Clean and jerk

From Academic Kids

The clean and jerk is one of two weightlifting events. It is a highly technical lift, one of the two used in Olympic Games Weightlifting competition. When strength coaches and weightlifting coaches refer to weightlifting, they are speaking about either the snatch or clean and jerk and a large variety of ballistic movements associated with them. All other resistence training is weight training or bodybuilding.

The clean portion of the lift refers to the lifter explosively pulling the weight from the floor. The athlete squats down to grasp the bar. Hands are positioned approximately thumbs 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 far more difficult for the lifter to lose 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 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 hyperextended. This is the starting position of the "pull" phase of the lift. After taking a big breath and setting the back, 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 gains a tiny amount of additional height by violently shrugging (contracting) the "traps". As the bar reaches its highest point, the lifter pulls under the bar by dropping into a deep squat position and spinning the hands around the bar so the elbows are extended in front. At the same time, as the arms are brought up with the elbows extended in front of the chest, the hook grip is released so the bar may now lay across or "rest" across the palms, rest the bar on the front of the shoulder or deltoid muscles and across clavicles. At this point the lifter should be in a full squat position, butt on or very close to the heels, sitting erect with the bar resting comfortably across the deltoids and fingers. From this full squat position the lifter must now stand up. This is commonly known as a front squat.

The lifter may then adjust grip in anticipation of the jerk phase.The jerk portion of the lift again requires the lifter to jump the bar into the air. A quick dip or bending of the knees initiates another explosive triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles. The jerk also requires the lifter to drop under the bar as the bar reaches its maximum height. Generally the lifter drops under the bar using the split technique. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible for most athletes to press several hundred pounds (depending upon bodyweight) overhead so the lifter does not begin pushing the bar until completely under it. At this point the lifter is under the bar with one leg out front with the knee bent between 70 to 90 degrees and the back leg extended behind with a 20 to 30 degree knee bend and with the heel up and weight on the bent toes and ball of the foot. The torso is erect and in a state of isometric tension, (the breath is stll being held) with elbows locked, holding the weight with the arms at full extension in the overhead position. Ideally, viewed from the side, the bar should be over the ears or just behind. The feet are then placed parallel to each other. After one or two seconds the lifter may then take a breath while lowering the bar in front and allowing it to drop to the lifting platform.

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.

Olympic World Record

As of the 2004 Olympics, the Worlds Record for the Clean and Jerk is 580.9 pounds (263.5 kg). This record was set by Hossein Reza Zadeh of Iran.


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