10 Things to do to Improve Your Clean & Jerk
Written by Sage Burgener
#1: Breathe in, brace hard and use the lats that were graciously given to you. Failure to engage the lats will most likely result in an early arm bend or shift forward off the ground.
#2: Speaking of shifting forward, discontinue your day job at the strip club. It’s only teaching you to raise your hips up before your chest on your initial liftoff. The bar, your shoulders and your hips should all rise at the same time.
#3: The bar’s immediate goal is to pull you forward and down. Stay balanced on your whole foot through liftoff and do not let that bar pull you forward onto your toes. Side note: don’t OVER correct by shifting too far back on the heels either.
#4: You can NEVER jump too hard. Yes, you’ll need to adjust your power output according to how much weight is on the bar, but your drive should always be explosive.
#5: If your hips go out, the bar goes out. If your hips go up, the bar goes up. #micdrop More on the proper hip drive here.
#6: Leave the “dropping it like it’s hot” for the dance floor. Jump that bar up, and as it’s moving up, USE THE RESISTANCE OF THE BAR TO PULL YOURSELF DOWN AND AROUND THE BAR. At no point in your lifting career should you jump, drop/ dive, and then catch the barbell.
#7: Slow elbows = death. Your elbows will not just fall into place. You have to keep pulling them around until you feel them leading you up out of the squat.
#8: Moving into the jerk, relax your hands in your rack position to ensure the drive is coming from your body and not your arms. Then, breathe in strong, allow the bar to settle, and find the perfect positioning (straight up and down) and tempo on your dip. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
#9: Jump up, punch down. When you jump the bar up, it’s only going to get to a certain height. From there, you have to use that resistance of the bar to drive your body DOWN into your solid split position. Do not try and press the bar up higher.
#10: Your foot placement on the split will be easier to achieve if your primary focus is on keeping the weight directly over your hips. The bar needs to be stacked over your shoulders, which are stacked over your hips. If those three things are in a straight line (the bar, your shoulders and your hips), your footwork is probably (hopefully) solid.
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