T Nation

Clean and Jerk Help Needed...


Ok so I have a pretty big issue with my clean and jerk and I'm hoping someone may be able to help me. When I stand up after racking the clean I have been getting really lighted headed, so much so that it almost feels like I might blackout. It only happens when the weight gets heavy. It's happened the past two saturdays when I go for a near 1RM and it happened again today when I use a daily training max. Was wondering if anyone had this happened to them and if anyone has ideas for how I can avoid it. Any help or ideas are greatly appreciated!


The bar might be rolling back into your carotid artery instead of resting on your delts:

Otherwise it could be a breathing thing.


Hey Alexus,

This happens all the time.

When you catch the clean your chest needs to be puffed out and your shoulders need to shrug forward. This will make a little shelf that the bar rests on. Your elbows should be pointing straight in front of you. If your elbows point down or at an angle towards the ground, then the bar will be supported by your arms on on your clavicles, which why you're blacking out. If you catch the bar right you can hold it and breathe normally.

Here's an example of poor form (elbows point down and bar is supported by her arms and neck):

And here's good form (very solid "shelf", bar supported by the shoulders):

A great way to warm up is to load the bar with a heavy weight while it's on squat racks. Get into position like you will be front squatting it, but keep it on the rack. Move your elbows forward and back like you're cleaning it, gradually limbering up the shoulder joint until you can point them straight forward. It's a mobility drill, do it until you feel limbered up. You can also have a partner push up on your elbows to stretch you into that position, but the partner stretch is best done after a workout.

Best of luck!


*scuse the post above. Meant that for tdmikey.


What's your breathing technique when your doing a heavy clean?
Been there done this when I used to use short chop breaths before the pull. Worked with a buddy and now set, take a deep breath, force it down to tighten the core and then pull, this has helped me tremendously.


twiceborn...thanks for the info, I worked on it trying to catch the bar on my delts this morning and I'm about to head out for another session to work on it now. I've gotten very good at catching the bar on my collarbones and I didn't even know it wasn't supposed to be sitting there. Thanks again.

I definitely don't use short chop breaths because I always thought that would mess up my abdominal pressure somehow or make light headed. I don't necessarily take a single big breath and hold either. I just take an average or slightly above average breath and hold it. I focus more on being set before the pull than I do on the size of my breath.