I feel like the jerk is the forgotten lift. The snatch is much sexier and most CrossFitters will just try to push press a heavy weight over head unless they have extensively worked on their jerk. It seems like the jerk is often neglected during skill practice. It’s the strongest lift when putting heavy weight over your head so it deserves your attention. Check out the different styles below and figure out which is best for you.
This the one you’ll most often use in your WODs. The feet stay directly underneath the hips so it is the easiest version to use when you’re trying to go as fast as possible. However, if you’re trying to go for big weight then keep reading.
This is often mistaken with the push jerk, however it is slightly different. In the power jerk the feet move out to the squat stance when landing to provide a more stable base when using larger loads.
This is by far the most strongest and most stable style of jerk. It’s also the most commonly used style when going for max weight. The split position provides stability on two different planes, while the power jerk utilizes only one. It is however the trickiest to learn due to the placement of the feet. It may take a while for you learn to put your feet in the same place every time, so make sure you drill it regularly.
Bonus: Squat Jerk
This is the rarest of all the jerk styles and the Pegasus, if you will, of upper body mobility. The position that reportedly haunts Kelly Starrett. This type of jerk requires enormous shoulder flexibility. If you can do a shoulder pass through and an overhead squat using your clean grip, this might be for you. Compared to the split jerk it requires less foot movement so it might be easier in that sense. You don’t have a foot in front of you anymore though, so any movement of the bar forwards or backwards and you’ll lose the lift.
Remember to practice your jerk regularly, especially if you’re doing the split and working that foot positioning. Watch the first video below if you’re not sure where they go. Watch the second video for some mobility tips to improve your squat jerk. Have fun!