Clean and Jerk exercise is a fantastic exercise to build overall power and strength that targets majority of muscles throughout your body, mainly your posterior chain of Hamstrings, Glutes and Erector Spinae.

It also works the Quadracep’s, core and Trapezius, the strength and toning will be improved throughout the whole body.

Applying power through good technique will see the best results from this exercise, Olympic lifters spend many hours perfecting this movement at 50% – 80% of their one rep maximal weight.

Once the exercise is perfected, fast and explosive movement creates great changes at a hormonal level, increasing strength throughout the whole body.

Clean and Jerk Progression & Mobility


  • Start with the bar on the ground with bumper plates on, or practice plates with the same dimensions.
  • Centre yourself with feet at hip to shoulder width apart.
  • Setting the Back to maintain Lumbar curve by pulling belly button and sternum apart.
  • Bending knees and hips to bow over the bar, knees track over the toes, hips above knees and shoulders above the hips.
  • Hands griping the bar over grasp at shoulder width.

Lifting – Clean:

  • Push through heels keeping a set back, hips and shoulders raising at the same time.
  • When the bar gets to the knees, fast hip drive by opening the hips to full extension.
  • As the bar continues to move vertically upwards from the power of the hip drive, start to drop under the bar.
  • Move feet to shoulder width and squat so the knees track over the toes and hips are below the knees.
  • Quickly raise the elbows and catch the bar in front, on the shoulders, in the rack position.
  • You are now in the bottom of the front squat, keeping elbows up, stand up out of the squat keeping the knees out.
  • The Clean part of the exercise is now complete.


  • Keeping a tight core and the bar in the rack position, take a deep breath and lock the core.
  • Bring feet under the hips ready to dip and drive.
  • Dip by bending the knees forward over the toes and lowering your hips towards your heels.
  • Keep your heels on the ground, torso remains vertical with shoulders above your hips.
  • Scoop the chin back to allow for a bar path to go up vertically.
  • Drive through heels with fast hip and knee extension and throwing the bar off of the shoulders.
  • As the bar continues to move vertically upwards from the power of the hip drive, start to drop under the bar.
  • Split the feet into a high lunge with the back knee staying of the ground (your preference on which foot goes forward).
  • Catch the bar with locked out arms overhead as the feet make contact with the ground.
  • Front leg, the shin is vertical with hip at a height just above that knee.
  • Back leg, ball of the foot on the ground, bent knee above the height of the back heel.
  • Once under control and stable, step the feet in under the hips.
  • Clean and Jerk is now complete.
  • Lower the bar to the shoulders, hips then the ground to start another rep.

Faults, Form and Technique

General faults are…

  • Raising the hips early in the Clean by extending the legs before the shoulders come up, placing a lot of load on the lower back.
  • In the Jerk, squatting instead of dipping changes the bar path and sends it forward making the bar hard to catch overhead.
  • “Muscling” the Clean and Jerks is when the movements are slow and controlled, moving the bar around your body and is not very efficient and will limit the amount of weight you can lift.

Spending a lot of time on technique when starting will set you up for the long run, can be frustrating at times however the PB’s are worth it!

This will lead to heavier weights and will limit injury as this is a high risk exercise when performed incorrectly.

VariationsHang Clean and Press, Medicine Ball Clean And Jerk

How To Do Clean And Jerk