Like a lot of things in the health and fitness industry, there is so much information and variety out there. It can be very confusing on what type of training you should be doing to get the best results and to help you create the best version of yourself. With that in mind, there are many exercises you can do that will be beneficial to your fitness goals but one of the best ones is one that you probably aren’t even doing; the clean and jerk.
What is the clean and jerk?
The clean and jerk is an amazing exercise that uses practically every muscle in the human body, and the great thing about it is that it doesn’t just measure a person’s strength. It encompasses a lot of different aspects to the movement so it requires extreme amounts of speed, power, explosiveness, flexibility, mobility, and agility.
There is a reason why it is an Olympic event and an important exercise in Crossfit. While primarily a performance-based exercise, clean and jerks will boost your strength to incredible levels as well as increase your explosive power and muscular endurance. By hitting nearly 200 muscles in your body, it creates a massive anabolic surge to drive muscle growth, which explains the reason why most people who perform this exercise regularly tend to be very muscular.
This exercise also fires up your central nervous system, which in turn, helps increase muscle fibre recruitment. This activates high threshold muscle fibres, most responsible for explosive movements and muscle growth, and stimulates a huge anabolic surge.
It can take months of technical practice to do them optimally, but like all good things you have to work for, we feel they are well worth doing and you should also start to see amazing results after only a few weeks of doing them. They will definitely help you get fitter, stronger and more muscular when added to your weekly training plan.
How to perform it
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Squat down and grab the barbell shoulder-width apart with an overhand grip, maintaining a neutral spine, proud chest, and braced core.
2. In one swift movement, lift chest and thrust hips forward, using the momentum from hips to pop barbell up toward shoulders.
3. Shrug and bend your elbows as you drop underneath the bar, lowering into a front squat, with palms facing up and bar resting on palms.
4. Press into heels and mid-foot to stand.
5. Immediately sit back into a quarter squat underneath the bar, then use the momentum to stand (hopping off the floor just an inch) and pop the bar overhead, arms extended, landing either with feet in the same position or in a split stance, as demonstrated above.
6. Carefully reverse the movement to lower the bar back to front rack position, then down to the floor.
Do 8 - 12 reps and 3 - 4 sets.