Maximize Your Split Jerk With These 4 Jerk Variations

The split jerk can be a challenging component of the clean & jerk, one that often separates the best of lifters.

When training the jerk, there are numerous variations and assistance exercises that can be used to help isolate specific faults that a lifter may possess.

In this article, we will offer four jerk variations to athletes and coaches can use use in their training to gain kilos on their jerks, and continue to progress.

How To Integrate These Jerk Variations

The following jerk variations can be integrated into any training routine, either as stand alone exercise blocks or as parts of complexes. Loading percentages can be used similar to programming clean and jerk, however it is important to note that the full lift should still be trained to have direct application to the formal lifts.

Behind the Neck Jerks

In a previous article we discussed the power of behind the neck jerk training for developing vertical bar patterning in the dip and drive phases of the jerk, stability and strength in the overhead positioning, and increasing a lifters confidence under heavy loads. This exercise can be trained using either power or split footwork, and can even be used with snatch grip width to increase overhead stability in a wide array of grip widths to have direct carry-over to both the snatch and/or clean and jerk.

Jerk Drives

Jerk dips and drives can increase power, reinforce dip depth and vertical patterning, and allow for supramaximal (or near maximal) loading in the front rack. In an earlier article, we discussed the importance of implementing jerk dips (and drives) within nearly every training program to teach lifters how to use their legs while keeping the bar in a vertical plane.

Jerk Balance


Jerk balances are one of my favorite exercises to implement within early work sets or assistance blocks. They not only reinforce sound vertical patterning, they also allow a lifter to gain more experience with proper footwork in the split and understanding how to balance the load (their body and the bar) in the receiving position. 

Pause/Segmented Jerk Complexes

A video posted by Joel Karjalainen (@profkarjalainen) on

Pause jerks can be implemented into many complexes or assistance exercises, such as the ones above, to increase positional strength, leg drive, and awareness. The increased specificity to a lifter’s individual faults makes pause jerk and these various complexes perfect for furthering beginner and intermediate lifters.

Final Words

Coaches and athletes can manipulate training programs to correct individual faults that lifters may possess using the above training exercises or the link variations. Regardless, the clean and jerk exercise should be routinely practices to have the best carry over to formal competitions and lifts.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured Image: @joaoferreiracf on Instagram

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