The quadriceps are the primary muscles used in the clean and jerk, while secondary muscles used include the hamstrings, calves, chest, back, forearms, triceps, shoulders and biceps, according to Fit Stream. It is an advanced Olympic lift, and many bodybuilders consider it the most effective, all-encompassing weightlifting exercise. The clean and jerk increases muscle strength and size, in addition to developing endurance, speed, coordination and agility.
Fit Stream recommends that the clean and jerk only be performed by those with a thorough weightlifting background. It is a highly technical, complex lift and should only be attempted with a weight that can be comfortably controlled.
According to Fit Stream, the clean and jerk consists of two main stages, the clean stage and the press stage. During the clean stage, the barbell is picked up from the floor and racked to the shoulders in one motion. The press stage follows, in which the barbell is lifted overhead while the legs move into a lunge.
Fit Stream explains that it is critical to maintain proper form during the exercise in order to maximize muscle recruitment and minimize the risk of injury. It is also important to maintain concentration, as the clean and jerk places extreme physical and mental demands on the weightlifter.