Push Jerk for Split Jerks?

December 6, 2011

Typically when programming for yourself or an athlete, you are going to have to schedule “light” days or days in which you force your athlete to not be able to lift as much weight.  You can do this a number of ways.  You could simply just program it so that the athlete must stay within a certain percentage.  Or you could implement partial movements or combination movements so that the athlete simply won’t be able to lift significant weights.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you’ve probably figured out that I don’t take too much stock in percentages, especially for the beginner.  So a lot of times what I do when I want people to lift lighter is program movements that do not allow for a significant overload.  Mark Bell and I were talking about this a while ago.  He calls it something like “ overloading bay underloading” (or something along those lines).

For example, today CC’s program called for power snatches, power clean+push jerks and strict presses.  She is on a 6 day a week program, 2 of which are predominantly partial movements (like power cleans) that force her to lift lighter weights but still allow her to get some practice in.  CC’s main weakness is her overhead stability while snatching or jerking.  She can pull the crap out of a 65kg snatch any day of the week but catching weights consistently in the correct position and standing up out of the hole with shaky arms continues to be a problem.  She also has trouble during the RECOVERY PHASE of a jerk.  This is either due to not driving the bar into the correct position or just general instability with the bar overhead or a combination of both.

With this in mind, I programmed a good variety of overhead movements meant to strengthen her upper body and torso as well as improve technique.  Today happened to be the first day that I’ve introduced the push jerk.  Typically, the way that I’ll coach is to introduce and reinforce the FULL movements until the athlete has developed a confident understanding along with consistent technique.  CC is at the point where she has been lifting long enough where I feel it’s important to give her variations of the classic lifts that could help her improve her technique with the full lifts.

The push jerk is interesting because it forces the athlete to drive the bar straight and with a solid dip/drive due to the lack of stability forwards and backwards.  So if you or your athlete are somebody that consistently misses jerks forward or if you simply want to program a lighter day, try making your push jerk the limiting factor for the day so you can save your anatomy for the workouts to come.

I also got kind of crazy and had her pause at the bottom of her dip drive during her first few warm-up sets as to make sure that her body was in the correct position to drive the bar straight.  Like I said, these techniques could help improve the full movement.  I’m not a fuckin’ scientist.  I just lift weights.  But it never hurts to be able to perform both the push jerk and the full split jerk, especially if you do crossfit.  The push jerk could be especially beneficial for you simply because it takes less time to perform.

2 Responses to “Push Jerk for Split Jerks?”

  1. kincain said

    awesome, thanks for this article!

  2. camilog75 said

    I’ve run into the problem too with athletes and clients needing to handle lighter weight, so that they can recover and set the stage for some fresh pr’s. It seems like I’m always asking some peeps to put more weight on the bar so that they get a better feel for the movement they are working on and to get more from the session and from themselves. So to keep the loads manageable we’ve added partials, more reps, and replacing the lifts all together so that we don’t get stale. Great work Ben and great info on programing.

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