When starting to learn the jerk everyone knows the mission, get the bar from point A to point B.
This young lady get from A to Z in my opinion when it comes to jerks but you go ahead and take a look!
It’s a heavy ass bar and you may have already been pushed on a clean to get it there or are simply on your 1000th rep in training. Either way you need to efficiently and effectively get that bar locked out and above your head.
The jerk is hands down, in any variation, my favorite movement to train and it’s no surprise that it is also my favorite to coach. I absolutely love every aspect of it. They are fast and explosive, demand loads of accuracy, and test the athlete mentally and physically at the end of the meet...these things WIN and LOSE meets for athletes!
So anyways, I promised a trick but before that let’s chat about the variations.
There are three jerks I care about and when learning I instruct for my athletes.
1. Power Jerk
2. Push Jerk
3. Split Jerk
The Power jerk I teach for the following reason and is what all athletes that train at 4 Star start with for a few months.
1. It teaches athletes how to move their feet while doing something else.
2. It teaches athletes how to connect leg drive vertically while also getting them to feel and understand how to push against the bar to get under it.
3. It is the safest to fail on...a split puts beginner athletes at risk of having a knee get caught under a bar and this doesn't.
The next step we actually teach our athlete the split variation...yada yada yada not going to go into details...
THEN after they understand the differences between power and split we then with more advanced/educated athletes will start to educate the separation of what the difference is between "Power" and "Push" Jerks.
Many people don't realize there is even a difference and it is usually referred to as even the same thing but there is really a true importance to them.
Why is this? The Push jerk is a variation of the jerk where the athlete actually sets up a touch wider than their driving position used for power or split because the feet will not actually "jump out" horizontally. They then do the same dip and drive for a jerk, because the athlete isn't jumping off the ground they really have to understand what full vertical extension feels like as well as aggressively pushing against the bar to "push" themselves under that bar. This movement can go wrong very fast and athletes if they do it wrong will find themselves falling forward because they are too in their toes the whole time or you see them start to cut their extension in a hope of just "completing the movement". It is a highly effective tool when used correctly but I advise only using with more advanced/educated athletes.
So now that we have discussed the three what the hell is the trick to all 3...?
It’s your setup y'all!
One of the best pieces of information I got as a young coach/athlete was to always ensure my feet were turned out 5-10 degrees in my setup. This "fanned out" setup allows athletes to dip deeper staying flat. This will promote more full leg drive and thus allowing a large and long full extension vertically vs. the opposite which is toes forward. When athletes are toes forward we tend to see athletes go to dip deep and them shift very early into their toes...once that happens we see reduced leg drive as well as forward drives due to the weight shifting forward.
Try it out with your jerks and let me know what you think, I’ve used for years and helped many people improve their jerks just by this simple move.