What could be the Problem in Your Jerk and How to Fix it?
There are a number of reasons people have trouble with the Jerk. It seems like everybody hates the Jerk. It seems so simple, but it difficult at the same time. Even the best lifters struggle with this lift and we see it time and time again. Lifters have an easy Clean and then blow it on the Jerk for some reason.
Greg Everett was able to nicely break down Jerk strengths into 4 different categories, leg drive, leg strength in the receiving position, shoulder strength in receiving position, and Upper body drive to get the bar up and to press under. I think these adequately show the different strengths required to make a jerk happen effectively.
Here is the issue, how do you know which one of these 4 strength categories is your weakness? Is there a magic ruler that can measure which one is your problem? Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.
Here are some simple ways to determine which is your problem:
- WHen the weight feels heavy off your shoulders in the dip and drive, it is likely leg drive strength that is your issue in the Jerk.
- If the weight is easy off your shoulders in the drive, but you struggle to lock out in your split of catch position, it is likely shoulder strength is an issue.
- When you are able to lock out the lift, but have trouble holding it there during the recovery phase of the jerk it is likely you have issues in overhead strength and stability.
- If you find the weight feels heavy in general and you have trouble standing up and moving your feet during the recovery phase, you likely have issues with leg strength in the receiving position.
These can be remedied several ways. We will discuss number 1 first. Leg drive strength is one of the most simple movements to strengthen. Overloading with heavy jerk dips, jerk drives, both with or without pauses in the dip position can strengthen this weakness quickly.
The weakness described in the second example is one I often find is neglected. The obvious answer is the Push press. We are able to load more weight on the bar and use our legs to drive the bar up and finish with our shoulders. Although this does seem to be a good answer, this does not completely solve our issue of shoulder strength in the jerk. One of the best solutions I have found for this particular weakness is half rep shoulder presses. Once again this allows us to put a little more weight on the bar and we are able to focus the exercise on the exact range of motion that is giving us problems in the jerk.
In number 3, we see that the lifter has trouble stabilizing the bar overhead after the lock out. This is weakness in the athlete’s shoulder stabilizer muscles and should be strengthened through time under tension and light bodybuilding exercises. Movements like Jerk recoveries and Overhead Kettlebell or Barbell walks will accomplish the time under tension while exercises like lateral raises, front raises, Z Presses, and even the Crossover Symmetry type exercises will strengthen those stabilizer muscles.
In the last instance we see leg strength in the catch position is an issue, although this may be due too technique, like all of them, simple leg strength and positional strength will help to solve this issue.
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