How To Do Jerk (Split Jerk)

Jerk Exercise

Jerk is an explosive exercise that builds your quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles.

It also brings the core muscles into play throughout the exercise in order to stabilise the upper body and support the lower back.

A tight core is very important at the top position when the bar is held overhead.

You need to stabilise the upper body in order to maintain balance and keep the bar in the right position.

Jerk develops strength, power, speed, coordination and balance.

Jerk Progression & Mobility

  • Take a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder width on a barbell set on a Power Rack. Keep your hands open, elbows high and parallel to the floor. The bar must be sitting on your shoulders, near your throat.
  • Take two steps back. Position your feet shoulder width apart, slightly angled outward. Hands must remain open and elbows high and parallel to the floor. Bar should be in line with your hips and heels.
  • Dip and drive to unload bar from your shoulders. Dip by moving your knees forward while keeping your hips in line with your shoulders.
  • Drive by pushing your heels hard on the floor.
  • Complete the drive by doing a “split” which is like jumping lunge motion. The right leg lunges forward while the left leg springs backward and the momentum throws the bar off your shoulders and over your head. The split allows you to drive the bar harder upward while going underneath it without losing balance.
  • At the finished position of the Split, the right knee must not go over the right toe, right shin is vertical and the hips remain higher than the knee. The left knee remains bent and the heel is raised.
  • Complete the exercise by standing up and maintaining a shoulder width position; arms remain fully extended and the elbow joints fully locked out.
  • Bring the bar down to your chest by doing a dip in order to safely catch the weight on your shoulders.
  • Repeat the exercise until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Faults, Form and Technique

Setting the weight on your shoulders with your elbows pointing down will pull you forward as you try to Jerk the weight up.

When you muscle up the bar, you essentially break the exercise into two: a press and a lunge.

The exercise will be more difficult because you stop momentum from driving the bar up and instead use your shoulder muscles to press the weight up.

Another common fault is dipping too low almost like a front squat.

This pushes your hips far back and will push you forward at the execution of the Jerk.

Variations: Clean and Jerk, Push Jerk