Clean & Jerk

I have a question for our weightlifting experts:

Is it possible to know who much one can clean knowing how much one can clean & jerk? For example, how much a woman can clean if she can clean & jerk 180 lbs ?

I’ve tried to found some conversion tables but so far nothing really reliable.


I cant really think of a correlation, except that it is indeed a signifcant amount higher, not sure though, David W would be better suited ot answer this one.

A little bit higher, since your only doing one half of the move, assuming you mean a full clean, and not a powerclean.

But it depends on where the person is strongest, the clean or the jerk. If the jerk is weaker, then the clean will be much higher by itself, than usual.

Usually, a maximal clean and jerk is a maximal clean followed by a jerk attempt. Athletes who have a stronger pull and proportionaly weak legs may get caught in the bottom position with the weight on their chest and be unable to recover( i.e. stand up). Once an athlete has cleaned the weight technical problems may prevent him or her from successfully jerking the bar although ideally they shoudn’t. So, to answer your question your 180lb c&j lifter should be able to clean only 180, unless she is holding something back in anticipation of the effort required by the jerk or there is a technical issue. One rule of thumb that may help is to watch where she receives or catches the bar when she cleans it. If her thighs are parallel or under then I would guess that this is as maximal a lift as she is capable of and a limit clean weight, unless she is trained as a weightlifter. If she catches the bar a little higher, she may have 5-10% (round figure of 5-20lbs) left depending on her technique (most important) and the height of the catch (of secondary importance).

I disagree. From watching past weightlifting championships the jerk is the limiting factor for most weightlifters. Rarely does a lifter fail in the clean attempt: most failures occur during the jerk phase.

Not being a weightlifter I don’t know if this is because the technical requirements for the jerk (no press-out) make lifters miss a jerk where they would otherwise have succeeded with a push press. Similarly it may be that the ensuing fatigue after a clean makes some lifters miss the jerk where they would have succeeded in a jerk from racks.

In any case, for most athletes, and especially female athletes, their clean greatly exceeds their jerks.

Colin is right, depends entirely on the athlete. I have lifters who can clean 10% more than they jerk and others who jerk 10% more than they clean (the former is probably more common). As coaches we strive to improve the limiting factor whilst maintaining all other components, tHerefore which lift is weaker may actually fluctuate over time…

Try this link:

I don’t understand the logic here: that’s like saying that one can jump farther with 3 strides run-up than with 20 strides. That’s possible only with a very low technical level.
But my comparison is maybe irrelevant.

btw, the 180 clean and jerk was by a female top-class sprinter.

Yes it is a poor comparsion. Possible explanations:

  1. Good limit strength, poor reactive strength
  2. Relative weakness in pressing muscles
  3. Poor technique in jerk RELATIVE to clean
  4. For split lifters (me!) - poor limit strength in knee extensors

etc, etc

For the case of this female sprinter:

  1. Good limit strength, poor reactive strength NO
  2. Relative weakness in pressing muscles ABSOLUTELY NOT
  3. Poor technique in jerk RELATIVE to clean THAT’S THE QUESTION
  4. For split lifters (me!) - poor limit strength in knee extensors MAYBE