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How to Clean & Jerk with Noah Ohlsen

clean and jerk

CrossFit Games Athlete Noah Ohlsen shares some basics of the clean and jerk. There are a lot of details that go into the movement, but these tips are a good place to get started. Discover how to clean and jerk using the “easier” version of the power clean and what to do if your goal is to add more weight to the bar.

The “Easier” Version of a Power Clean

Combining a power clean with a push jerk is going to allow you to get a good amount of weight over your head relatively quickly. There are two components to a clean and jerk: power clean and push press.

Power Clean

  1. Start with the barbell lined up right over the middle of your feet
  2. Keep your chest tall
  3. Push your hips back
  4. Lower down to grab the bar while keeping your back neutral
  5. Shins should be slightly past vertical
  6. Avoid squatting too low or having your butt too high in the air
  7. The bar should be close to your legs
  8. Deadlift the bar up slowly, nice and controlled
  9. Once the bar gets pasts your knees, jump the bar up to your shoulders and get your elbows through to the other side of the bar as quickly as possible.

Push Press

  1. If you have good mobility in your wrist and shoulders you can hold the bar where it lands, or you can let the bar roll back into your fingertips and allow it to rest on your shoulders.
  2. Dip down by bending your knees, keeping chest tall and vertical
  3. Drive up to create some force in your hips to push the bar bell overhead
  4. Make sure the bar finishes in line with the rest of the body – you don’t want to have the bar too far in front or way behind the rest of your body.
  5. After you’ve caught the bar overhead, stand tall, fully extended
clean and jerk

If You Want to Add More Weight

If your goal is to lift more weight, most people will end up doing what we call a full clean or a squat clean. This move will allow you to lift heavier because you don’t have to get the bar as high. You’re going to accommodate for the heavier barbell not coming as high by getting yourself under it. Catch the bar in a squat position and then stand up doing the same thing as the power clean. Instead of ending with a push press/jerk, you’ll go into a split jerk which will also help you lift more weight.

The split jerk has the same set up as the push press, but after you jump the bar up to your shoulders, you’re going to pull into a squat under the bar and stand all the way up. After the dip, land with your front foot forward, back knee slightly bent, and then bring your feet together.

split jerk

Clean and Jerk Recovery

One of Noah Ohlsen’s favorite recovery tools is the Marc Pro. After completing clean and jerks, you’ll likely get sore in your shoulders and traps from the pressing and extension. To recover faster and eliminate soreness, Noah suggests placing one pad on the dense part of the shoulder muscle and the other on either the chest or bulky part of your trap. You can use the other channel with this same placement so both arms can get relief.

If you do a lot of squat clean and jerks, expect your quads to be sore. To help relieve this soreness, Noah suggests placing one pad near the bottom of the VMO and the other at the opposite end of the muscle, up near the outer hip. Then just let your muscles pump and flush out the waste. 

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