How To Strengthen A Weak Split For The Jerk

If you’re weak and uncomfortable in the proper split position, no matter how well you understand it and know how to get into it with little or no weight, your body will not put itself into that position under significant loading.

There are a lot of effective exercises for strengthening the split position, but I’ll narrow it down to one choice that’s accessible to any level of lifter, and covers every fundamental aspect of the jerk receiving position: the push jerk behind the neck in split.

With a bar behind your neck in a jerk-width grip, step into the correct split position. The most important points are:

Front knee above or slightly behind the ankle—never in front.

Hips under the bar.

Back heel off the floor and turned out to the side to align the back foot with the lower leg.

Balls of the back foot in contact with the floor, not just the toes.

Back knee behind the hips.

Weight balanced approximately equally between the two feet.

After setting this position and ensuring proper balance, dip straight down by bending both knees, drive straight up to elevate the bar, then push straight back down into the original split depth to lock the bar out overhead.

The goal is for the hips and bar to move perfectly vertically and for the balance to never shift from its original 50/50 split. Hold each rep overhead for 3 seconds after adjusting for any mistakes in positioning.

This exercise can be loaded pretty heavily eventually, but never exceed a weight that allows proper execution—that will not only not help the problem, it will make it worse.

You can do a few light sets of 3-5 reps as part of your warm-up for any split jerk workout, and add in 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps at heavier weights 1-2 days/week toward the end of your workouts.

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