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A Jerk Mastery Roadmap

Published: 2024-05-07
A Jerk Mastery Roadmap
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From watching quite a few novice weightlifting videos, paying attention at weightlifting meets, and reading a considerable amount of learners’ commentary, I’ve come to the conclusion that the jerk is providing some mastery challenges to many newcomers. Some of it may be due to the frequency with which the jerk is trained, while the choice of exercises and the progression of their inclusion might prove to be daunting.


What is the jerk in weightlifting?


The jerk is a weightlifting movement that is part of the clean and jerk, one of the two competition lifts in Olympic weightlifting. It involves lifting a barbell from shoulder height to overhead in a quick, powerful motion. The jerk typically follows a clean, where the athlete first pulls the barbell from the floor to the shoulders.

Key steps of the jerk include:

  1. Dip: The lifter bends the knees slightly and lowers the body straight down while keeping the torso upright.

  2. Drive: The lifter then forcefully extends the legs and drives the barbell upward using the power generated from the legs and hips.

  3. Split or Power Position: There are different styles for the final position, the two main ones being the split jerk (where the lifter splits one leg forward and the other backward) or the power jerk (where both feet remain in place or are slightly repositioned).

  4. Catch: The lifter catches the barbell overhead with locked-out arms and stabilizes in the final position.

  5. Recovery: The lifter brings the feet together and stands up fully to complete the lift.

The jerk requires strong technique, balance, and timing to achieve successful execution.


Structuring the Jerk Training Schedule

To assist those who are in the process of learning the jerk, I’m providing a schedule of what exercises to employ and the frequency with which they should be included in the training. Keep in mind that every training session should include some pulling, some squatting, and some overhead work in order to keep progress moving toward achieving a higher total.



A few years ago, I put together an 8-week series of training programs for the beginner titled The First 8 Weeks. I’ve included it in my BarTech membership site, which has a 14-day free trial link at the end of this post. In this post, I’ve decided to list the jerk exercises and their scheduled days to give newcomers an idea of how to include jerking exercises in training. Although it’s an 8-week program, I started including jerk movements from the second week, as the training in the first week was to improve overhead strength and balance in the snatch.

Here's the table with the schedule of training exercises to learn and improve the jerk. The set and rep schemes can be accessed through the 14-day free trial linked at the conclusion of this post.




If you're in need of a plan for learning weightlifting techniques or training programs for Beginners, Intermediates, and Advanced, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial of my latest membership site, Takano BarTech, at https://takanoweightliftingcoaching.net/vsl-order-form3qnol597