The Jerk: Scapular Protraction To Retraction

There’s often confusion in the jerk with regard to the shoulder blade position, so let’s clear that up because it’s actually really simple.
When overhead in the jerk, just like with any overhead lift, we want the shoulder blades retracted forcefully along with upward rotation.
However, in the rack position during the dip and drive, we can’t have them retracted or the bar would have nothing to support it but the arms—we need them protracted: pushed forward.
This and when receiving the clean are the only times in weightlifting that we want the shoulders in this position, but it’s critical to create a secure connection of the bar to the legs.
Once the bar is off the shoulders in the drive, the pushing motion with the arms needs to include retraction of the shoulder blades to fix the proper overhead position. This will happen naturally at the right time if you simply put the bar in the right place overhead—it’s not something you should have to consciously control.
If you want to practice, it’s an easy motion to feel with presses starting from your full jerk rack position.

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