Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk is an advanced Olympic lift and one of the most effective and all encompassing strength and performance exercises available.

Primary Muscle Quadriceps
Secondary Muscle(s) Biceps, Shoulders, Triceps, Forearms, Back, Chest, Abdominals, Calves, Hamstrings
Difficulty Advanced
Optional Barbell and Weights

Clean and Jerk Guide

The Clean and Jerk is a highly technical lift, which challenges almost every muscle in the body and increases muscle strength, size, and endurance whilst developing speed, coordination and agility skills. 

Due to the complexity of the Clean and Jerk it should only be performed by people with a consistent and thorough weight training background, and using a weight that you can comfortably control. 

One of two lifts used in Olympic Weightlifting, the Clean and Jerk is made up of two main stages - 

  • The clean stage - where the barbell is picked from the floor and 'racked' on the shoulders in a single motion. 
  • The press stage - in which the barbell is pushed into an overhead finish position, while moving the legs into a lunge (one leg in front of the other). 

The Clean and Jerk is an unmatched exercise in terms of the physical and mental demands placed on the body and should be approached with both respect and concentration. 

How to do the Clean and Jerk

  1. Stand in front of the barbell, feet placed shoulder width apart. Squat and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, your shoulders should be over the bar, arms kept straight. 
  2. Begin to lift the bar by extending your hips and knees and raising your upper body. 
  3. As the barbell reaches just above your knees jump up and raise your shoulders in a powerful shrugging movement. During this move, pull and arc the bar up with your arms and catch it on your shoulders, whilst dropping into the squat position.
  4. Stand up, catch your breath and adjust your grip if required, before continuing with the final part of the exercise. 
  5. Dip down slightly by bending at the knees and explosively drive up with your legs, pushing the bar up-and-off your shoulders. 
  6. Drop down, split one foot forward (flat on the floor, shin vertical) and the other foot back (resting on toes) as fast as possible, while extending and locking your arms out overhead. 
  7. Push up with both legs and bring your feet together. 
  8. Lower bar to your chest and back to the ground. Repeat. 


  • Always use a weight that you can comfortably lift and control.
  • Ensure that you maintain concentration throughout the exercise.
  • Maintain strict form throughout the exercise for maximum muscle recruitment and minimal potential of injury.


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.