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Trying to Clean and Jerk with Long Forearms

So, wasn’t really sure where to put this topic. I’ve been wanting to add clean and jerk to my lifts, but I have a problem. My forearms are 3 inches longer than my upper arms. It seems no matter how much forearm stretching, or shoulder mobility, or thoracic extension I work on, I can’t get into proper full rack position. I can muscle it to a certain point but there’s a lot of strain on my back. At this point I’m thinking dumbbells or kettle bells is the only way I’m gonna be able to do this unless someone else has worked through this problem before and has some advise?

Non-expert Opinion;

If your forearms are longer than your upper arms, you don’t need to get your elbows up so high to get a nice rack.

You have an advantage. Dudes with short arms have to get elbows way up to get the bar where they want it.

Long forearms, low elbows
vasily-alekseyev (1)

Short forearms, high elbows

I could be way off here, but I’m just obsessed with Pocket Hercules right now.

Haha, nice!

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I don’t think forearm length is an issue. There are lots of angles at play, I am guessing the biggest issue is flexibility.

Try moving your grip out a little.


This is all good advice. When I coach oly form I recommend that everyone at least try jerking with low elbows. The degree to which you lower your elbows is personal preference, but widening your grip slightly in combination with dropping the elbows a little helps. It turns the jerk into more of a standard press movement with your upper body, as opposed to keeping the high front rack position. Purely using your body momentum to get the weight moving upwards and then unfolding your arms does have the benefit of keeping the bar more over your center of gravity; it might not seem like it, but the barbell can shift forward ever so slightly while lowering your elbows and widening your grip, depending on the degree to which you do so.

I just threw a lot out there. Overall, play around with lowering the elbows and widening the grip little by little until you find what’s comfortable for you.


Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like you haven’t added them to your routine yet. When I first started, the biggest issue I had was wrist flexibility, but actually just performing the movement made me better at it to the point where my elbows are parallel with my nose. VERY few people have that flexibility in the beginning. Just stretch your forearms, triceps, and wrists. One thing that helped me a lot was putting 135 on a bar and unracking it like I was going to front squat it. Just stand there and bring your elbows as high as possible without hurting your wrists. A couple sets each session helped me learn what a strong front rack felt like and it ingrained some muscle memory for it as well. Good luck

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I haven’t added the full clean and jerk no, but have worked on cleans, front squats, and presses individually. I’m gonna see what I can do with grip width and little form suggestions that you guys give on my next day, will update on what I can come up with

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Awesome man. Front squats will benefit you tremendously