The clean and jerk is a composite of two weightlifting movements, most often performed with a barbell: the clean and the jerk. During the clean, the lifter moves the barbell from the floor to a racked position across the Deltoids, without resting fully on the Clavicles. During the jerk the lifter raises the barbell to a stationary position above the head, finishing with straight arms and legs, and the feet in the same plane as the torso and barbell.
Of the several variants of the lift, the most common is the Olympic clean and jerk, which, with the snatch, is contested in Olympic weightlifting events.
To execute a clean, a lifter grasps the barbell just outside the legs, typically using a hook grip. Once the barbell is above the knees, the lifter extends explosively, raising the bar as high as possible before quickly dropping into a squat and receiving it in a "racked" position in front of the neck and resting on the shoulders. To complete the clean, the lifter stands, often propelling the bar upward from the shoulders slightly as the erect position is attained and shifting the grip slightly wider and the feet slightly closer together in preparation for the jerk. This form of clean, commonly referred to as power clean, was popularized by Dent Guarino.
The jerk begins from the "front rack" position, which is the finishing position of the clean. The lifter dips a few inches by bending the knees, keeping the back vertical, and then explosively extends the knees, propelling the barbell upward off the shoulders, and then quickly dropping underneath the bar by pushing upward with the arms and splitting the legs into a lunge position, one forward and one back. The bar is received overhead on straight arms, and, once stable, the lifter recovers from the split position, bringing the feet back into the same plane as the rest of the body.
Another variation of the jerk besides the split jerk described above is the squat jerk, in which the lifter receives the bar overhead in a partial squat, with the feet in the same plane as the bar rather than split forward and back.
The power clean, a weight training exercise not used in competition, refers to any variant of the clean in which the lifter does not catch the bar in a full squat position (commonly accepted as thighs parallel to the floor or below). The hang clean, another weight training exercise, begins with the barbell off the ground, hanging from the arms. Both power and hang cleans are considered to be ideal for sports conditioning; as they are both total body exercises, that have been known to increase neuromuscular co-ordination and core stability.
The Continental involves lifting the bar from the floor to the final clean position by any method of the lifter's choosing so long as the bar is not upended and does not touch the ground. The bar may be rested on the legs, stomach, or belt. Hands may be removed and replaced.
1 This is the official world record for the Clean and Jerk in the Men's 105 kg+ category; the highest weight ever lifted in the Clean and Jerk is 266 kilograms (586 lb) in 1988 by Leonid Taranenko of the Soviet Union, but this is no longer considered a world record by the International Weightlifting Federation due to the restructuring of weight classes in 1993 and 1998.