Jerk 101 & “DT”

Mobilizing the shoulders
Mobilizing the shoulders

JERK 101

low elbow set up
high elbow set up

There are two different schools of thought in elbow positions in the Jerk, the first being a low elbow version where the arms come more in to play and the second being a high elbow (similar to a front rack position) which allows for a bigger base to throw against. I am here to hype the second position where we are no longer relying on the arms but focusing solely on our hip and jumping the weight off our body.

dipping at the hips = bad
dipping at the ankles = erect torso = good

From a coaches perspective one of the most common errors is leaning forward in the dip. The chest is soft and dropping, the entire body coming forward even if ever so slightly which results in a loss of hip and shoulder alignment. When the athlete fails to perform a straight up and down dip they are unable to transfer as much power from the legs and the bar is projected out at an angle instead of in a straight up and back over the body fashion. Jerking with the elbows high promotes a proud chest position, a more erect dip and prevents the athlete from providing pressure on the bar with arms to soon. The athlete is forced to jump the weight up with the much more powerful hip.

2 inch dip = good
to deep

Remember to be patient with the dip (slow and controlled on the way down) and keep it shallow with a quick turn around (like a ball point pen). Tina is demonstrating a great dip in the pic on the left – a 2 inch dip initiated from the ankle and not the hip. With anything more than a 2 inch dip, gravity is going to take over and the weight is going to start taking you in the wrong direction. In the pic on the right, it is going to be hard for Tina to generate any power coming out of the dip because it is so deep.

IMG_6643 IMG_6642

Lastly, the finish. Get your head out of the way and pull yourself under the bar. your head should be inside your arms before you hear your feet hit the floor so you don’t leave the bar out in front. As far as the landing is concerned in the split variety, there should be about 50/50 weight distribution between the feet (you can cheat to the front a tad but don’t overdo it). The bar is line with the shoulder and hip with the glutes and abs turned on. Foot position is not on a tight rope, leave a good foot to two feet between the two of them and make sure you are on the ball of your back foot (the heel should not be down). More stability can be created by pointing the feet slightly toward each other.

That’s all you need to know. No go work that technique and move some weight!

Split Jerk

5 Rounds
12 Deadlifts (155,105)
9 Hang Power Cleans
6 Push Jerks

* Rx version requires push jerks and a pause at the hang for each clean.

Level 3 (135,95)
Level 2 (115,75)
Level 1 (95, 45)


  • Jenna Lamy

    10/22/2013 @ 1:34 am

    Split jerk – 90# (1)
    WOD: 11:50 65#
    Haley warned us about losing grip strength and she was right. By the 4th round I felt like I couldn’t hold the bar.

  • Kendra

    10/22/2013 @ 1:14 am

    rough night…. convincing evidence a detox is needed.
    100#x2 split jerk (105# x 1) – both PRs
    14:12 L2

  • Jason

    10/22/2013 @ 12:09 am

    175# split jerk still dealing with odd wrist issue.
    12:21 L3, wavered between rx and L3 but pain during split jerk convinced me to go L3.
    Thank you SSgt Davis.

  • JBo

    10/21/2013 @ 11:07 pm

    Split Jerk: 175×2 (new 15lb PR on 2-rep max…and even beat my 1-rep max by 5lbs…so I obviously need to find a new 1-rep max!)
    April 2013: Did not finish at L2. At 15:00 time limit I still had 3 hang power cleans and 6 push jerks to do.
    October 2013: 14:45 L2. Very happy to finish under the 15:00 mark this time around!

  • Kelly

    10/21/2013 @ 2:19 pm

    split jerk: 120# x2
    WOD: 14:24 Rx. That was really hard.

  • Chris Wilson

    10/21/2013 @ 12:38 pm

    STR: 175 lb. x 2 (jumped up to 200 lb. and almost hit it – next time)
    WOD:15:33 L3 (not happy with this but its my fault – need a day off after 7 in a row)

  • Marc Piccuirro

    10/21/2013 @ 11:37 am

    530 the strong get stronger.
    215, 225 may have been in the cards but ran out of time.
    First Rx DT for me was painful: 14:51


  • Mike Quigley

    10/21/2013 @ 11:01 am

    Full house this morning at 5:30AM.
    205# split jerk. got 215# for 1.

    WOD 12:38 RX. that was rough all around.

    In honor of USAF SSgt Timothy P. Davis, 28, who was killed on Feburary, 20 2009 supporting operations in OEF when his vehicle was struck by an IED. Timothy is survived by his wife Megan and one-year old son T.J.

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