Tips on how to Do the Clear & Jerk for Whole-Physique Energy and Energy

Is there a feat of energy extra visually placing than taking a heavy chunk of steel 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 present competed within the Olympics. The “C&J” is a whole motion which might develop energy, energy, coordination, pace, and muscle all through your entire physique in case you can grasp it.

Credit score: Photology1971 / Shutterstock

No marvel it’s utilized in many energy and conditioning applications to supply high-performance athletes, or that the train made its manner into CrossFit coaching, which emphasizes difficult your whole physique as usually as doable.

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 find out how to grasp this beast of a elevate.

Clear & Jerk

Tips on how to Do the Clear & Jerk Step by Step

The clear & jerk is an explosive motion that requires (and builds) energy, coordination, and pace. You can not carry out an accurate clear & jerk slowly. This is without doubt one of the the explanation why it’s so demanding. The method 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 approach to carry out the ultimate section of every repetition, however the clear & jerk will be carried out (fastidiously) with any steel plates.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Place

A person starting to do a clean & jerk.
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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 must be decrease than your shoulders however greater than your knees. Preserve your again flat, your chest excessive, and look ahead.

Type tip: Preserve the bar shut touching, or nearly touching, your shins throughout the setup. This can 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 means of the bottom. Your hips and shoulders ought to elevate on the similar pace, whereas the barbell stays very near your physique. The primary pull is just not not like the preliminary begin of a standard deadlift.

Type tip: As a result of the clear & jerk is an explosive motion, you may be tempted to blow up off the ground to generate power as shortly as doable. Don’t. Deal with being in command of the barbell along with your entire physique braced. Particularly in case you’re undecided about your method, decelerate your first pull.

Step 3 — Explode Into the “Second Pull”

two people in gym lifting barbells from ground
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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 possibly can explode up with as a lot power as doable by extending your entire decrease physique. 

Whereas preserving your arms straight, prolong your hips and knees forcefully. As you prolong, push by means of the balls of your toes as arduous as you possibly can. Your heels should raise off the bottom. In the event you’ve carried out a whole triple extension, your physique in a whole straight line, with solely your toes and the balls of your toes on the ground.

Type tip: Consider leaping as excessive as you possibly can 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 would be tempted to blow up your hips ahead like a kettlebell swing to attempt to generate power, however it should lead to an inefficient bar path. When you cross your knees, assume “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 power 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 arduous as you possibly can to provide much more vitality to the bar whereas “pulling” your self underneath it.

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

Type tip: “Assault” the bottom with power. Think about you’re making an attempt to hit the ground as quick as you possibly can when you stand in your toes.

Step 5 — Catch the Bar and Stand Up

Person in dark hold holding barbell on shoulders
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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 possibly can. Carry out a strong front squat till you stand tall.

Type tip: How low you “ought to” squat to catch the bar relies on the load relative to your energy, and the way a lot power you utilized to the bar. The more durable and heavier it’s, the deeper you’ll doubtless should squat. If you must squat to parallel or beneath, the motion is taken into account a “full clear.” In the event you obtain the bar in a better squat place, it’s known as a “energy clear.”

Step 6 — Dip Down

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

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

Type tip: Earlier than initiating the dip, you possibly can barely decrease your elbows, in order that they’re between a entrance squat (dealing with ahead) and a push press (dealing with the bottom) place. This can mean you can use a bit extra shoulder energy to elevate the load. Relying in your upper body mobility, you might also really feel comfy 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 arduous as you possibly can through your legs to drive the bar up. Use the identical triple extension as throughout the clear to generate as a lot power as you possibly can — fully prolong your hips, knees, and ankles — after which push the load along with your arms.

Type tip: Don’t bend ahead. That may sacrifice energy, enhance pressure in your decrease again, and shift the bar right into a much less environment friendly path that’s extra prone to fail the elevate. Preserve a very vertical bar path. 

Step 8 — Break 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 doable into your catch place by splitting right into a half-lunge. Rapidly place one leg in entrance of you, along with your foot flat and your knee vertical, and one behind you, barely bent and along with your weight in your toes. Assume a shoulder-wide stance. Straighten your arms forcefully and preserve them straight the remainder of the train.

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

Step 9 — Recuperate and End the Elevate

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 way in which, 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, in case 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 the event you’re lifting with steel 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 right down to the bottom.

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

Clear & Jerk Errors to Keep away from

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

Utilizing Too A lot Weight

Technique ought to at all times come earlier than weight with any train, nevertheless it rings much more true with the Olympic lifts. Utilizing an excessive amount of weight will power your physique to make use of the trail of least resistance, as an alternative of correct method and environment friendly bar path.

This leads to “muscling” the load up and grinding a elevate that must be carried out easily. You’ll by no means learn the proper technique that manner and also you’ll solely threat harm, particularly on the shoulder advanced.

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

Keep away from it: Ensure you use acceptable weight and really feel assured in your method earlier than rising the load. In the event 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 study the clear & jerk with a broomstick earlier than even utilizing a 45-pound barbell.

Not Staying Over The Bar

Throughout the clear & jerk, your shoulders have to remain barely in entrance of the bar till you end the second pull and fully prolong your physique. This can assist you maximize bar top and path. In case your physique doesn’t keep in good alignment, you possibly can’t successfully switch power 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: Preserve your weight balanced over the center of your toes. Don’t put an excessive amount of weight in your toes (except you’re speculated 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 Holding the Bar Near You

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

If the bar drifts away from you, you’ll almost certainly 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 superb train, it’s not a clear. You’ll by no means be capable 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: Preserve the bar near you at completely all occasions. Decelerate the beginning of the elevate 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

Whenever you dip and create the leg drive, you may be tempted to squat deep. However the dip is just not meant to be a squat. In the event you bend at your hips, you threat shedding your upright place and ship the bar ahead as an alternative of in a straight line within the air.

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

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

Tips on how to Progress the Clear & Jerk 

This elevate being very technical, it may be helpful to include a number of of those progressions in your coaching to study and strengthen key positions of the motion. You’ll be able to incorporate the method piece by piece. You may dedicate full workouts to the elevate or you possibly can 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 superb at that. This development solely consists of the primary and second pull of the clear, adopted by a strong shrug and upright row.

Get into your clear place, elevate 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 not less than chest level, up till your chin. Preserve the barbell near your physique always. This development is nice to discover ways to generate energy and the primary a part of the clear.

Hold Clear

The place a lot of the errors occur throughout the clear is definitely initially: throughout the set-up and the primary pull. In the event you fail to execute this portion completely, the remainder of the elevate is certain to be subpar.

The cling clear avoids this by having you begin the elevate “from the cling”, with the barbell at round knee degree — you solely should do the second and third pull and the catch. You’ll be able to observe the tip of the motion extra simply this manner. 

Energy Clear

The ability clear is the other, you carry out a clear with a lighter weight and also you catch it solely along with your knees barely bent over parallel. Not having to squat all the way in which down makes the motion simpler particularly in case you’re not essentially the most cellular lifter.

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

Muscle Clear and Press

Right here we bypass essentially the most technical facets of the lifts to rely extra on our muscle tissues to carry out it. You gained’t be capable to use as a lot weight, however this can be 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 an alternative of positioning your self into a squat after the full-body extension, preserve your legs and torso straight and pull the load up along with your elbows as excessive as you possibly can. As soon as they’re at maximal top, 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 be capable to use extra arms. Dip down by bending on the knees for a couple of inches, then explode up as arduous as you possibly can. When your legs are fully prolonged, press the bar up as a lot as you possibly can 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 facility 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 prolong your arms, like a conventional jerk.

However as an alternative 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 along with your knees barely bent. This manner, you bypass the technical break up catch place and give attention to the primary a part of the jerk.

Advantages of the Clear & Jerk

If this train is so difficult, why accomplish that many athletes need to study it? It’s easy: it presents advantages no different can reciprocate (aside, maybe, from the snatch, which is even more durable). Here’s what this train has to supply.

Will increase Explosive Energy

Energy is the capability to maneuver weights as quick as doable. It’s a combination of pace and energy, and rising your energy means you’ll almost certainly enhance your energy and pace as effectively! Certainly, this train will train your mind to higher recruit your muscle tissues in order that they attain a better peak power 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 implies that this train will assist them run quicker, bounce greater, throw farther, and sort out more durable. In the event you’re an athlete, this is without doubt one of the most effective and efficient workouts to make you higher at your sport. (1)

Whole-Physique Energy

To seize a weighted barbell and steadiness it over your head requires great energy from head to toe (or, extra precisely, from traps to calves). With the clear & jerk, you possibly can load comparatively extra weight than with the snatch, so it’s an explosive motion that tends towards constructing pure energy and energy. This train recruits just about all the muscle tissues 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 Steadiness, 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 robust and secure shoulders. This can lead to a greater posture and a extra resilient again.

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

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

Higher Cardiovascular Well being

As this train recruits just about all the muscle tissues within the physique, the demand positioned on the cardiovascular system is great as a result of your coronary heart has to pump blood in every single place. Research have discovered that weightlifting improves resting coronary heart fee, VO2 max, and blood strain. (3)

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

Muscle groups Labored by the Clear & Jerk

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


The quadriceps are the most important leg muscle tissues, and are among the many physique’s strongest. They go from the femur or hip bone to the tibia within the decrease leg. Their principal operate is to increase the knee. As such, they are going to be accountable for a lot of the energy generated throughout the train.

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

Urgent Muscle groups

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

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 elevate 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 might be recruited right here, aiding the deltoids. Lastly the triceps goes from the scapula and humerus to the ulna (forearm bone). Its operate right here is to increase the arm to press the load up and preserve 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 prolong the hips and be primarily accountable 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 means 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 might be recruited to take care of posture in addition to arm and scapular stability.

Tips on how to Program the Clear & Jerk

Due to its technical element, this motion must be accomplished in a selected manner. Usually you need to keep away from an excessive amount of fatigue for it’d lead to technical breakdown that may scale back neural effectivity and enhance the time to grasp the elevate, in addition to risking harm. 

Medium to Heavy Weight, Low Repetitions

How heavy you possibly can go will rely in your technical proficiency, however three to 5 units of 1 to 5 reps must be the majority of your programming. You need good method on all repetitions, and that is why we keep away from doing longer units, as fatigue will generate kind breakdown.

In the event you can not transfer the bar quick, you can’t use good method, and also you’ll find yourself damage. Staying in that one to 5 rep vary ensures you’re performing principally “neural” work, so muscular fatigue shouldn’t grow to be a problem. Make sure that to make use of ample relaxation intervals of not less than two minutes.


The every minute on the minute format is a wonderful approach to study the Olympic elevate and observe method, because the quick breaks permit for high quality work and elevated density — that means a variety of work in a short while. (4)

Set a timer that may 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 length of ten to twenty minutes. You may get artistic and use completely different weight and repetitions schemes throughout the interval. You may additionally incorporate train progressions. Simply be sure you at all times use good kind.

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

Clear & Jerk Variations

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

Dumbbell Clear & Jerk

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

To keep away from having to go further 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 possibly can truly use it for longer units and luxuriate in muscular fatigue to build more muscle or endurance very simply. You can too do it with a pair of kettlebells.

Clear & Squat Jerk

Solely the jerk portion of the elevate is completely different with this motion. As a substitute 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 along with your toes in a shoulder-width stance and squat down on the required depth.

This variation requires further mobility and steadiness, however has the benefit of not needing to raise the barbell as a lot throughout the jerk so as to elevate extra weight as a result of you possibly can drop deeper within the squat place than within the lunge.

Continental Clear & Jerk

This brutal train sometimes 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 ultimately make grip energy the limiting consider any train.

To carry out the continental clear, you employ 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 arduous on the prime, then the bar must be guided and set at round decrease sternum-level. It may well assist you probably 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, swap 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 possibly can 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 elevate is greatest carried out in a recent begin, firstly of the session. Certainly, you need to keep away from muscular and neural fatigue so as to carry out greatest with flawless method. And due to its neural and energy element, this train can even function activation to prime you for the next workouts. For example, doing it earlier than heavy squats would possibly assist you elevate heavier.
In the event you’re an skilled lifter and also you’ve mastered the method, you would additionally attempt the other although, and put it aside for final. As a result of your muscle tissues are drained, your physique could have no alternative however to depend on method to execute the elevate.

How usually ought to I clear & jerk?

The reply will rely upon your health targets and expertise degree, however you possibly can actually observe this elevate considerably usually, as a result of it’s essential to keep away from accumulating an excessive amount of fatigue throughout the classes.
Truly, doing it extra usually could assist you progress quicker. Doing it twice every week at first will yield a variety of advantages, however you would 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 Huge Elevate for Huge Good points

The clear & jerk is seen worldwide each 4 years throughout the Summer season Olympics, however the train isn’t unique to one of the best weightlifters on this planet. Whether or not you’re an athlete searching for prime efficiency on the sector or within the ring, a energy sport competitor seeking to carry over energy and energy, or a physique-focused lifter seeking 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., & Chook, S. P. (2021). Exploring The Energy Clear. Worldwide Journal of Energy 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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