How to stop missing the jerks: 

The bar path in a jerk, starts on the rack position (sitting on the front of the shoulders, elbows between 45 deg. to almost parallel to the floor).  During the upward drive. the barbell should travel in a vertical path and received overhead in a direct line above the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles (depending on the jerk).   

Many jerks are missed because of the incorrect body posture (rounded shoulder) (pic A) and lack of thoracic mobility and strength during the dip and drive of the jerk.  If the athlete’s static posture is one of rounded shoulders with a forward head, the ability to maintain an upright position during the jerk drive becomes difficult.

rounded back.jpg

  Many athletes elbows will dip down during the jerk, causing the bar to travel in a backward C curve (pic B)  When this occurs, the athlete may have a difficult time getting directly underneath the barbell in the overhead position and remain locked out.

Pic B:  elbows point down during a jerk drive                                                 this is the correct position of the elbows

Pic B:  elbows point down during a jerk drive                                                 this is the correct position of the elbows

If you find yourself with this kind of posture, here are just a few corrective exercises you can do to help strengthen the upper body:

1.     Using a tennis ball or lacrosse ball, release tightness in the pectoralis minor (chest muscles close to the shoulder) by applying self-myofascial release techniques to this area. There should be a light discomfort, but pressure applied should never result in pain or bruising.

2.     Work on retracting, depressing the scapula by activating the trapezius muscles, serratus anterior, and lower lattisimus dorsi.  Exercises like the low row, ring rows,  or banded rows will help as well as double straight arm pull down. 

3.  Practicing the jerk drive and proper foot and leg position in the drive is also recommended.

Please note that each athlete should be assessed with a qualified fitness professional that can make specific recommendations.   If your are interested, please contact Coach Arlene to schedule an assessment.

Keep lifting,

Coach Arlene

Pic credIt:  Catalyst Athletics