Strengthen the Jerk

by Roger LaPointe

Roger LaPointe training with the Safety Squat Bar, which are available for sale from Atomic Athletics.

It’s funny. Most people think of the Jerk, as in the second half of the Clean & Jerk, as an arm and shoulder lift. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Power for the jerk, just like the snatch and clean, comes from the hips. However, in addition to learning the technique involved in the jerk, I do see one very common problem that is related to “bodybuilding” concepts. Most athletes would benefit by getting their split lower.

Lowering the Split

Especially for the beginner athlete, there is one exercise that can really help strengthen that low split position and there is one tool that makes it so easy to start adding real weight that it almost feels like cheating. You are going to add in barbell lunges to your routine, but you are going to use your trusty old Safety Squat Bar.

Safety Squat Bars will allow you focus on foot position in the split. This means that you can really work on a long, low split. Sure, you still have to keep a tight core and high chest, etc. For many athletes, especially those new to Olympic lifting, barbell lunges, done for helping the split jerk, makes for too many things to think about controlling all at once.

Try this out. You will also find that if you are over trained for squatting and in the low back, the Safety Squat Bar Lunges can give those areas some much needed rest, while still getting in some much needed work.