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Kettlebell Clean and Jerk


Kettlebell Clean and Jerk
Table Of Contents

Exercise Description

Main Target Muscles


Secondary Target Muscles

Abs, Adductors, Biceps, Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Traps, Triceps, Upper Back

Workout Type

Olympic Weightlifting

Gym Gear


Fitness Level




Target Muscle Group: Quads

Kettlebell Clean and Jerk Overview

Clean and Jerk is a complete body exercise that is usually performed in Olympic-style weightlifting facilities.

This is a combination exercise that combines the clean and the jerk. The clean movement is a pulling pattern, while the jerk moves in a pushing pattern. This combination affects nearly every muscle in the body.

Olympic lifts such as the clean and jerk are technically difficult and require lots of practice before you can perform with any weight.

How to Do It

  • Place the kettlebell between your feet.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly out, your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Keep your hips down and look forward.
  • Keep the bar near your body and push the floor away. Then, shift your knees forward.
  • When the bar passes your knees shift your knees forward so that your torso is upright.
  • Jump up explosively and shake the bar vigorously.
  • Rotate your elbows so that the bar is facing you as it passes your shoulders.
  • Place your hands on the bars and drop down to a squat.
  • Elevate your hips by lifting your knees and extending your legs.
  • If you wish, reposition your hands to prepare for the jerk. Then drop the elbows to approximately 45 degrees.
  • You can then dip slightly to your knees, and then you will explode straight up when the bar is pressed overhead.
  • Drop underneath while it is still moving overhead and then split the legs before you catch the bar with your arms locked out.
  • Take a step forward with your front foot, then move to the back foot. Then bring the feet together.
  • In a controlled manner, lower the bar from above.
  • Continue repeating until you reach the desired number.

Kettlebell Clean and Jerk Tips

Olympic lifting is not about brute strength but efficiency.

  • Most jerks will be dropped from above as it is much easier to lower them to the ground. This could pose a risk of injury to an already complex lift.
  • Due to the differences in hand position, your hips will likely begin a bit lower in the clean than in the snatch.
  • Shorter athletes might need to hold their elbows up during the dip before the jerk because the bar could slide forward from their shoulders due to the smaller muscle mass.
  • You want to see the movement in a vertical direction. Do not think of pushing your hips forward. Think up.
  • Before moving into the clean, do some front squats or RDLs first. This will help ensure your strength in hinge and front rack positions.
  • Start with the hang (middle thigh) when learning the clean.
  • Toe angle can be very individual. You should experiment to find what feels right for you.
  • You should drive the entire foot. You need two points of contact: the big toe and the little toe.

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