Beginner’s Guide to the Split Jerk
Video by Jared Enderton

Whether you are new to Olympic Lifting or you’re just looking for some tips to improve your jerk, check out this video by Invictus Weightlifting Coach, Jared Enderton, on the points of performance for each part of the lift.

If you don’t have a coach to watch you, get yourself the BEST one by signing up for Jared’s online Weightlifting Program. You can also video yourself and play it back frame by frame as you go down this checklist to make sure you are hitting all of the key points of the lift so you can make gains and hit those PRs!

The Set-Up

  • The bar should be in the palms of your hands and NOT on your fingertips. People with mobility restrictions sometimes have to modify with a fingertip set-up but this is not ideal. If you find that you’re struggling with this piece or it’s painful, time to work on that wrist and forearm mobility!
  • Your elbows should be slightly in front of bar while it is resting on your shoulders – just slightly in front but not as high as they are in a front squat or clean. If you are struggling with this position, tight lats or triceps could be to blame.
  • Just like any other movement where we are trying to generate as much power as possible, make sure your midline is tight! Take that big, bracing breath, push your abs into your ribs, then dip.
  • Since this is a “jumping” movement, your feet should be in your jumping position which is at shoulder width (and the same set-up for your clean and snatch).

The Dip & Drive

  • Keep control on the dip! Especially as you lower yourself into it. Make sure you move your body straight down so that your torso is vertical throughout the movement.
  • As you drive up, focus on moving your torso straight up as well..
  • Your weight should be in full foot but more toward your heels.

The Receiving Position

  • The receiving position for the split jerk is a half-lunge. Your front shin should be as vertical as possible and your back leg should be slightly bent. Make sure that when you split them out that you also split them to your shoulder-width. A common error here is what we call, “walking the tightrope”. Meaning, the feet are too narrow which makes it extremely hard to balance while holding weight overhead.
  • Check to make sure your torso is upright here too. Sometimes people end up punching their head and torso THROUGH instead of DOWN, which can cause them to miss the lift.
  • The bar should be over your upper back (behind ears), and NOT over the top of your head. Use your shoulders and upper back to help support that weight! You can also think of it as making sure the bar is ‘behind your ears’.

The Recovery

  • You’ve nailed the lift! But it’s not quite official yet. First, you need to get your feet back to your starting position. To do this, take a half step back with our front foot first, THEN step your back foot forward to meet it. The reason we step back with the front foot first is to maintain control of the bar. If you step back foot first, it is likely the momentum of the weight on the bar will continue to move forward and you will miss the lift.
  • The bar must stay overhead until both feet are back to your starting stance. At that point, you may lower it to your chest or drop it to the floor. Pro tip: Make sure you lower it almost to your chest before dropping the bar so it doesn’t bounce up and hit you (or someone next to you). Follow the weight down with your hands to stop any bouncing that may occur.

Looking for more tips on your Olympic Lifts? If you join the Invictus online Weightlifting Program, you will receive not only the weekly program, but also feedback on your lifting videos from Coach Jared and the support of others from around the world via the exclusive. Weightlifting Facebook Group.

learn more about the Invictus Weightlifting ProgramWant to learn more about Olympic Weightlifting?

Don’t miss these other great resources:

A Beginner’s Guide to the Clean and Jerk

How to Snatch: Key Points for Each Phase of the Lift 

How to Power Clean: Benefits, Workout Tips, & FAQ


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