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Split Jerk Footwork Drills

November 14, 20232 min read

One of the most advanced barbell movements is the Clean and Jerk. Of course, this is my opinion, but I am pretty sure a lot of coaches would agree. It’s a combination of pulling and pushing that will not only test your strength, but mental strength as well. If you have no idea what I am talking about, no worries. The simple answer is that the barbell starts from the ground, then is pulled to the shoulders, and then finishes overhead. As simple as that sounds, there is a lot of skill involved with this lift.

In my previous blog, I discussed how to own the push press. The setup to get the barbell from shoulder to overhead is gonna be the same.

Ok, now that you’re all caught up, let’s talk about the split jerk. Like I said, the setup from shoulder to overhead is the same as the push press. The difference is that we must be able get under the bar quickly while splitting the feet.

Why do we need to split the legs? Well, you don’t have to necessarily (can do push jerk), but splitting the legs helps broaden the base of support to receive the bar over head and essentially gives you the opportunity to lift more weight.

As with anything, there are different methods to teaching the split jerk, BUT two things are constant with each method. First constant is that the lead leg has a vertical shin. Secondly, the rear leg has a bent knee. Having these in check will ensure that you receive the bar in the best position.

Learning to split the feet is a skill in it’s own, but with practice, you can become more confident with moving your feet quickly. I want to share some methods as to how to get better and what to look for when doing this movement.

Check out this video!

Video Overview:

We need to first establish the correct distance for your feet by marking where your feet need to end up. Once that is set, we can work on some drills. The first drill is to learn how to split your feet quickly. Start on your toes and split your feet as you land. We call these snapdowns. Make sure you’re hitting the marks on the ground and that the legs are not in line, hence broaden your base by moving your foot out. Next drill would be to establish the finished position and get comfortable with having a barbell overhead. Press the barbell overhead and hold that position for about 5s. This is a great way to gain confidence with having a load overhead. These drills can help guide you towards doing the entire lift. Remember, dip-drive-split!

Coach Silas

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Breakaway Fitness & Performance

Breakaway Fitness & Performance focuses on strength training, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle in their blogs.

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