Our clients down at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh have certainly worked up their work capacity and are now able to do snatches, push presses, and DOUBLE jerks quite well. The power training athletes that we have at the facility are of the more advanced types of lifters who are going for maximal amount of strength and conditioning. The volume of the routines during these sessions is demanding, and NOT for the faint of heart. The good news, these power people are doing amazing things and are getting stronger by the moment. Last week during our power training session, we hit a cycle that involved the kettlebell clean and jerk. The practice went well, and our participants and I got to really zone in our technical difficulties with this technical lift. The jerk is a tough lift, and it requires a certain level of precision with several other lifts first. Our jerk practice went pretty well, but a few of our clients brought up some good questions on how to practice the lift with good form.
First, let’s break down the two most common issues I have personally seen with the jerk.
The Overhead Lock Out.
This is a big one. The “jerking” motion here with the kettlebell jerk requires you to execute an overhead lock out. if you lack the shoulder mobility to get there in the first place on your press or push press, the jerk is not going to happen. If the lock out is an issue, what tends to happen is the participant will have the kettlebells slap the wrist early in the jerk motion, causing the elbows to bend. This leads to a very awkward looking press, and that is not so nice on the back.
The Dip and Drive.
In comparison to the push press, the kettlebell jerk involved dipping underneath the kettlebell. You want to envision yourself moving out of the way of the kettlebells, while “catching” the bells right above you. I recommend using a PVC pipe to get yourself in the habit of positioning your body correctly. This should also serve as a great way to practice your overhead lock out technique. Please note, when you jerk the pipe above your head, you ARE allowed a slight give in your heel (meaning, your heel is allowed to lift off the floor) on the initiation of the jerk. I would caution against jumping up off the ground though to jerk the kettlebells up to save the excess impact on the knee joint.
In the video below, I demonstrate how to throw this all together to iron out your jerk technique. Pay attention to the cues here so you can begin to work your technique for some serious jerk work.
Give this drills a go and let me know how you do with your jerk practice! I hope this post was helpful for you all out there wishing to learn the kettlebell jerk. Keep up the practice and you should be on your way to some serious strength and conditioning work in no time! That’s all for today folks! until next time. . .
Master your instincts!