While it may look pretty straightforward, the split jerk is one of the most technical lifts in all of sport.

Today, we are going to talk about foot work.   The problem with the feet in the jerk comes with how most people view the lift.

“The weight must go overhead so therefore I must PRESS the bar overhead as hard and as high as I can.”

If we view the jerk in this manner, we are not understanding the lift correctly.  Instead of pressing the bar with the ARMS as high as we can, think about driving the bar up with the LEGS.   We use the legs to force the bar up, making it weightless for a few blinks of the eye.  With the bar weightless, we use our arms to push our body’s DOWN and UNDER the bar.

If we understand the movement in this manner, we now see how getting under the bar quicker becomes even more important.

This is why developing good footwork is essential.

If we look at the first part of the video we see that as the jerk is performed, the back leg remains straight.  The problem with this is that we have to push the bar much higher to receive it properly.  When weight starts getting heavy, the chances of completing a successful jerk are reduced.

So how do we fix it?

  1.  Draw an “x” on the floor.  This will represent where you start and finish each jerk.
  2. Step out with your lead leg so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Step back with a bent back leg so that your thigh is nearly perpendicular to the floor.
  4. With a piece of chalk, mark out the front and back foot positions.
  5. Without a bar, practice your jerk footwork.  Try to hit each of those marks.
    1. When splitting, the back foot should hit the floor first.  This will help you be able to step your hips and chest in front of the bar, optimizing the receiving position.
  6. Once you feel confident practicing just the feet, add a bar and repeat, aiming to hit those respective targets each time.

The jerk is a crazy technical lift, but by practicing this little drill you will start to see some improvements in your technique!

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