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Olympic Lifts - The Jerk

The Olympic Lifts are recommended exercises for inclusion in power and speed training programs. These exercises' objective is to develop the body's large muscles in an explosive action that requires the use of many joints and muscle groups in a coordinated movement. The Olympic Lifts comprise the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. The Power Snatch and Power Clean are auxiliary lifts that aid in the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch training.

The checklist is adapted from Pauletto (1991)[1]

  • Bar loaded evenly, collars in place and secure
  • Bar positioned on a stand at shoulder height
  • Feet flat on the floor and approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Grasp the bar with the palms facing upward
  • Hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Lift the bar from the stand and rest the bar on your shoulders
  • Elbows pointed slightly down and out
  • Back straight
  • Head facing forward
  • Keep your chest high (as in Fig 1)
  • Athlete inhales and holds breath
  • Abdominal muscles pulled in
  • Bend the legs slightly with a quick dipping action (10 to 15% of the athlete's height)
  • Jump explosively to drive the bar vertically as high as possible
  • At the same time, straighten the arms to thrust the weight overhead
  • Drop directly beneath the bar catching it straight over the shoulders
  • The legs can be kept shoulder width or split forward (as in Fig 2)
  • Return to the erect position by moving the feet back to the start position
  • Lower the bar carefully to the shoulders
Fig 1: Start Position

Fig 2: End Position


  1. PAULETTO, B. (1991) Strength Training for Coaches. USA; Human Kinetics

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Olympic Lifts - The Jerk [WWW] Available from: [Accessed