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October 08, 2021 9 min read

Did you know that the power clean and jerk is regarded as one of the most spectacular actions in all of athletics?

It may be pretty similar to a deadlift. But only you're standing the whole time instead of bending over. And, although there are many variants for this exercise, they do not alter the mechanics of the power clean and jerk, just the amount of weight lifted.

Many individuals, however, are unaware of why you would engage in such rigorous activity. You might be even wondering how it benefits you? What are its principles? How does it make you stronger, quicker, or better at endurance? Without further ado, let's dive into the realm of power cleans and jerks.

What Exactly Is the Clean and Jerk Exercise?

The clean and jerk are one of two recognized lifts in Olympic weightlifting, the snatch is the other Olympic lift.

Begin by standing with feet hip-width apart, raise the barbell off of the ground into a front rack position overhead using the only momentum from below so it does not need any assistance or weight added into this movement.

Fit muscular sport male bodybuilder workouts clean and jerk lifting

Keep those elbows high in order to make a push press-like form when raising up against gravity after completing one rep. You can develop muscle in your glutes, hamstrings, and triceps by doing clean and jerks—warm-up with complex exercises such as lunges, back squats, deadlifts, or bench presses. If you don't have a barbell, you may use dumbbells or kettlebells for the clean and jerk.

Here are some fantastic advantages of the clean and jerk:

1. Absolute Power

So, you may be thinking that the Clean and Jerk is one of the Olympic lifts because it accurately measures full-body strength. Of course, but there are other vital elements than strength or technique that are required to execute the Clean and Jerk, but it is named "weightlifting" for a reason, and strength is widely recognized as the primary component.

2. Absolute Explosiveness

Do you desire a lot of power? Then begin with Clean and Jerks. Many motions may increase explosiveness, but you're looking at one of the finest right now. Because the motions are so fast and, well, explosive, the Clean and Jerk is an excellent method to develop explosiveness.

Consistently executing heavy, complex motions like the Clean and Jerk causes Neural adaptation, which is essentially a "change in stimuli." Resistance training can be a great way to get in shape if you have the time and energy for it.

This type of workout modifies your brain's processes, leading to greater activation by primary movers while coordinating other important muscles that may become weak due to lack of use over long periods of time such as those around our neck or shoulder blades out on an arm which could lead into pain with certain movements like reaching up high where we need extra support when balancing things atop shelves.

Because of these essential brain changes, this mechanism allows for increased explosiveness over time. The development of explosiveness from Clean and Jerks frequently transfers to other exercises where being explosive is advantageous.

3. Aids in Cardiovascular Health

Many of us are unaware of the benefits that high-intensity weightlifting may have on our cardiovascular systems. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise have both been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Many individuals across the globe suffer from cardiovascular disease, but just increasing your activity level, such as weight training, may improve your entire system and promote well-being. Cleans and Jerks are excellent for cardiovascular health because they demand a lot of effort while engaging the whole body in a broad, prolonged range of motion.

4. Exceptional Core Development

Your core is a critical component of your capacity to perform almost anything physical. For example, a strong core helps with balance, stability, posture, and your back during any lifting. A strong core is necessary for lifting big weights, which is why Clean and Jerks are an excellent option if you want to strengthen your core fully.

5. Improved Balance

Why is a healthy balance so important? A good balance, on the other hand, is not a choice if you are an athlete. You cannot perform at a high level if you do not have excellent balance. Every physical activity requires good balance, which is also required for regular daily activities. Balance is particularly essential while exercising and lifting weights. Paradoxically, Clean and Jerks help with balance in these particular exercises.

6. Athletic Performance Enhancement

The stronger and more explosive you are, the better you will perform in physical activities and sports. The strength determines your athletic performance that Clean and Jerks offer.

7. Assistance with Mental Health

Lifting weights has been proven to enhance mental health and provide a nice mood boost. Weightlifting stimulates the production of endorphins in the brain, which may significantly decrease symptoms of sadness and anxiety in most individuals. 

In addition, these endorphins work with the brain to decrease pain perception. This may be more definite for specific individuals, but since everyone is different, the outcomes may vary. Weight training, on the other hand, has been shown in studies to enhance mental health.

8. Hypertrophy of the Musculoskeletal System

This is one of the most significant advantages of Clean and Jerks. Muscle development is a prevalent side effect of weightlifting. Since this is a full-body exercise, every muscle receives a reasonable stimulation level from the significant stress Clean, and Jerks put on muscles.There isn't a single muscle in the human body that Clean and Jerks don't activate in some way, whether directly or indirectly.

9. Helps to Prevent Chronic Disease

Weight training has been proven in studies to prevent and decrease chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease. Many individuals suffer from chronic diseases due to a lack of physical exercise. Clean and Jerks offer the intensive movement of the body, which may help with illness prevention.

10. Gives Self-Assurance

Improving self-confidence is a fantastic advantage of the Clean and Jerk, since who doesn't want bragging rights? The primary reason for doing this exercise isn’t just boosting your confidence level though. It's also an excellent way to push yourself beyond what you thought was possible - which means getting better at something!

Clean and Jerk Substitutions

Try these variants once you've mastered the basic clean and jerk:

  • Power Clean - A variant of the clean phase of the exercise, which is when you raise the barbell to your chest. Instead of adopting a complete squat posture to draw the weight up, employ a deadlift movement pattern.
  • Power Jerk - this variant, also known as the push jerk, includes lowering into a half squat and lifting the weight above.
  • Clean and Squat Jerk - The squat jerk variant requires you to descend into a complete squat posture after raising the weight above.

How To Perform It Properly?

Begin with a weight you can manage for 2–5 sets of 1–5 repetitions for clean and jerks. Stand squarely in front of the barbell, with your toes underneath it. Throughout the action, keep your chin tucked as if you were carrying an egg beneath your chin.

To establish a solid posture:

  1. Distribute your weight evenly and grasp the floor with your feet.
  2. Maintain a lengthy arm by your sides with a bit of bend in your elbows.
  3. Put pressure on your shoulders, hips, and core.
  4. Before descending, approaching the barbell, inhale and exhale.

Take an overhand hold on the barbell, slightly outside of your hips. Engage your back muscles by rotating your shoulders outward. The height of your chest should be more than the height of your hips, and the height of your hips should be greater than the height of your knees. All repetitions should start from this posture.

Begin your upward movement by driving your feet into the floor and maintaining the barbell close to your body while keeping your shoulders above the bar. Next, maintain your back posture and keep your shoulders above the barbell as you begin to stand. Then, while keeping your back straight, raise your chest and hips at the exact moment.

As the barbell crosses your knees and your upper body becomes vertical, drive your legs into the ground explosively, as if leaping. However, your shoulders should still be elevated over the barbell.

Shrug your shoulders explosively once your hips, knees, and ankles are straight. Your arms should remain long, and your elbows should be pointing outward. Pull your body under the barbell rapidly as your shoulders reach their most unique position while twisting your hands around and under the barbell.

Punch your elbows forward and twist your wrists beneath the barbell to catch it on your upper chest and shoulders, then descend into a front squat posture. Your legs should be parallel or slightly lower than parallel to the ground at the end. Only go as low as you can while maintaining a level pelvis and a solid squatting posture.

As though you were completing a front squat exercise, stand tall. Lift your chest without extending your spine by engaging your core. Make a route for the barbell by pushing your head back. Begin the jerk by bending your knees and lowering your torso a couple of inches while remaining upright.

Push your feet into the floor to begin straightening your legs while remaining upright. Allow the momentum of your legs to assist the barbell above as you straighten your legs as if you were doing an explosive overhead press. Continue by moving one leg forward and the other leg backward rapidly. When your elbows have finished straightening, both of your feet should fall at the same moment.

The barbell should be placed slightly behind your ears, and your head should be pulled forward to a neutral posture. Your chin should be tucked beneath your chin as if you were cradling an egg. In the overhead position, your shoulders and upper back should support the barbell.

Your shoulders should extend beyond your hips. Your front foot should end flat, and your shins should be erect. Your rear knee should be slightly bent, and your weight should be on the ball of your foot, off the ground. Set up for another repeat by lowering the barbell back to the floor.

Muscles Worked On Using Clean and Jerk

One of the best things about the clean and jerk is that works virtually every muscle in the body.

The main muscle groups engaged during the clean and jerk workout are listed below:

  • Hamstrings: Only the hip-drive or second pull portion of the clean and jerk engages the hamstrings. Because they are contracted explosively, and for a short period of time, the clean and jerk isn't the greatest workout for growing your hammies. You should also include the Romanian deadlift and good morning in your program for maximum hamstring growth.
  • Quadriceps: The quadriceps are utilized in the clean's squatting phase as well as the dip and drive portion of the jerk. Strong quads aid in the ability to get out of the clean.
  • Traps and the Back: During the lift's pulling, squatting, and jerk phases, the back (lats) and traps are all utilized. A strong back and traps are required to maintain an upright posture in the front squat and provide stability in the jerk.
  • Shoulders: The shoulders and several of the arm's supporting muscles like the triceps and biceps, are the most active during the jerk exercise. Even though the jerk action is mainly caused by leg drive, the shoulders are straining isometrically to stabilize the weight above. As a result, you'll still need to include various shoulder workouts into your program to develop them ultimately.

Sets, Reps, And Weight Recommendations

Based on the training objective, the following three sets, reps, and weight (intensity) suggestions are provided for coaches and athletes to program the clean and jerk effectively.

Please remember that the guidelines below are intended to provide coaches and athletes with broad programming suggestions. While the clean and jerk may stimulate muscular development, it is not an exercise program for hypertrophy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Businessman puts wooden blocks with the word FAQ (frequently asked questions)

1. How do I go about learning the clean and jerk?

Ideally, you'll be able to locate a local certified coach in your region to provide you with some essential coaching. However, if you cannot do so, seek a reputable instructor online who will break down the lift and start with the fundamentals such as motions.

2. How can I improve my strength out of the hole of my front squat?

Increasing leg strength for the clean and jerk is more complicated than just performing more cleans. In addition to boosting your front squat volume, consider the front squat component of the clean as a specific exercise. This means taking a second to get set, gently lowering yourself, then driving up with excellent technique. Don't hurry through the action as though it were just another step in the clean and jerk.

3. How often should I do the clean and jerk?

Many lifters who want to enhance their weightlifting performance and technique should aim for at least three training sessions per week that involve the clean-and-jerk or variants.

The more often you exercise it, the greater importance this becomes in order to determine what works best for your body type as well healing rates over time during these evaluations so it can be used effectively by all athletes.

Wrapping Up

We’ve finally discussed how versatile and helpful it is to use the power clean and jerk exercises. As mentioned above, it can help us in many forms yet always remember to exercise with caution to prevent any harm.

Always remember that taking an enhanced pre-workout supplement can fuel the body with everything it needs, before, during, and after training, and for that, the Ultimate Mass Stack is fantastic.

Don't hesitate to incorporate strength training into your routine for increased muscle mass and endurance!