Why: The jerk develops power and speed by aggressively moving a load from shoulder to overhead. You can either perform the split jerk (where your feet land in a split position) or a push jerk (where your feet land underneath you in a partial squat). Both weightlifting movements (along with the snatch and clean) help you become a more powerful, faster athlete.
Set-Up: Start with your feet at a hip-width stance. Place your hands on the barbell just outside your shoulders. Bring the barbell to the front rack position with your elbows just slightly in front of the bar. Get a full grip on the bar. Brace your core.
Execution: Bend your knees to initiate the dip. Your torso should dip straight down. Extend your knees and hips rapidly, and then press under the bar. For a push jerk, receive the bar in a partial squat. For a split jerk, receive the bar in a split position. Keep your heels down until your hips and legs have reached full extension. The barbell should be over your center of gravity. To complete the push jerk, stand up and finish at full hip, knee, and arm extension. To complete the split jerk, bring your feet together, one at a time, and finish at full hip, knee, and arm extension.
Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– The bar starts in the front rack position with your elbows slightly in front of the bar
– You dip and drive only once to get the barbell overhead (no re-dip)
– Your hips, knees, and arms lock out overhead with the barbell over the middle of your feet
Pro-Tip: Think of the dip in the jerk as a mini front squat. A sizable dip (with an upright torso) means you’re building up more power to jerk the bar overhead. It’s like those pull-back toy cars you had when you were a kid: the farther back you pull the car, the more juice it has to “drive.”