How to Do Clean and Jerk: Muscles Worked & Proper Form

Clean and Jerk exercise technique

Muscles Worked in the Clean and Jerk

Muscles worked in the clean and jerk

Primary muscles worked:

Secondary muscles worked:

How to Clean and Jerk

  1. Step up close to the bar, so that it is about over the middle of your foot.
  2. Lean forward and grip the bar with an overhand grip, about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold your breath, and brace your core slightly.
  4. Lift the bar in a smooth but fast motion. Then squat down again to receive the bar on the front of your shoulders. Stand up on straight legs again.
  5. Slightly bend your knees, and then forcefully extend them to push the bar up.
  6. Duck under the bar and catch it on straight arms, with your legs in a lunge position.
  7. First, take a step back with your front foot and then step forward with your back foot, until you’re standing with your feet side by side again, while controlling the bar on straight arms above your head.
  8. Lower the bar in front of you, with control.


The clean and jerk is a classic barbell exercise, and one of the competition lifts in weightlifting. As the name suggests, the exercise is composed of two separate lifts: the clean, in which you lift the bar from the floor to the front of the shoulders, and the jerk, in which you push the bar up to straight arms over your head. Both lifts are also commonly trained separately, and can be done with many variations.

The clean and jerk develop your explosive strength and power in almost your entire body.

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