilizing a pronated (palm down) grip. 

Squat down till your shoulders are barely above the barbell. Your hips ought to be decrease than your shoulders however increased than your knees. Hold your again flat, your chest excessive, and look ahead.

Kind tip: Hold the bar shut touching, or nearly touching, your shins in the course of the setup. It will guarantee a correct bar path with less lower back strain.

Step 2 — Provoke the “First Pull”

A person doing the first pull in a clean & jerk.
Credit score: baranq / Shutterstock

The primary pull is the time period for the beginning of the clear. It’s the second you break the barbell from the bottom and produce it to your knees. Brace your core, flex your lats, and drive with your legs by pushing your toes by way of the bottom. Your hips and shoulders ought to increase on the identical velocity, whereas the barbell stays very near your physique. The primary pull just isn’t in contrast to the preliminary begin of a standard deadlift.

Kind tip: As a result of the clear & jerk is an explosive motion, you is likely to be tempted to blow up off the ground to generate drive as shortly as attainable. Don’t. Deal with being in command of the barbell together with your complete physique braced. Particularly should you’re undecided about your approach, decelerate your first pull.

Step 3 — Explode Into the “Second Pull”

two people in gym lifting barbells from ground
Credit score: Floor Image / Shutterstock

On this section, you’ll obtain triple extension — full extension of your hips, knees, and ankles. The second pull happens because the bar passes your knees. Now you may explode up with as a lot drive as attainable by extending your complete decrease physique. 

Whereas preserving your arms straight, lengthen your hips and knees forcefully. As you lengthen, push by way of the balls of your toes as onerous as you may. Your heels should raise off the bottom. In case you’ve carried out an entire triple extension, your physique in an entire straight line, with solely your toes and the balls of your toes on the ground.

Kind tip: Consider leaping as excessive as you may to switch most energy into the bar, however don’t truly lose contact with the bottom. As a result of the motion is a hip hinge, you may be tempted to blow up your hips ahead like a kettlebell swing to attempt to generate drive, however it is going to end in an inefficient bar path. When you cross your knees, suppose “up, up, up.”

Step 4 — Transition Into the “Third Pull”

A person doing the third pull in a clean & jerk.
Credit score: SOK Studio / Shutterstock

Now that you just’ve transferred drive out of your decrease physique to lift the bar, the third pull is definitely pulling your self “underneath” the barbell to catch it. As you end the triple extension and rise onto your toes, shrug as onerous as you may to present much more power to the bar whereas “pulling” your self underneath it.

Find yourself together with your knees barely bent and your chest proud, able to obtain the bar in a front rack position.

Kind tip: “Assault” the bottom with drive. Think about you’re making an attempt to hit the ground as quick as you may when you stand in your toes.

Step 5 — Catch the Bar and Stand Up

Person in dark hold holding barbell on shoulders
Credit score: Mongkolchon Akesin / Shutterstock

Let your arms bend and squat down to catch the bar between the entrance of your shoulders and your clavicles, preserving your elbows as excessive as you may. Carry out a robust front squat till you stand tall.

Kind tip: How low you “ought to” squat to catch the bar is dependent upon the load relative to your power, and the way a lot drive you utilized to the bar. The tougher and heavier it’s, the deeper you’ll doubtless need to squat. If you must squat to parallel or under, the motion is taken into account a “full clear.” In case you obtain the bar in a better squat place, it’s referred to as a “energy clear.”

Step 6 — Dip Down

A person dipping during a clean & jerk.
Credit score: baranq / Shutterstock

The clear section of the raise is now full. It’s time to sort out the jerk. From the entrance rack place, bend your knees and dip down just a few inches to build up power in your decrease physique. Solely bend at your knees, not your hips, to make sure a vertical bar path and whole-body stability.

Kind tip: Earlier than initiating the dip, you may barely decrease your elbows, in order that they’re between a entrance squat (going through ahead) and a push press (going through the bottom) place. It will can help you use a bit extra shoulder energy to raise the load. Relying in your upper body mobility, you may additionally really feel snug adjusting to a barely wider hand place.

Step 7 — Jerk the Weight Up

Muscular person in gym pressing barbell overhead
Credit score: Photology1971 / Shutterstock

Push as onerous as you may through your legs to drive the bar up. Use the identical triple extension as in the course of the clear to generate as a lot drive as you may — fully lengthen your hips, knees, and ankles — after which push the load together with your arms.

Kind tip: Don’t bend ahead. That can sacrifice energy, improve pressure in your decrease again, and shift the bar right into a much less environment friendly path that’s extra prone to fail the raise. Hold a totally vertical bar path. 

Step 8 — Cut up and Catch the Barbell

A person jerking the barbell up and splitting during a clean & jerk.
Credit score: baranq / Shutterstock

From this place, transition as quick as attainable into your catch place by splitting right into a half-lunge. Shortly place one leg in entrance of you, together with your foot flat and your knee vertical, and one behind you, barely bent and together with your weight in your toes. Assume a shoulder-wide stance. Straighten your arms forcefully and hold them straight the remainder of the train.

Kind tip: The bar ought to find yourself immediately over your higher again, indirectly above your head. At lockout, your arms ought to be vertical and never angled to the entrance or again.

Step 9 — Recuperate and End the Raise

A person holding a barbell up in a complete  clean & jerk.
Credit score: SOK Studio / Shutterstock

Deliver your entrance foot again in half of the best way, after which deliver it immediately underneath you. Now, deliver your rear leg ahead and maintain the place with the bar overhead briefly. That’s it, you’ve accomplished a clear & jerk.

From there, should you’re on a weightlifting platform and utilizing bumper plates, gently information the bar again to the bottom with management — don’t let it free fall wildly. In case you’re lifting with metallic plates, decrease the bar to the entrance rack place throughout the entrance of your shoulders, after which decrease it to your hip crease earlier than “deadlifting” it all the way down to the bottom.

Kind tip: That total sequence was one single repetition. When the bar is returned to the bottom, take a breath and refocus earlier than performing further reps.

Clear & Jerk Errors to Keep away from

This train may be very technical, so minor errors are sure to occur till you actually nail it. Attempt to keep away from these blunders although, as they may hinder your progress and will doubtlessly result in damage.

Utilizing Too A lot Weight

Technique ought to all the time come earlier than weight with any train, however it rings much more true with the Olympic lifts. Utilizing an excessive amount of weight will drive your physique to make use of the trail of least resistance, as a substitute of correct approach and environment friendly bar path.

This ends in “muscling” the load up and grinding a raise that ought to be carried out easily. You’ll by no means learn the proper technique that method and also you’ll solely threat damage, particularly on the shoulder advanced.

A person holding a heavy barbell.
Credit score: SOK Studio / Shutterstock

Keep away from it: Be sure to use applicable weight and really feel assured in your approach earlier than rising the load. In case you change the load and your motion is completely different, you must spend extra time at a decrease weight. It’s not unusual for starting lifters to be taught the clear & jerk with a broomstick earlier than even utilizing a 45-pound barbell.

Not Staying Over The Bar

Through the clear & jerk, your shoulders have to remain barely in entrance of the bar till you end the second pull and fully lengthen your physique. It will show you how to maximize bar peak and path. In case your physique doesn’t keep in good alignment, you may’t successfully switch drive into the bar and the bar path is much less prone to be vertical.

 A person trying to do a clean and jerk.
Credit score: Dewald Kirsten / Shutterstock

Keep away from it: Hold your weight balanced over the center of your toes. Don’t put an excessive amount of weight in your toes (except you’re presupposed to be in full extension) or in your heels. Don’t rush the primary pull. Management the bar till the second you explode up.

Not Preserving the Bar Near You

Preserving the bar near you is paramount for optimum bar path, to optimize bar peak and energy, in addition to minimizing low again pressure and upper-body involvement.

If the bar drifts away from you, you’ll almost definitely find yourself performing a “muscle clear,” a technically simpler variation involving far more shoulders and higher again muscle than decrease physique. Whereas it may be a very good train, it’s not a clear. You’ll by no means have the ability to use as a lot weight or develop total-body energy.

A person trying to do a clean and jerk.
Credit score: Floor Image / Shutterstock

Keep away from it: Hold the bar near you at completely all occasions. Decelerate the beginning of the raise in order that the bar is grazing you till you completely extend your hips. With some individuals, there’s even contact on the hips.

Squatting the Dip

A person squatting during a clean and jerk.
Credit score: Jasminko Ibrakovic / Shutterstock

If you dip and create the leg drive, you is likely to be tempted to squat deep. However the dip just isn’t meant to be a squat. In case you bend at your hips, you threat dropping your upright place and ship the bar ahead as a substitute of in a straight line within the air.

The dip ought to be quick and quick. You shouldn’t go too low or truly squat the load down. You’ll merely lose power and the catch will grow to be that a lot tougher. 

Keep away from it: Solely dip down just a few inches whereas staying as upright as attainable. Remind your self, “fast dip, not a deep squat.” 

Progress the Clear & Jerk 

This raise being very technical, it is likely to be helpful to include a number of of those progressions in your coaching to be taught and strengthen key positions of the motion. You possibly can incorporate the approach piece by piece. You possibly can dedicate full workouts to the raise or you may add clear progressions to your decrease physique days, and jerk progressions to an upper body workout.

Clear Pull

Weightlifting is all about producing energy, and the clear pull is wonderful at that. This development solely consists of the primary and second pull of the clear, adopted by a robust shrug and upright row.

Get into your clear place, increase the barbell to your knee with management, then violently explode up by extending your hips, knees, and ankles. Then shrug and let your elbows bend to lift the barbell to at the very least chest level, up till your chin. Hold the barbell near your physique always. This development is nice to learn to generate energy and the primary a part of the clear.

Hold Clear

The place a lot of the errors occur in the course of the clear is definitely in the beginning: in the course of the set-up and the primary pull. In case you fail to execute this portion completely, the remainder of the raise is sure to be subpar.

The grasp clear avoids this by having you begin the raise “from the grasp”, with the barbell at round knee stage — you solely need to do the second and third pull and the catch. You possibly can observe the tip of the motion extra simply this fashion. 

Energy Clear

The facility clear is the alternative, you carry out a clear with a lighter weight and also you catch it solely together with your knees barely bent over parallel. Not having to squat all the best way down makes the motion simpler particularly should you’re not probably the most cell lifter.

You can also make the train even less complicated and carry out it from “the grasp”, combining each of one of the best worlds for creating uncooked energy and ease. 

Muscle Clear and Press

Right here we bypass probably the most technical features of the lifts to rely extra on our muscle tissue to carry out it. You received’t have the ability to use as a lot weight, however it is a nice train so as to add measurement to your body.

To carry out the muscle clear, get into your clear place, pull the bar up and explode like a daily clear. However, as a substitute of positioning your self into a squat after the full-body extension, hold your legs and torso straight and pull the load up together with your elbows as excessive as you may. As soon as they’re at maximal peak, shortly deliver them across the bar into the entrance rack place to catch the bar whereas standing tall. From there, press the load up by extending the arms till the bar is locked out overhead, then decrease it with management to your collarbone.

Push Press

This hybrid between a press and a jerk teaches you to dip and use your legs to help your higher physique in lifting extra weight. Seize a barbell with a full grip and assume a entrance rack place, with the barbell sitting between your anterior deltoids (entrance of your shoulder) and your clavicles.

Shrug your shoulders up and ahead to create a form of “muscle nest” for the bar. Decrease your elbows a bit so that you just’ll have the ability to use extra arms. Dip down by bending on the knees for just a few inches, then explode up as onerous as you may. When your legs are fully prolonged, press the bar up as a lot as you may by making an attempt to punch the ceiling. Then, decrease it with management to the preliminary place. 

Energy Jerk

This variation is equal to the ability clear, however with the jerk. Start with the barbell in a entrance racked place, both from a rack or after having cleaned it. Dip down, then explode up and forcefully lengthen your arms, like a conventional jerk.

However as a substitute of splitting your toes and catching the bar in a deep squat, you assault the bottom with each toes in a conventional squat stance and obtain it together with your knees barely bent. This manner, you bypass the technical break up catch place and concentrate on the primary a part of the jerk.

Advantages of the Clear & Jerk

If this train is so difficult, why accomplish that many athletes wish to be taught it? It’s easy: it provides advantages no different can reciprocate (aside, maybe, from the snatch, which is even tougher). Here’s what this train has to supply.

Will increase Explosive Energy

Energy is the capability to maneuver weights as quick as attainable. It’s a combination of velocity and power, and rising your energy means you’ll almost definitely enhance your power and velocity as nicely! Certainly, this train will train your mind to raised recruit your muscle tissue in order that they attain a better peak drive and to achieve it quicker.

Additionally it is very related for athletes who’ve to maneuver their very own our bodies or implements quick: they aren’t weightless. It signifies that this train will assist them run quicker, leap increased, throw farther, and sort out tougher. In case you’re an athlete, this is likely one of the most effective and efficient workout routines to make you higher at your sport. (1)

Whole-Physique Power

To seize a weighted barbell and steadiness it over your head requires super power from head to toe (or, extra precisely, from traps to calves). With the clear & jerk, you may load comparatively extra weight than with the snatch, so it’s an explosive motion that tends towards constructing pure power and energy. This train recruits just about the entire muscle tissue in your physique and places them to the take a look at. Certainly, it alternates between pulling and pushing phases for the whole-body.

Improves Stability, Posture, and Coordination

Holding weight within the entrance rack place, then throwing it within the air and balancing it overheard requires a core and a again of metal and can construct sturdy and secure shoulders. It will end in a greater posture and a extra resilient again.

A starting to do a clean and jerk.
Credit score: Floor Image / Shutterstock

Then, you want a substantial amount of coordination to maneuver with precision, velocity, and power each upper-body and lower-body limbs on the identical time. Lastly, it takes an entire lot of steadiness to take care of the break up place and catch a heavy weight that method. This train builds power and velocity, however for that you just additionally need to construct higher physique mechanics and athletic qualities. (2)

Higher Cardiovascular Well being

As this train recruits just about the entire muscle tissue within the physique, the demand positioned on the cardiovascular system is super as a result of your coronary heart has to pump blood all over the place. Research have discovered that weightlifting improves resting coronary heart charge, VO2 max, and blood stress. (3)

Even with an empty barbell, correctly accomplished clear & jerks can go away you breathless. No surprise comparatively excessive reps of those are incessantly utilized in CrossFit to gauge the endurance capacities of athletes.

Muscular tissues Labored by the Clear & Jerk

There’s no muscle tissue spared by the clear & jerk. Out of your forearms to grip the barbell all the best way all the way down to the calves to mission it within the air. Let’s cowl the principle movers of this train.


The quadriceps are the largest leg muscle tissue, and are among the many physique’s strongest. They go from the femur or hip bone to the tibia within the decrease leg. Their essential perform is to increase the knee. As such, they are going to be liable for a lot of the energy generated in the course of the train.

They’re extensively recruited in the course of the triple extension to mission the barbell within the air, and much more in the course of the deep entrance squat that follows the catch. Then, they can even be primarily liable for propulsing the barbell upwards in the course of the jerk, simply after the dip, and to stand up from the lunge required to catch it in the course of the break up.

Urgent Muscular tissues

Through the jerk, these higher physique muscle tissue will probably be tremendously recruited to assist urgent the bar overhead and maintain it there with the arms locked out. They’re your deltoids (shoulder muscle tissue), pectoralis main (chest), and your triceps (the posterior arm muscle tissue). 

A person's chest.
Credit score: winnievinzence / Shutterstock

The deltoid goes from the clavicle and scapula (shoulder blade) to the humerus — the arm bone. This muscle will increase the arm upwards. The entrance delts would be the most recruited, however all of them take part within the motion. The chest can be hooked up to the humerus, then to the sternum and ribs. Solely its higher fibers will probably be recruited right here, aiding the deltoids. Lastly the triceps goes from the scapula and humerus to the ulna (forearm bone). Its perform right here is to increase the arm to press the load up and hold the arms locked out.

Posterior Chain

The posterior chain, as an entire, will contribute to the motion. Within the decrease physique, the hamstrings and glutes will lengthen the hips and be primarily liable for the deadlift portion and cleansing the load, whereas the calves will contribute to the explosive portion of each the clear and the jerk by way of ankle extension.

Within the higher physique, the erector spinae will assist with hip extension in addition to again extension within the clear, and the trapezius for the ultimate pull upward. The entire of your again will probably be recruited to take care of posture in addition to arm and scapular stability.

Program the Clear & Jerk

Due to its technical part, this motion needs to be accomplished in a particular method. Typically you wish to keep away from an excessive amount of fatigue for it’d end in technical breakdown that can scale back neural effectivity and improve the time to grasp the raise, in addition to risking damage. 

Medium to Heavy Weight, Low Repetitions

How heavy you may go will rely in your technical proficiency, however three to 5 units of 1 to 5 reps ought to be the majority of your programming. You need excellent approach on all repetitions, and that is why we keep away from doing longer units, as fatigue will generate type breakdown.

In case you can not transfer the bar quick, you can’t use good approach, and also you’ll find yourself harm. Staying in that one to 5 rep vary ensures you’re performing largely “neural” work, so muscular fatigue shouldn’t grow to be a difficulty. Ensure that to make use of ample relaxation durations of at the very least two minutes.


The every minute on the minute format is a wonderful option to be taught the Olympic raise and observe approach, because the quick breaks permit for high quality work and elevated density — that means numerous work in a short while. (4)

Set a timer that can ring each minute, or each 90 seconds if you wish to go heavier. Each time the alarm rings, carry out one to 3 repetitions and relaxation for the remaining time, for a complete period of ten to twenty minutes. You will get artistic and use completely different weight and repetitions schemes in the course of the interval. You possibly can additionally incorporate train progressions. Simply make sure to all the time use excellent type.

As an example, you may do 5 minutes of three reps with the muscle clear and press, then 5 minutes of two reps utilizing the ability clear and push press, and at last 5 minutes of a one-rep clear & jerk.

Clear & Jerk Variations

In case you don’t have entry to a barbell, wish to spice issues up, or strive a much less difficult variation, don’t fear. There are a number of clear & jerk variations in inventory.

Dumbbell Clear & Jerk

Altering the gear will make the train technically simpler whereas involving extra muscle tissue on the identical time, particularly within the shoulders and traps. Seize a pair of dumbbells and carry out just like the barbell clear & jerk.

To keep away from having to go additional deep, have solely one of many heads of the dumbbells contact the bottom on every repetition. As a result of this variation is much less technical and dangerous, you may truly use it for longer units and revel in muscular fatigue to build more muscle or endurance very simply. You can even do it with a pair of kettlebells.

Clear & Squat Jerk

Solely the jerk portion of the raise is completely different with this motion. As an alternative of assuming a half-lunge place to catch the barbell in a break up, catch it in a deep squat. After dipping down and exploding upwards, “assault” the bottom forcefully together with your toes in a shoulder-width stance and squat down on the required depth.

This variation requires additional mobility and steadiness, however has the benefit of not needing to raise the barbell as a lot in the course of the jerk with a view to raise extra weight as a result of you may drop deeper within the squat place than within the lunge.

Continental Clear & Jerk

This brutal train usually requires an axle or fats bar. This specialised bar is utilized in many strongman or strongwoman contests as a result of its two to three-inch thick grip will finally make grip power the limiting think about any train.

To carry out the continental clear, you utilize a blended grip with one hand is flipped underneath the axle (palm up) and the opposite hand in a palm-down grip. Carry out a conventional clear, and don’t neglect to shrug onerous on the prime, then the bar ought to be guided and set at round decrease sternum-level. It could possibly assist if in case you have a “energy stomach” to relaxation it on. With out that, a weightlifting belt can be utilized as a makeshift ledge.

Because the bar rests, change your underhand bar to a palm-down place, and use your hips to dip down and pop the bar as much as the entrance rack place. From there, you may both press, push press, or jerk the load overhead. This variation will construct a bulletproof core and higher again, primarily as a result of the continental section is so tough.


When ought to I do the clear & jerk?

This raise is greatest carried out in a recent begin, at first of the session. Certainly, you wish to keep away from muscular and neural fatigue with a view to carry out greatest with flawless approach. And due to its neural and energy part, this train may also function activation to prime you for the following workout routines. As an example, doing it earlier than heavy squats would possibly show you how to raise heavier.
In case you’re an skilled lifter and also you’ve mastered the approach, you may additionally strive the alternative although, and put it aside for final. As a result of your muscle tissue are drained, your physique may have no selection however to depend on approach to execute the raise.

How usually ought to I clear & jerk?

The reply will rely on your health objectives and expertise stage, however you may definitely observe this raise considerably usually, as a result of it’s essential to keep away from accumulating an excessive amount of fatigue in the course of the classes.
Really, doing it extra usually could show you how to progress quicker. Doing it twice every week at first will yield numerous advantages, however you may even bump it to 3 or 4 occasions every week. Simply keep in mind that the extra you embrace clear & jerk classes, the better they need to be.

A Large Raise for Large Good points

The clear & jerk is seen worldwide each 4 years in the course of the Summer season Olympics, however the train isn’t unique to one of the best weightlifters on the planet. Whether or not you’re an athlete in search of prime efficiency on the sector or within the ring, a power sport competitor trying to carry over power and energy, or a physique-focused lifter trying to pack on full-body muscle, including the clear & jerk to your coaching menu will ship world-class outcomes.


  1. Huyghe, T., Goriss, B., DeLosAngeles, E., & Fowl, S. P. (2021). Exploring The Energy Clear. Worldwide Journal of Power and Conditioning, 1(1).
  2. Santos PDG, Vaz JR, Correia PF, Valamatos MJ, Veloso AP, Pezarat-Correia P. Intermuscular Coordination within the Energy Clear Train: Comparability between Olympic Weightlifters and Untrained People-A Preliminary Examine. Sensors (Basel). 2021 Mar 9;21(5):1904. doi: 10.3390/s21051904. PMID: 33803182; PMCID: PMC7963197.
  3. Stone MH, Wilson GD, Blessing D, Rozenek R. Cardiovascular responses to short-term olympic type weight-training in younger males. Can J Appl Sport Sci. 1983 Sep;8(3):134-9. PMID: 6640815.
  4. de-Oliveira LA, Heredia-Elvar JR, Maté-Muñoz JL, García-Manso JM, Aragão-Santos JC, Da Silva-Grigoletto ME. Evaluation of Pacing Methods in AMRAP, EMOM, and FOR TIME Coaching Fashions throughout “Cross” Modalities. Sports activities (Basel). 2021 Oct 20;9(11):144. doi: 10.3390/sports9110144. PMID: 34822344; PMCID: PMC8624389.

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