OCF Movement Academy: Power Jerk Prep

The Power Jerk is my personal favorite jerk for a couple of reasons

  1. It helps develop a straight drop under the barbell.  Unlike the split jerk, the power jerk is unforgiving.  The better you are at power jerking the better all jerks are. 
  2. It’s more transferable to CrossFit and the sport of fitness.  The inefficiency in foot movement for the split jerk slows you down too much, makes you work harder than you have to complete reps.

There are some downsides to the Power Jerk though 

  1. Because it’s not as forgiving as the split jerk, the power jerk can require more mobility to do well
  2. It favors stronger pushers.  If you are weaker in your upper body we recommend doing some accessory work to strengthen all of the upper body (shoulders, back, chest, arms), but not at the expense of making yourself immobile :). 

Next time you are getting ready for a Clean & Jerk session, have power jerks in your met con, or my personal favorite; an unsexy SLOW skill session :). 

Perform 3-5 reps of each movement. 

Movement #1 – Behind Neck Front Rack Mobility

This is the only non-rep-able movement in our series, so start off with 20-30 seconds for 1-2 sets.

Stand with the barbell behind your neck, full grip on the bar, core and legs tight.  

Take a big breath of air in.  As you exhale rotate your helps up and in as much as possible.  Hold there and try to get the elbows up as high as possible without the fingers slipping off. 

Why do this?

The stronger and more mobile your front rack is the easier it will be to have a secure rack position for the jerk. Also for the barbell to go in it’s proper line you must have your elbows in front of the barbell slightly versus behind it. 

Movement #2 – Strict Press

Have the bar in a secure front rack position with elbows slightly in front of the bar.  The barbell should be pressing up in the upper shoulder and chest.

From there squeeze your glutes and legs.  

Press the barbell up and slightly back. In order to do this properly you will have to move your head out of the way.

We recommend the Pez dispenser.  Lift the chin up and back and keep the bar moving slightly back until the barbell has cleared the head and then return it for the lock out. 

Why do this?

Helps develop a strong front rack and pressing strength.

Teaches how to move head properly. 

Movement #3 – Dip Hold

The dip is where most faults happen in the jerk.  Falling forward, weight not being balanced all contribute to faults in the dip.

Here’s how to do it. 

Bar at the front rack, elbows slightly in front of the bar legs locked and extending. 

From there bend your knees slightly bent (only low enough for you to jump) and hold.

You should feel your feet pushing through the ground evenly. 

The barbell should maintain its position on your neck. 

Why do this? 

As mentioned above the dip is where most faults happen.  The better you get a being stable and balanced here the better the jerk. 

Movement #4 – Push Press 

The push press takes the strict press and the dip hold and combines them. 

Dip slightly then aggressively drive and extend your hips creating force to elevate the barbell from your torso. 

As barbell is elevating press with your arms to ensure a secure lock out.

Why do this? 

It helps teach hip extension. 

Helps teach timing of arm engagement in dynamic lifts. 

Teaching bar path in a dynamic sense. 

Movement #5 – ¼ Overhead Squat. 

The ¼ OHS is the preferred landing position of the Power Jerk. Anything from a ¼ squat to parallel works for a “true” power Jerk

After your last Push Press keep the bar locked out and step out to your catching foot width.  From there press up against the bar, only going as deep as you can keep your posture, and a secure lock out.  From there squat down a ¼ of the way and hold that position. 

Posture and position is king here. You want to feel stable enough to catch a barbell. 

Why do this? 

The more stable, stronger, and comfortable you are in the ¼ OHS you will be catching the bar.  I’ll have the confidence that I can catch anything there or below. 

Movement #6 – Power Jerk

Think of the Power Jerk like this Push Press + Landing in ¼ Overhead Squat + Stand to Finish = Power Jerk.

Perform all of those movements to the points of performance above and you will have one amazing power jerk :). 

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