When coaching the jerk, I find myself continuously saying, “the #1 MOST IMPORTANT thing on the jerk is…..”. I say it about the rack position. I say it about the dip. I say it about the drive!
By the end of the session, my athletes come to the conclusion that I’m a technique nazi and I basically want every single part of the jerk, from start to finish, to be perfect. Which is true, actually.
However, if on this day, October 14th, 2017, I HAD to pick what I believe to be the most important part of the jerk, I would have to say FOOTWORK.
Here are the 5 points of performance we look for when receiving that jerk in the split position:
#1. Weight on the heel of the front foot
#2. Front knee stacked directly over or even slightly behind the ankle.
#3. Torso straight up and down with the strongest midline you’ve ever had.
#4. Back knee SLIGHTLY bent
#5. Back heel off the ground with weight on the ball of foot and heel slightly turned out (to keep hips facing straight).
These points of performance allow for that barbell to be stacked directly over our hips, allowing us to stabilize heavy weight overhead.
What we TEND to see:
#1. Weight on the toe of the front foot
#2. Front knee in front of the ankle.
#3. Torso leaning forward
#4. Back leg straight..creating a pelvic tilt
#5. Back heel on the ground with the heel turned in (creating the hips to turn out)
These mistakes result in athletes chasing the bar forward because they are off balance with the weight sitting heavy on their front quad as opposed to sitting stacked over the hips.
In conclusion, the next time you practice jerks, write out these 5 points on a whiteboard and place it in front of you. Make sure to have a perfect rack position, a perfect dip and an even more perfect drive (because I may decide tomorrow that those are the most important part of the lift), and drive yourself down into your split position.
Take a look at your white board and mentally check off each of the 5 points of performance. Did you hit every single one of them? If not, you’re still a good person, but MAKE THE CORRECTIONS BEFORE YOU RECOVER. Sit in that adjusted position for a few seconds and check in with your body to make sure it REALLY feels where it’s SUPPOSED to be. Then you can recover (with your front foot stepping back first, of course!!!).