Video Article

CrossFit workouts emphasize high-skill movements (relative to isolation and/or machine-based movements) because they are, in almost every respect, better vehicles for optimizing fitness--for achieving CrossFit's mission of increasing work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

In this lecture from a recent CrossFit certification seminar, Greg Glassman looks at the differences among the shoulder press, push press, and push jerk and compares them to the differences between strict and kipping pull-ups. The advantage of the "better" (more dynamic) movements, he explains, lies in the power they express. They are consistently farther along the almost every continuum that matters: athleticism, power, intensity, skill, and utility.

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6 Comments on “Better Movements: The Jerk and Kipping Pull-up”


wrote …

Only one note on this: Coach mentions that integrating the Power curve gives total work. I don't believe that is correct. The integration of the power curve is energy, if I'm not mistaken. Power / time = energy. Differentiating the Power curve will yield the work curve.


Adam Kayce wrote …

My question is this: in the CF Strength Bias program (as I understand it, at least), and other strength-focused articles, there seems to be an emphasis on the Press as the main overhead/pressing movement. Yet, in this explanation by Coach Glassman—which makes perfect sense to me—he speaks of the Jerk as being much more advantageous in all ways.

So, for those of us looking to develop strength, wouldn't it be a good idea to focus more on the Push Jerk than the Press?

Any thoughts on this?


wrote …

Brian I think you are mistaken Power = Work / time, when you integrate your actually multiplying the equation by time so (work/ time)*time = work, a good example is integrating an acceleration curve (acceleration = m/s^2) we get velocity in m/s, meaning we multiplied by time.


replied to comment from Adam Kayce

Hey Adam,

My thinking is that the PP has a higher/greater cycle time with regards to metcon, and with strength development I believe that the PJ is more greatly a skill orientated movement.

I have great PJ/SJ at my gym but get onto Push Press where they've not been exposed to the strength aspect of the lift and they struggle more...

I think PP wins( as well as good skill crossover with Strict press and jerk.)


wrote …

The press WORKS the shoulders and triceps through a longer range. (I know they move through roughly identical range in both movements but their contribution is quite different). The push jerk loads them up more, since you can obviously lift more but they are really only being worked in an isometric way as you stabilize the load overhead when you stand up after 'squatting' under. The upward drive is almost all hips and legs with your torso transfering the force and your shoulders and arms pushing you under after you dip drive.

My press has gotten stronger just from jerking since I switched from something like starting strength to exclusively olympic lifting. The increased strength is mostly closer to the lockout as you'd expect and I'm sure I'd be a better presser if I'd just kept pressing but then I wouldn't have aquired this handy new vertical leap (for which i suspect the jerk to be largely responsible). Just jerking is hard on the shoulders because of all the load, they don't feel as stable/healthy as they did when I was pressing regularly. And also sometimes its handy to program an exersize that doesnt use your whole body (i know ur legs are still part of a press but not to the same extent), because of how taxing exersizes can be on energy systems and the nervouse system. For a strength bias I'd stick with press since jerk is much more a power move than strength, but hey this is crossfit, do both.

In pure strength terms the bench press shouldn't be ignored either it probably deserves a balanced inclusion in a strength bias program, less functional but it builds more strength. These exersizes all help or at least compliment each other. think about ur goals, learn where your weeknesses are, dont worry about whats officially in or out of the program


replied to comment from Brian Stone

Work and energy have the same units (joules or calories) so they are sometimes mistakenly interchanged, although I think Glassman does mean work (force * distance).

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