I realized yesterday that not a lot of people know how to
perform the KB Jerk, let alone the KB Clean + Jerk.
It’s a shame.
I have a client who’s really come a long way on these – he’s
making great strides in conditioning, strength, muscularity –
And he told me he’s eating more liberal about what he
eats than ever before.
Primarily because we have heavy doses of double KB
Clean + Jerks in his program.
(He’s only training twice a week. So yeah, they can be
But he’s not the only one who sees the benefits of the
Clean + Jerk.
I just got this email from Joe Gagliano the other day –
After getting KB Strong finally got the clean and jerk down
and love it (thanks). Here is my question I want to make it
my core move.
I am most interested in adding muscle and conditioning.
You mention in the email doing high reps but what do you
consider high reps sets of 7 or ladders of say 2-4-6-8 for
multiple rungs or is it total reps per workout?
Also how heavy a weight, a 10 rep max or 5? I also want to
add front squats to the same workout but only doing low reps
3 or less doing 2-3 workouts. A week good or bad idea?
Sorry this is so long but I’m a little confused and would
appreciate your help if you have time.”
Can any of us say, including you ladies out there, that we
don’t want that?
Maybe in a reactionary way we don’t – especially not the
muscle part – until we take a closer look at what it’s benefits
Guys – you don’t want to look more defined? You’d rather
keep that “soft and puffy” feminine look?
And you don’t want to have more “oomph” – more “get up
and go” – to play a pick up game of basketball or go hiking
or rough-house with your kids?
And ladies – you don’t want to get rid of those flabby arms?
Or create a better shape to your body? Cause that’s what
muscle does – it gives you shape – and of course it’s the
machinery in your body that actually burns off the fat that
you’re worried about.
And I know for a fact, that as a guy over 40, it becomes harder
and harder to maintain muscle mass without working directly
That’s why the C+J is so awesome.
And that’s why I think Joe is spot on with his goals of putting
on some muscle and upping his conditioning.
And that’s why I think you should do the C+J.
Probably a lot more than you think you should.
Two to three 6 week cycles a year would be a great start.
Exercise scientists know that time under tension is one of
the factors that produces muscle.
So are concentric (shortening, overcoming) muscle actions.
In fact, if you remove the eccentric (lengthening, yielding to
gravity) muscle actions, you can perform a lot more concentric
muscle actions. And that also produces a lot of muscle growth,
due to, among other things, decreased recovery time both
on your muscle tissue and your nervous system.
And rapid eccentric muscle actions also have the ability to
And all three of these forms of loading are found in the
Clean + Jerk, which is why it’s such a great exercise for
In fact Perry Rader, the founder of the old “Strength & Health”
magazine of the 1930s, discovered that high rep C+Js
were good for putting on muscle when nothing else could.
Not to mention, that when you train for increasing muscle
you by default, in most cases, automatically improve your
And let’s not forget that fact, that when done for the correct
set and rep scheme, you can actually increase the output
of your body’s anabolic hormones – the ones responsible
for growth, recovery, and keeping you young.
So there are many, many good reasons to use the C+J for
not only growing muscle, but just to do. Period.
So, getting back to Joe’s question, here’s how we’d structure
a program to focus on both gaining muscle and improving
Joe asked about ladders. You most certainly may do ladders
and they’re a great way to manage fatigue.
However, one of my favorite ways to add muscle and build
conditioning at the same time is to use a 10RM like Joe
asked and do sets of 5-7 reps for a set total number of reps –
Like 50. Or 60.
Why 50 or 60?
Because that gets us back to the time under tension principle
for building muscle.
So sets of 5-7 reps with a 10RM until I reach 50 reps.
No rest periods. Just get it done.
However, I will time that first workout.
That becomes my measuring stick.
Then I repeat the workout and reduce my rest periods so I
routinely and consistently beat my time until I can’t.
So let’s say I can do those 50 reps in 17 minutes.
Next workout I’m going to beat that time. Even if it’s only
by 10 seconds. I’ve still beaten it.
I’ll keep going like this until I can’t. Maybe I stall out at
12 minutes. That’s ok.
Then, do two workouts where you do only half the total
number of reps – 25 and you don’t measure the rest.
This is for recovery purposes.
Then, start the program over and bump the rep range up
to 6-8 reps per set.
Repeat the cycle.
Cut the rest period down until you can’t.
Perform 2 workouts with half the number of total reps.
And then start again using 7-9 reps.
Follow the program again.
And restart using 8-10 reps.
See what’s happening?
Eventually, you’ll be doing sets and reps with your old
At that point, you will definitely be more muscular and your
conditioning will be outrageous.
How could it not be?
You’re now training with your old 10RM. For multiple sets.
How many times per week should you do this program?
Just twice to allow for growth and recovery.
What about Joe’s question about adding Front Squats in?
What if you want to “add in” extra lifts?
No more than one or two lifts per session.
They shouldn’t take anything out of you.
And they should be done BEFORE your C+Js.
2-3 sets of 2-3 reps for grinds. 2-3 sets of 5 reps for ballistics.
Then hit your Clean + Jerks.
Of course, all this assumes that you confidently know how
to Clean + Jerk.
If you don’t, then you need to do what Joe did and learn
by watching the DVDs and reading the book.
You’ll see in real time mistakes and corrections and the
best part is you’ll have a 4-step sequence you can practice
that will not only hone your Jerk technique like a samurai
sharpening his blade, but will give you the samurai’s
patient confidence in no time flat.
P.S. If you’ve never done or spent any real time on the
C+J then DO NOT do this program. Print it out and save it
for the future.
THEN go back to this program.