May 01, 2007
In the first of a four part series, Coach Mike Burgener of Mike’s Gym begins a detailed discussion of the jerk: how to learn it, how to master it and how to teach it.
The jerk moves the barbell from the shoulders to a locked-arm position overhead in a single explosive movement. The barbell is driven off the shoulders with a violent dip-drive. In the split second that the upward drive of the hips and shoulders makes the barbell weightless, the athlete drives the body down with the arms until the bar is locked out solidly overhead. The finished position can be in a split position or in a squat position.
The athlete begins with the feet in the jumping position and explodes upward to create maximum drive on the barbell. Once maximum upward momentum has been placed on the barbell, the lifter immediately drives the body down into the receiving position.
Timing, change of direction, stability, strength, and flexibility are all needed to handle the massive weights that the jerk makes it possible to get overhead.
Teaching the jerk is fun and creative, and I have found that athletes love the challenge of lifting heavy weights overhead. The skill transfer exercises described in the photos and video that accompany this article are used to prepare the athlete for the challenge of the push jerk.
Other articles in this series:
Teaching The Jerk, Part 2 discusses receiving the bar overhead in the split landing position