There has been a lot of misunderstanding of the Jerk technique. What I have seen so far is that you all have a great understanding of the push press and have become very comfortable with that lift. However, it seems that most of you are hitting a wall, with the Jerk, when it comes to dropping below the weight and locking out your arms (THE CATCH). I have also seen that the third major part of the lift, the recovery (THE STAND), causing some problems in reaching your full potential as well. Both the CATCH and the STAND can make or break the lift.
The push press is a great lift that allows us to build up the correct placement of the bar over head with more control and less movement. Meaning it is not as complicated as the Jerk. In the push press and Jerk we are using the “DIP-DRIVE,” as the initial power in the lift. However, when executing the push press there is no commitment needed from the athlete to drop below the weight to get the bar over head. This is because we are relying on our Traps, Shoulders, Arms, Core, and Legs to lift the weight over head. The coaches have seen all of your push press weights increase over the past months. This means that all of you are getting stronger, as well as, gaining a better understanding of the lift and technique. This in turn has made you comfortable with the push press. Now let’s do the same for the Jerk.
When we take the “DIP-DRIVE,” and throw a “CATCH-STAND” into the mix our minds think that we still have to use our shoulders to press the weight over head……this is in fact wrong. If we press the weight over head we have eliminated the CATCH all together. Although the shoulders help; they play a small part in the Jerk. It’s our LEGS and HIPS that do the most work. Our LEGS and HIPS push (or in a way press) the weight high enough to allow us to, basically, FALL into a lunge as we straighten our arms. This is the “CATCH.” Once you have executed the “DIP-DRIVE,” the bar should be off and above your traps. At this point the bar will be weightless. Then you will have to commit to DROPPING into the lunge as you straighten your arms to catch the weight. This is going to take practice. So, start with light weight and really focus on the “CATCH.” (It is great to PR but you don’t have to every time. Working the techniques will help you PR more often.)
The last part of the lift is the “STAND” or recovery. The recovery is just as important as the catch; because the lift is not complete until you stand straight up with the bar controlled above your head. To do this we want to bring our FRONT foot back toward us about 6-12 inches depending on your height. Then we bring our BACK foot forward to be even with our front foot. Then your lift is complete!
I hope that after reading this article you have come to understand that the weight is not being pressed up in the jerk. It’s you dropping into a lunge as you straighten out your arms under the weight. Understanding this will allow you to increase your weight, reps and your PR’s! Also keep in mind that if there is ever any question in your mind regarding position or execution, grab a coach and ask away! We want to see you succeed!