Tall Jerk – Technique Video, Variations, and Benefits

In this article we will discuss the tall jerk (and its variations) to help coaches and athletes better improve technique, speed and precision of footwork, and aggression in the jerk. In the below sections we will uncover the main variations and benefits of the tall jerk and how to properly program them into training sessions.

Tall Jerk Technique Video

The tall jerk can be done using many of the variations below, however all of them entail a lifter to start from a fully erect position in which they do not use any dipping motion to initiate upwards force into the barbell. By doing so, the lifter must aggressively punch the barbell upwards, placing it into the correct overhead positioning with precision and speed. In the below video the tall jerk is demonstrated (tall jerk from shoulders with flat feet, half press to talk jerk from flat feet, and half press to talk jerk from toes). Note, that the tall jerk from shoulders from toes is not included.

4 Tall Jerk Variations

Below are four tall jerk variations that can be done  to help a lifter establish proper aggression and technique in the split jerk, power jerk, or squat jerk. The below variations can be used (in order) to teach a beginner lifter proper timing in the receiving positions in the jerk and/or as a primer exercise for the jerk. Note, that in all variations, the lifter must be sure to keep the head back and chest, chin, and diaphragm raised to allow the barbell to move upwards, minimizing horizontal displacement.

Half Press to Tall Jerk (Flat Feet)

  1. The lifter starts with the barbell in the front rack with the feet shoulder width apart and toes out.
  2. With the chest, chin, and diaphragm lifted, the barbell is strict pressed slowly to the forehead.
  3. When the bar reaches this height, the lifter aggressively and explosively punches the barbell slightly behind the head into the proper overhead position, while simultaneously moving the feet quickly into the jerk receiving position (split, power, or squat jerk stance).

Half Press to Tall Jerk (Toes)

  1. The lifter starts with the barbell in the front rack with the feet shoulder width apart and toes out.
  2. With the chest, chin, and diaphragm lifted, the barbell is strict pressed slowly to the forehead.
  3. When the bar reaches this height, the lifter elevates the heels, lifting themselves up onto the toes briefly, finding proper balance.
  4. Once assumed, the lifter aggressively and explosively punches the barbell slightly behind the head into the proper overhead position, while simultaneously moving the feet quickly into the jerk receiving position (split, power, or squat jerk stance).

Tall Jerk from Shoulders (Flat Feet)

  1. The lifter starts with the barbell in the front rack with the feet shoulder width apart and toes out.
  2. With the chest, chin, and diaphragm lifted, the lifter aggressively and explosively punches the barbell upwards and slightly behind the head into the proper overhead position, while simultaneously moving the feet quickly into the jerk receiving position (split, power, or squat jerk stance).

Tall Jerk from Shoulders (Toes)

  1. The lifter starts with the barbell in the front rack with the feet shoulder width apart and toes out.
  2. With the chest, chin, and diaphragm lifted, the barbell is strict pressed slowly to the forehead.
  3. When the bar reaches this height, the lifter elevates the heels, lifting themselves up onto the toes briefly, finding proper balance.
  4. Once assumed, the lifter aggressively and explosively punches the barbell slightly behind the head into the proper overhead position, while simultaneously moving the feet quickly into the jerk receiving position (split, power, or squat jerk stance).

3 Benefits of the Tall Jerk

Below are three benefits of the tall jerk. Coaches and athletes should be sure to program this exercise with lighter loads as this is not to build strength and power, but rather precision, speed, and aggression in the jerk.

Teach/Reinforce Aggression

The tall jerk will force lifters to utilize all pushing aggression with the arms at the top of the jerk drive while being active and aggressive fixating themselves into the relieving position.

Precision in Footwork

The tall jerk will help lifters quickly and confidently assume proper footwork in the jerk. The necessity to set the feet quickly (due to lack of leg drive which limits time to get under the barbell), will force the lifter to make quick and precise movements with their feet.

Speed and Confidence

The lifter must be confident and precise with their movements in the tall jerk, which simulates exactly what must occur as a lifter finalizes the extension of the torso into the barbell after a normal jerk drive. By omitting the drive (bending of the legs at onset of jerk) the lifter must solely focus on being fast and confident getting underneath the barbell.

Programming the Tall Jerk

Programming the tall jerk should be done with the focus of increasing technique, speed, and aggression in the jerk; rather than increasing strength and/or power. For this reason, loads are often kept light so that the lifter can work on proper footwork, bar patterning, and not having to dip to initiate barbell movement. Coaches and athletes can use tall jerk as a primer movement before clean and jerk/jerk sessions with light loads, for 2-3 sets of 3-5 repetitions.

Better Jerk Technique

Take a look below at some of our top jerk articles and learn how you can maximize split, power, and squat jerk performance.

Featured Image: @freetobestrong on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.