The Jerk: Close Grip vs. Wide Grip

The Jerk: Close Grip vs. Wide Grip

The Jerk: Close Grip vs. Wide Grip

by David L. Buss, Ph.D., CSCS, RKC

The Clean and Jerk are two of the most fundamental movements in any weightlifting routine or strength training program. They have been used since ancient times with no known significant changes in their form over time (Bodich, 1990). However, there have been some minor alterations made to the movement patterns during the past century. These modifications include the use of different grips and the introduction of a wide variety of barbell weights.

In general, most lifters will perform one set of each exercise before moving on to another exercise. For example, if they were doing squats with 80% for 10 reps, they would do sets of 5 reps with 50%, then 2 sets with 25%, and finally 1 set at 15%. This is called “relaxed” or “hypertrophy” training.

However, there are several benefits to performing exercises in a specific order. First, it allows the body to adapt to the stresses placed upon it. Second, it helps prevent injuries due to improper technique. Third, and perhaps most importantly, performing exercises in a certain order promotes proper motor learning and increases muscular endurance (Fry & Fry, 1995; Krieger et al., 1997).

Below are listed several different methods of performing The Clean and Jerk. First, lifters should become “familiar” with the basic Clean and Jerk before attempting any of the following variations (Krivickas & Selby, 2001).

Strict Order

The first variation is the most common one used among weightlifters. This method is called the “strict” order since each exercise is completed with “perfect” technique before moving on to the next exercise. The strict order begins with an appropriate warm-up and then proceeds with the following exercises in the order listed (Krivickas & Selby, 2001).

Warm-Up: Typically 10 minutes on a rowing machine and 20 minutes of jogging or brisk walking.

Strict Clean Pulls: 1 set of 6 reps with an empty barbell (20 kg).

Full Clean: 1 set of 3 reps with 50% of the lifter’s best effort clean (Krivickas & Selby, 2001).

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