3 Pivotal Components to Land Your Split Jerk

November 04, 2015

Photo courtesy of Catalyst Athletics

The Split Jerk can be such a jerk especially when they are being a bit forward if you get drift. It is the worst when you are about to lock out then all of sudden before you know it the bar is coming down in front of you and you’ve missed the jerk completely.

Meet Drew Dillon

Drew Dillonpersonal coach to 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold, highlights this problem by breaking down the three biggest components along with suggesting the best way to fix it. I got to speak with Drew about this video and ask questions that should help anyone from beginner to competitor level.

Get the Right Gear

Put the right gear on before putting in the work. You have your wrist wraps, knee sleeves, belt and OLY shoes right? Are OLY shoes a must? Here is what Drew had to say, “I feel Oly shoes are a must when learning technique and proper positions. They're a tool, but sadly some new lifters feel they're a crutch. They're wrong. Oly shoes allow us a solid foundation to the floor. No squish. No give. This is vital as all the small stabilizing muscles are trying to figure out how and when to fire. Weightlifting shoes also provide us some added mobility due to the added heel. This provides an opportunity for a new athlete to start to feel the correct position without fighting (due to mobility) to get into position. This is vital. If you've never felt where you should be without the use of a tool how do you know where to go? As mobility is gained through training you'll more than likely be able to hit these positions without shoes. Using shoes will not prevent you from gaining this mobility. So use a weightlifting shoe during learning and technique training.”


 #1 The Start Position- You are in a good jerk rack position, bar on your shoulders elbows down and out. The obvious things that we know as athletes to prepare before going into a split jerk. There can be a lot going on at once but Drew touches on 3 key points while you are in the start position that we may forget to really focus on. 

  1. Lock Legs - make sure you are bone on bone so your bones are supporting the mass not your muscles otherwise you just exhausting waste energy
  2. Bar on Shoulders - the weight is on you not your arms
  3. Weight Back - think about being back on your heels

#2 Bracing- Set yourself up success every time! wear a belt especially if you are going heavy. Then remember to breathe into the belly 360 degrees all around your belt thus creating intra-abdominal pressure. Okay! Great….I think? I’m not going to lie I didn’t understand this because I have always been under the assumption that I had to suck it in and keep it tight so I asked Drew for clarification?  He says, “Image wearing a weightlifting belt and breathing into the belt on all sides (front, sides and back). So you're not just pushing your stomach into it, but as you inhale your core is expanding into the belt 360 degrees. You'll find to do this you can't just breathe into your chest and get skinny. Which is what many athletes do.”

In the “bad brace” demonstration where Shane misses the jerk as he is coming forward because he has a weak brace and the weight is scrunching him down as he is trying to change direction on the drive. This means less power into the bar. When Shane has a “good brace” this allows him to drive straight up without letting the bar push forward.

#3 Weight Balance- Remember to stay back on the heels, do not get pulled forward when you dip and drive. Then get the back foot down first and fast! You need to practice this footwork drill, which Drew says, “it’s a super drill that is probably undervalued but it shouldn’t be” so give this a go!

 Clear Your Mind

The final piece to the puzzle as Drew explains... “There is one key thing you must do before initiating the jerk. Clear your mind! You can not be thinking about all of the cues during the movement itself. So here is an example of what you should do for a given issue. Say your dip and drive it off... prior to the lift think about finding your heel and staying back... even go through the movement without the bar. Then clear your mind and execute the lift. After the lift review with either a video or a friend who watched it. We must have our mind clear because if we slow down or mess up the timing of the lift because we're trying to think about each piece... we're getting no work done at all.”  Therefore, if you can remember to not remember then you are going to land that split jerk with ease.

Tell me; what has been your biggest challenge with the split jerk and how did you overcome it?

This is a guest post from Linda Hong (featuring Drew Dillon), CF-L1 Certified and WOD Nation Team Leader. You can always expect to hear back from Linda about any inquires on WOD Nation gear. She is usually traveling around the globe so catch her if you can! For more Linda, you can follow her on Instagram or email support@wodnationgear.com

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