Enhancing Skills

Clean & jerk

Talk to your doctor.  Caution and common sense should be used...as these are my experiences, and my unique situations.  They may work for you or they may not.  You may have different results.  Please read our disclaimer.





The barbell clean & jerk is a dynamic weightlifting exercise that combines two distinct movements: the clean and the jerk. It involves lifting the barbell from the floor to the shoulders (clean) and then from the shoulders to an overhead position (jerk). The clean & jerk targets multiple muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, shoulders, and arms, and is often performed in competitive weightlifting and CrossFit.

Possible Stretches to do prior to exercise:

  • Hip flexor stretches
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Shoulder stretches

Warmups to do prior to exercise:

  • Perform light cardio exercises like jogging or jumping jacks to increase blood flow and warm up the body.
  • Do some dynamic stretches for the hip flexors, hamstrings, and shoulders, such as leg swings, hip circles, and arm circles.
  • Perform a few sets of lighter weight exercises that engage the lower body and upper body, such as bodyweight squats and shoulder presses.

How to select the proper weight: The barbell clean & jerk is an advanced exercise that requires strength, power, and proper technique. It is crucial to have a solid foundation in weightlifting before attempting this exercise. Consult with a qualified coach or trainer to assess your readiness and determine the appropriate weight for your skill level. Gradually increase the weight as you become more comfortable and confident in the movement.

Proper form: Clean:

  1. Start with the barbell on the floor in front of you, standing with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
  2. Bend at the hips and knees to lower into a squat position, reaching down to grip the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip, palms facing towards you.
  3. Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.
  4. Begin the movement by driving through your legs and hips, explosively extending them to generate upward momentum on the barbell.
  5. As the barbell rises, pull yourself under the barbell by quickly dropping into a partial squat and rotating your elbows forward to catch the barbell in the front rack position on your shoulders.
  6. Stand up with the barbell, extending your hips and knees, and keeping your elbows high to maintain the front rack position.


  1. From the front rack position, take a deep breath and brace your core.
  2. Dip by bending your knees and driving your hips back slightly, maintaining an upright torso.
  3. Explosively extend your legs and drive the barbell overhead, simultaneously pushing yourself underneath the bar by splitting your legs into a lunge-like stance.
  4. Lock out your arms overhead with the barbell directly above your head.
  5. Return to a standing position by bringing your front foot back and your back foot forward.
  6. Lower the barbell back down to the front rack position, ready to perform the next clean & jerk repetition.

How to reduce the difficulty: To make the exercise easier, you can:

  • Use a lighter weight or even just a barbell to focus on mastering the technique and maintaining proper form.
  • Focus on each movement separately, practicing the clean and the jerk individually before combining them.

How to increase difficulty: To make the exercise more challenging, you can:

  • Increase the weight you’re using, gradually adding more weight plates to the barbell.
  • Increase the speed and explosiveness of your leg and hip extension during the clean.
  • Focus on the coordination and timing of the dip and drive in the jerk.


  • Beginner: 8-12 reps
  • Intermediate: 12-15 reps
  • Advanced: 15-20 reps

Estimated time for exercise: 10-15 minutes

Body Group:

Full Body

Muscle Group(s):

Calves, Gluteus, Hamstring, Quadriceps, Shoulders, Triceps, Upper back

Muscles used:




Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Trapezius, Deltoids, Triceps





Talk to your doctor.  Caution and common sense should be used...as these are my experiences, and my unique situations.  They may work for you or they may not.  You may have different results.  Please read our disclaimer.

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