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Exhaustive (exhausting?) notes from our Split Jerk Seminar

Home/CrossFit Ktown Knoxville/Exhaustive (exhausting?) notes from our Split Jerk Seminar

Exhaustive (exhausting?) notes from our Split Jerk Seminar

Jerk seminar ftw!

Jerk seminar ftw!

CFKT Jerk Seminar for the CrossFitters of Knoxville Seminar Series

  1. Philosophy of jerk
    1. Split jerk vs power jerk vs squat jerk
      1. Split jerk offers the ability to drop low into a solid base without requiring a lot of extra flexibility, mobility, and stability. This should make it the default jerk of MOST lifters.
      2. Power jerk is an important tool to have in the athlete’s toolbox for training and CF purposes. However, this style of jerk requires more power, more flexibility to catch lower, and oftentimes limits the weight that can be lifted.
      3. Squat jerk is the jerk requiring the most extremes in position, flexibility, and stability. It is an excellent jerk for very mobile, long-torso athletes. However, very few athletes can achieve the positions required to be successful with it. That said, it is another great tool to have in the athlete’s toolbox as it can be used as a forced-mobility tool.
    2. The jerk is a sequence of events, and if any piece of the sequence is incorrect the remainder of the sequence will be less than ideal. It is paramount to teach, practice, and apply this sequence when training the jerk. For us, the sequence is setup, dip, drive, punch, and recover. This is how we will organize this seminar.
  2. Setup
    1. Rack position
      1. The first criterion to meet is the bar needs to sit on the shoulders across the collarbones. The jerk is a violent dip and drive up into the bar, and the only way to impart this power efficiently is to have the bar seated squarely on the torso.
      2. The next criterion to meet is the bar then must be in the palm of the hands as much as possible without compromising the rack position on the shoulders. Taking the elbows out and down helps seat the bar in an effective rack position.
      3. Elbows should be as low and wide as possible while maintaining criteria one and two as well as tension through the shoulder complex – especially external rotation forces of the humerus.
    2. Body position
      1. The weight needs to be in back middle of the foot. Big toes should be down on the floor. Knees and hips should be extended. Pelvis is welded into lumbar spine, which is welded into an extended thoracic spine. Head should be pulled back by “giving the athlete a double chin.”
      2. The taller an athlete the more important the vertical angle of standing position. Having the weight too far forward in the feet will result in a forward bar path in the dip and subsequently the drive.
      3. Finally, the athlete should feel connected to the bar both through the torso and rack position but also the hands, arms, and shoulders. Tension should be farmed. We cannot reap what we do not sow.
  1. Dip
    1. The dip for a jerk is akin to the first pull of a snatch or clean. It does not need to be fast to be effective. It actually needs not to be fast as the athlete must change direction with the heavy barbell. Speed on the dip creates undue momentum in the exact opposite direction we want to eventually move the bar. So think of your dip tempo as that of a heavy squat. Think controlled. Do not think fast. Do not think slow. Position is power.
    2. The dip initiates with the hips (pelvis) moving straight down in between femurs that are being pushed out wide via hip external rotation. The athlete must farm tension at the hip to be an effective lifter. This tension is farmed through driving the knees out. The pelvis moves straight down which allows the torso to remain completely vertical. A vertical torso allows the bar path to be straight. The dip is not hips back. The dip is not hips forward. The dip is straight down, knees wide, feet flat, and chest up.
    3. The depth of the dip is different from athlete to athlete. The only rule here is depth of dip should be wherever you generate the most power. If position is power and a deeper dip takes you out of position, you have dipped too deeply. A couple of inches are all you need. It is difficult to give a hard and fast rule that applies to all athletes here, instead I will use Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s quote on hard-core pornography: “I know it when I see it.”
  2. Drive
    1. The drive up against the bar is an action of the hips, knees, and ankles. The drive is an exact reversal of the dip. The athlete must extend the hips and knees aggressively while maintaining an upright torso and vertical bar path. Any deviation of the bar path from vertical here will be inefficient and result in a worse position and subsequently less weight moved.
    2. It is important to understand conceptually that the drive has nothing at all to do with the arms or shoulders. The arms and shoulders should be maintaining their “ready” position with tension into the bar, but they are not driving the bar up in the slightest.
    3. You cannot “over-jump” a heavy jerk. All that will happen is the bar will be driven higher. Athletes must learn to reach peak tension in their glutes, hamstrings, and quads for this drive up.
  3. Punch
    1. The upward travel of the bar is achieved by having the correct setup, affecting a proper dip, and finishing with a powerful drive. The bar is now weightless as it expends its upward momentum. It is during this fraction of time that the athlete must punch his or herself underneath the bar. The arms, therefore, are not pushing the bar up. This is crucial for the athlete to understand to be effective in weightlifting. The arms punch the athlete down; they do not drive the bar up.
    2. Upon reaching extension from the drive the athlete must then push into the barbell. Respect the sequence here. Do not push into the bar early. Be patient and wait for the full extension of hips and knees to happen. Then and only then does the athlete push into the barbell.
    3. The punch is termed a punch because it should be violent and aggressive. This punch pushes the athlete down underneath the barbell as it is heading up.
    4. As the punch under is happening the feet should be splitting into position (or moving out in the power and squat jerk). Front knee should end up directly over or slightly behind the front ankle, and both foot and knee should be pointed forward. Back knee should be bent and pointed towards the floor. Back foot should be flexed, and the laces of said foot should be pointed forward. If the athlete were to be wearing a conventional belt, the belt buckle should be pointed directly forward.
    5. A split stance IS NOT in a straight line. The athlete should not be jerking on a tight rope. Imagine the athlete standing in the middle of a large analog clock. Left foot forward lifters should split left foot to 11 o’clock and right foot to 5 o’clock. Right foot forward lifters should split right foot forward to 1 o’clock and left foot to 7 o’clock.
    6. The split catch is an active position. Front leg should be engaged and actively pushed into floor. Rear leg should also be engaged and actively pushed into floor.
    7. Finally, the entire lower body should act as a shock when catching the weight overhead. A shock (like on a car) compresses when it is weighted. The athlete should be ready to slightly sink under the weight when the barbell’s upward momentum is expended and subsequently is headed back down to earth. Trying to catch in a full rigid position will often result in the barbell being caught and moved forward.
  4. Recover
    1. Recovery from a split position should always be front foot back half way, and then the back foot would come forward to meet the front foot. If the athlete is bringing her back foot forward first, she is likely catching the weight predominantly on her front leg. This denotes an error somewhere in the jerk (likely improper dip or jumping back in the punch). Front foot recovery should be simple because the athlete lands with weight spread evenly between front and back leg.
    2. Continue to press up into the barbell while you recover. Too many misses happen after the initial catch in the split. The lift isn’t over!
  5. Diagnosing common faults
    1. Missing the jerk in front
      1. Missing the jerk in front stems from two common faults.
        1. The first fault to look at is setup, dip, and drive. If the athlete is setup too far forward in the setup or dips slightly forward, she will have no where to go in the drive but forward. This will result in the barbell landing forward of the athlete’s center of mass. At heavy enough weights this becomes an impossible to save lift.
        2. The other common fault for missing a jerk forward is the athlete jumping backward in the punch. This often happens when an athlete does not have the confidence to catch the weight overhead. The easy out is to jump back and lament that she missed the weight in front for whatever reason. The reason here is that she dipped straight, drove straight, and the bar went up in a straight line, but she jumped backward putting her center of mass behind the barbell. This becomes a lift impossible to save.
    2. Split stance being too short
      1. There is only a fraction of a second after the drive that the bar is “weightless” and allows the athlete to split into position. If the athlete wastes some of that time by pushing the bar up with the arms then the feet will remain planted too long. If the feet are planted for too long then the punch under will not have enough time to get into a big split. The athlete must disassociate the upward drive of the barbell with her arms. It happens from the drive of the legs. The arms are meant to push the athlete down under the barbell.
    3. Bar crashing onto athlete in split position
      1. The athlete must remain connected to the barbell throughout the dip, drive, punch, and recovery. If the barbell is crashing on the athlete in the catch or split, she is not pushing herself down from the barbell. She is instead using her legs and hip flexors to pull herself down into the catch. This is not wrong but merely half right. She needs to use her legs and hip flexors, but she must ALSO use her arms to push herself down. This insures she splits to the appropriate height to receive the weight in a solid position. The athlete and barbell systems must remain connected through the lift.
    4. Pain in the lower back after split jerks
      1. The most common error we see with athletes experiencing pain in their lower backs after split jerks is caused by a straight back leg in the split. A straight back leg will put undue tension on the hip flexor which will in turn anteriorly rotate the pelvis in the catch position. An anteriorly rotated pelvis then puts undue stress on the lumbar spine by “scrunching it up.” This puts the lumbar into an overextended position which is poor for performance and safety when loaded. The fix here is to bend the back knee. Bending the back knee takes tension off the rectus femoris (hip flexor).
    5. Short front foot
      1. If an athlete is consistently landing with front knee going past front ankle, she is obviously shortening her split stance too much. One of the most common faults when this happens is an improper landing sequence of the front foot. The front foot should land heel and then toe (or ball of the foot). This keeps the ball of the foot up and away from the ground longer allowing the foot to travel further from the center of mass. This also loads the arches of the foot in the correct, progressive manner.

If you have any questions about your weightlifting, please feel free to contact us at info@crossfitktown.com.

Coach G

By | 2017-04-25T14:38:01+00:00 February 14th, 2017|CrossFit Ktown Knoxville|0 Comments

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