The clean and jerk is one of two current Olympic weightlifting events (the other being the snatch). It is a highly technical lift that is known as "the king of lifts" because more weight can be lifted above one's head as compared to any other known weightlifting technique.
The clean portion of the lift refers to the lifter explosively pulling the weight from the floor to a racked position across deltoids and clavicles. In early twentieth century weightlifting competitions, a variant movement called the "Continental" (because it was practiced by Germans rather than the British) allowed the lifter to pull the barbell up to his belt, where it could rest. Then with several successive flips, the bar would be moved up the torso until it reached the position for the overhead jerk. The Continental gained a reputation as clumsy, slow, and nonathletic compared to the swift coordinated movement required to lift the bar "clean." Hence, the clean movement was adopted by the early weightlifting federations as the official movement.
The athlete begins the clean by squatting down to grasp the bar. Hands are positioned approximately a thumb's distance from hips using what is known as a hook grip. The hook grip requires grasping the bar so that the fingers go over the thumb. This makes it much easier for the lifter to maintain his grip on the bar. The lifter's arms are relaxed and just outside the legs with the bar up against the shins. The hips are as low as necessary to grasp the bar, with the feet placed approximately at hip width. Weight is kept on the heels. Toes may be pointed straight ahead or angled out according to the lifters preference. The chest is up and the back is neutral to slightly hyper extended. This is the starting position of the "pull" phase of the lift.
Clean phase Edit
The lifter jumps the bar up through triple extension (in very quick succession) of the hips, knees and then ankles. When the legs have driven the bar as high as possible, the lifter pulls under the bar by violently shrugging (contracting) the trapezius muscles of the upper back ("traps"). This pulls the lifter under the bar and into a deep squat position. Specialized bearings allow the bar to spin freely in relation to the weights thus allowing the elbows to extended in front. At the same time, the bar may now lay or "rest" across the palms, the front of the shoulder or deltoid muscles, and the clavicles. At this point the lifter should be in a full squat position, with his buttocks on or very close to the heels, sitting erect with the bar resting comfortably across the deltoids and fingers. By keeping a rigid torso and maintaining a deep breathhold the bar bends over the lifters clavicle. The improvement in construction of modern weightlifting bars has greatly increased this springing action compared with bars used in the first half of the twentieth century. This springing action is used to rebound from the full bottom squat position. This is commonly known as a front squat.
Jerk phase Edit
The lifter may then adjust grip in anticipation of the jerk phase. The jerk portion of the lift again requires the lifter to jump the bar into the air. A quick dip or bending of the knees initiates another explosive triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles. The jerk also requires the lifter to drop under the bar as the bar reaches its maximum height. Generally the lifter drops under the bar using the split technique. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible for most athletes to press several hundred pounds (depending upon bodyweight) overhead so the lifter does not begin pushing the bar until completely under it. At this point the lifter is under the bar with one leg out front with the knee bent between 70 to 90 degrees and the back leg extended behind with a 20 to 30 degree knee bend and with the heel up and weight on the bent toes and ball of the foot. The torso is erect and in a state of isometric tension (the breath is still being held), with elbows locked, holding the weight with the arms at full extension in the overhead position. Ideally, viewed from the side, the bar should be over the ears or just behind. The feet are then placed parallel to each other. After one or two seconds the lifter may then take a breath while lowering the bar in front and allowing it to drop to the lifting platform.
Variants of the jerk include the old style jerk where the legs stay under the lifter's hips and the lifter squats down under the bar and then stands upright. The main advantage of the split jerk is that it is easier to balance the bar forwards and backwards whereas the main advantage of the more difficult squat jerk is a greater ease of recovery.
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). The hang clean, another weight training exercise, begins with the barbell off the ground arms hanging down. I.e., any position between the barbell touching the ground and the body fully erect.
Olympic World Record Edit
As of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics record for the Men's Clean and Jerk is 263.5 kg (580.3 pounds). This record was set by Hossein Reza Zadeh of Iran. For the women division, as of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the world record for the Women's Clean and Jerk is 186 kg (410.06 pounds). This record was set by Jang Miran of South Korea.
All Time World Record Edit
The all time world record in the Clean and Jerk was 266 kg (586.42 pounds) by Leonid Taranenko of the Soviet Union. However this weight is not considered a world record by the International Weightlifting Federation, since all the old records were annulled after a restructuring of weight classes.
See also Edit
- ↑ Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games Men's weightlifting records
- ↑ Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games Women's weightlifting records