Split Jerk - Position #3 - The Catch


  1. Footwork

  2. Alignment: Bar is directly over shoulder blades and hips, with the head inside.

  3. Timing: the elbows lock out at the same instant when the front foot hits the platform.



The first thing is to figure out if you prefer to split with the right or left leg forward. Figure out what feels more comfortable and then stick with it. You won’t be doing half of your reps on the left, and half on the right. Stick with your preferred alignment for consistency’s sake.

-feet about shoulder width [PHOTO: jerk stance: too wide, good, too narrow]
-the shin of the front foot is vertical or slightly angled toward the lifter [PHOTO: jerk stance: 3 shin angles]
-slight bend in the back knee
-on the ball of the rear foot
-front foot turned in slightly
-back heel turned out slightly
-weight balanced fairly evenly from front foot to back foot.





The elbows will be totally extended and the head should be “inside” the bar. The “head inside” position requires good overhead mobility and it makes our lockout stronger. At a heavier weight, you’ll be able to feel the difference.

[PHOTO: jerk: head instead vs outside]

[PHOTO: bar over shoulder blades and hips]



At the exact moment when your front foot slaps the platform, the bar should be in place over head with the elbows extended and the head instead. These things need to happen instantaneously in order to perfect the timing of the lift. Good timing is key to lifting heavy weight.


Potential Problems and Their Fixes

Tightrope Feet

This is common. Put some masking tape down on the platform so you can better see what you're doing. 
Practice: Bodyweight footwork drill with special attention paid to landing your feet in the same width as they'd be in your squat.

Short Split

Practice: Jumping Foot Work Drill [make names consistent]

Key Mental Cue: reach an extra foot forward with your lead leg

Back Foot Turned Out Error

This is pretty simple. Instead of having correct footwork, your back foot's position is inconsistent.
Practice: Bodyweight footwork drill with special attention on the back foot.


When you land in your split it will look like you’re on a tight rope. Instead, your feet should be about the same width as your squat stance.
Practice: Bodyweight footwork drill with special attention to going wider in your landing position.


Head Behind/Outside Error

Practice: Push press, tall jerks

Key Mental Cue: “Head inside” or “Get the Bar behind my head”

Assess overhead shoulder flexibility if this is a problem. If your shoulders are too tight, it will be impossible to get your head inside. 

Incorrect Timing In The Lockout

Practice: Tall Jerks, Jerks with light weight focusing on audio cue

Key Mental Cue: “When my front foot hits the platform, everything snaps into place”.

Soft Lockout Error

Practice: Tall Jerk
Think: “Press up in the bar as hard as I can”


List of Corrective Drills

1.      Bodyweight Dip-Drive-Footwork Drill

2.      Tall Jerk

3.      Light Weight Practice with Key Emphasis. No video required. Just practice the jerk with light weight, and focus in on one key technique detail to improve. Do many repetitions. Make sure you're fresh and not too fatigued from training. Tired muscles don't learn as well as fresh ones.



Peter Roberts