CJ Cummings Makes a 170kg Squat Jerk Look Easy

In what the caption calls a “fun day” of training, CJ Cummings has pulled off a clean and squat jerk of 170 kilograms, or 374.8 pounds. The -69kg athlete manages the lift after a couple of clean and squat jerks at a slightly lower weight. Take a look in the clip below (the 170kg lift comes at the end).

[Cummings has some of the most demanding training we’ve ever seen. Watch his 5-rep set of 200kg front squats from this summer here.]

While some weightlifters like to perform clean & squat jerks when they’re competing — Lu Xiaojun and Kendrick Farris comes to mind — it’s fairly unusual to see them on the stage.

So if Cummings only ever uses a split jerk when he competes, why is he training the lift? Some athletes find that squat jerks are more demanding as an overhead strength and stability exercise, and they can lead to enhanced quadriceps function and greater activation in the transverse abdominal muscles. It also requires less elevation of the bar, owing to the very low receiving position. They’re not for everyone — they’re probably most useful for people with long torsos and short limbs — but in certain cases, they may improve proficiency at the split jerk itself.

[For a more in-depth breakdown of the differences between the split, squat, and power jerk, check out this breakdown from California Strength’s Dave Spitz.] 

Cummings really values quad strength, and told BarBend in an interview last year that he literally never back squats, as they bother his knees. 

The heaviest clean & jerk we’ve seen from CJ Cummings thus far was the 185kg (407.8lb) lift he made at this year’s IWF Youth World Weightlifting Championships. He tried for a 186kg lift at the 2017 Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Tokyo, Japan, but it was not to be.

But if he keeps training as hard as he has been, we’re confident he’ll keep breaking his own records.

Featured image via @teambeaufort_weightlifting on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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