Jerks can be frustrating to say the least.
I’m sure we have all been there or at least seen it.
We Clean a weight beautifully, it feels amazing, easy in fact and then we annoyingly fluff our jerk and as if in slow motion feel the weight get away from us and leave it in front, failing our lift.
Love them or hate them they are an integral part of the game of Weightlifting, so we can’t ignore them.
We commonly see peoples progress limited by their Jerk and understandably so.
When we start Olympic Lifting we get all caught up in the Snatch and trying to improve each component of it. We pick up the Clean relatively quickly (in comparison to the Snatch) and it becomes the part we can lift the most weight on.
However for some reason a lot of the time we neglect the development of the Jerk which is a highly technical component of the lifts in its own right. One that needs sufficient time spent drilling positions, technique etc.
Heck I as a coach in the past have neglected spending as much time on the Jerk as i should have and then end up having to back track later on as we play catch up with the Clean.
So why do we miss them in front so often and what can we do to improve them?
One big common error we see is a lack of control and a rushing of the dip portion of the jerk.
Weightlifting requires speed, lots of it, however certain parts of the lift require control so that we can then apply speed to the barbell. The dip is one of these.
Not controlling the dip portion of the Jerk can cause a few things to happen.
1 – Moving the bar away from the base of support.
This basically means if we dip too fast the weight of the bar is likely to shift forward away from the base of support. As we subsequently drive, the bar is pressed away from us – causing us to miss the lift in front
Note – Base of Support is defined as – The area beneath a person that includes every point of contact with the supporting surface.
2 – Dropping the Elbows.
The elbows dropping or changing position during the dip is a common error we see and usually comes as a result of rushing the dip portion of the Jerk. By the elbow position altering during the dip we are compromising the amount of force we can place through the bar with the legs leading to a missed lift.
So how do we drill this control of the dip and stop ourselves missing Jerks?
One of our first exercises we would use to address this is a Jerk with a pause in the dip. This is a great way to reinforce controlling the dip. The pause emphasises keeping the bar over the base of the support and keeping the elbows dead still.
If you’re guilty for rushing your dip keep this really light and use it as a primer before any heavy Jerk work.
Power Jerks would be another exercise to include within your program to help fix this.
There is much less margin for error with these so keeping the elbows still and weight through the base of the support and in the mid foot is key!
Give these a try a few times a week for a few weeks and your Jerks will thank you.
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