Everyone can Snatch, everyone can Clean but only champions can Jerk. - Ivan Abadjiev
Looking for a sure fire way to determine which Jerk variation is right for you? In this week's Technique Talk, we break down the similarities and differences between the Split, Power and Squat Jerk variations in an all out assault on demystifying one of the most technical movements in Olympic weightlifting.
Determining which Jerk style is right for you will depend on a number of factors but it's critical that we start by identifying the three primary commonalities between the Split, Power and Squat Jerk.
Three Primary Commonalities
Commitment - You must be committed to executing your dip and drive with great technique.
Courage - You must have the courage to drive yourself down underneath the bar.
Timing - You must arrive at arms lock at the right time and your stabilizers must fire to support the weight overhead.
Making Your Selection
Each Jerk variation comes with a unique set of requirements, depending on your strengths and weaknesses, which will ultimately impact your selection.
Strength | Limb Length | Mobility
Outlined below are the necessary components for each Jerk technique based on body type, dip / drive mechanics and the all important factor of time. When looking at body types, limb length compared to torso length can be used to determine a Squat vs. Power Jerk although we must take note of the extremely high relative strength levels and mobility required to execute either technique. By contrast, the Split Jerk can be applied to both body types.
Early vs. Late Stage Adopters
Are you an early or late-stage adopter to the Olympic lifts?
Wes Kitts, a late stage adopter who found the Olympic lifts shortly after finishing his collegiate football career is a perfect example of someone who needed to have a workable technique using the Split style while he devoted time towards improving his mobility and strength. By contrast, many European and Asian weightlifters are introduced to weightlifting at very young ages and have time in which they develop the range of motion and relative strength levels required for the Squat or Power Jerk variations.
It is interesting to note that you are not limited to one technique over the course of your weightlifting career. Wes is built in many ways similar to Aleksey Torokhtiy, who Clean & Power Jerked 227kg (500lbs) at the 2012 Olympic Games to finish on top of the podium. Both athletes have long limbs and very high levels of explosive strength, leaving it within the realm of possibility to someday see Wes make a switch to the Power Jerk technique.