“Know Your Lifts” is an illustrated guide series that shows how to perform basic weightlifting exercises. Check out our previous guides on the High-Bar Back Squat, Deadlift, Shoulder Press, and Clean. (They’re all available as posters in our store as well.)
In today’s edition we take a look at another Olympic-style lift that’s become popular among average weight lifters as well: the power jerk and split jerk. While the jerk looks similar to a shoulder press, they’re not identical. With a straight shoulder press, your arms and shoulders are what drives the bar above your head; with the jerk, your legs do most of the driving to get the bar above your head. It’s a great lift for developing functional explosion. The jerk is often accompanied with the clean — you begin with cleaning the bar to your shoulders and then jerk the bar over your head. Work on mastering each move separately before you combine them.
Thanks to Barry Schroeder and Jim Schoenberg of CrossFit Sandstorm for consulting on this post.
Illustration by Ted Slampyak
Last updated: December 18, 2015