Some quick fixes for the Split Jerk

The Split Jerk is the Shoulder to Overhead variation that allows us to move the heaviest load. It is a fun movement that most people enjoy to practice.

Recently, a coach told me the following: "The difference between a weightlifter and a CrossFitter: The weightlifter will never fail the Jerk. What they can clean, they can also bring over head. But CrossFitter do the Clean with ease and then miss the Jerk." Time to change that.


Jerk Dip.jpg

The Set up & Dip

As for every lift, the right set up is crucial for a successful rep. For the Split Jerk, the following points are to consider:

  • Have the ellbows low und twist them out to the side, but only so far that they are still in front of the bar. This gives you the best leverage to press up. Depending on your proportions and frontrack mobility, you might need to grip much wider than shoulder with.
  • Keep the spine straight but do not arche your back.
  • Take a deep breath and keep the core tight - otherwise, the weight will just push you down.
  • Small dip with the legs. Small! It is not about the depth, but about the speed of the extension.
  • Dont change the angle between your arm und upper body (don´t let the ellbows drop).
  • Keep the upper body upright.


Jerk Pull under.jpg

The drive

A Jerk is not a Press - we want to minimize the pressing acting and work with our whole body instead of letting our tiny shoulder and triceps do all the work.

  • After you dip, extent ankles, knees and the hip fast, By this, the bar will come off your shoulder, being weightless for a split second.
  • While the bar is in the air, pull yourself under it as fast as possible. By this, you shorten the bar path which allows you to move more weight.
  • The upper body still stais in the same position!


Jerk receiving.jpg

The Receiving & Split

The Split Jerk is named after the split position of the legs when receiving the bar. There is a lot of things that can go wrong about this splt. Pay attention to the following points:

  • Go as fast as possible into the split - do not jump with the bar, it is not about lifting your feed high! Think more about extending ankles, knees and hips and then reset your feet, flat above the floor.
  • Most right handed people like to have the (stronger) left leg in front, and the over way around. Weightlifting coaches recomment to change the front leg regularly and learn the jerk both ways in order to prevent imbalances.
  • The front food toes point straight forward. The whole food is flat on the ground. 
  • The back food lands with the toes on the ground only. 
  • The back leg is soft so it can absorb the barbells force.
  • The upper body is still upright - it literally hasn´t moved all the time.
  • The moment your feed and, the arms lock out. No pressing action!
  • Stabilize the weight overhead before closing your feed.
  • Front food back first, then close with the back leg.