California Strength’s Dave Spitz Breaks Down the Split, Squat, and Power Jerk

California Strength’s Dave Spitz just put up an awesome video breaking down the jerk in weightlifting. He goes over all of the jerk variations, who they work best for, when to use them, and different accessories to assist each.

Before you start to think, “I already know the jerks, and which I’m best at.” That may be true, but it never hurts to learn more, especially from one of the most seasoned American Olympic lifting coaches. Plus, the jerk is often one of the most complex movements a lifter can achieve. It’s a combination of speed, coordination, strength, stability, and body awareness.

Check out the video below where Spitz breaks down the three types of jerks.

There were a few key points worth calling out in text and mentioning. First, Spitz uses a cool graphic to illustrate the three jerk types. And within this graphic he breaks down what they all have in common, and then which types have physical overlaps.

The graphic below shows what every jerk variation has in common: Commitment, courage, and timing.

[The clean & jerk offers a ton of benefits, not just improving strength and power.]

After pointing out what every jerk variation has in common, Spitz shows similarities in-between each jerk area where they overlaps with one another. There’s overlap of various physical athletic traits between each jerk variation, check them out below.

Squat + Power

  • Superior Leg Strength
  • Enhanced Shoulder Mobility

Split + Power

  • More Explosive Lower Body Drive
  • More Explosive Punch Into Position

Split + Squat

  • Enhanced Quadricep Function
  • Enhanced Isometric Coreline (Transverse Abdominals)

Image courtesy CaliforniaStrength YouTube channel.

The next part of the video, Spitz goes over which type of athlete benefits best from each jerk style, the dip:drive types, various accessories to assist each, and what type of athlete will often perform/benefit from them.

Split Jerk

  • Athlete Type: Any
  • Dip:Drive: Shallow/Quick OR Deep/Controlled
  • Accessories: Foot Work Drills, Jerk Ladder
  • Application: Any (Useful for late adopter, as it’s the least difficult.)

Image: Jerk Ladder courtesy CaliforniaStrength YouTube channel. 

Squat Jerk

  • Athlete Type: Shorter Limbs and Longer Torso
  • Dip:Drive: Shallow or Deep/Controlled
  • Accessories: Tall Jerk Variation, Overhead Squat Recovery
  • Application: Early Adopter

Power Jerk

  • Athlete Type: Longer Limbs and Shorter Torso
  • Dip:Drive: Deep/Controlled
  • Accessories: Plyo Power Jerk, Behind the Neck Push Press
  • Application: Transitory

No matter what jerk style you use and practice, it’s never a bad idea to have a solid understanding of why you’re doing it, and what it requires.

Feature image screenshot from CaliforniaStrength YouTube channel. 


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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.