What Are Jerk Dips and Should You Do Them: Additional Insight by Kendrick Farris and Cara Heads Slaughter

For anyone who has or does jerks (either power or split), you can attest to the amount of time spent perfecting the dip and drive phases, which almost entirely affect the success of the jerk.

When teaching beginners, intermediates, and myself the jerk (yes, as the loads get higher, I often feel like I have to continue to “teach” myself, only the loads are heavier and heavier…), there are some exercises that I will build into jerk complexes and after main power and strength blocks to assist athletes who may need to address a specific fault.

The jerk dip, which can be done in complexes and/or by themselves, is a great exercise to teach vertical loading in the dip, absorption and eccentric control of heavy and supramaximal loads on the descent, and braking at the correct dip depth. By teaching athletes (and then strengthening the stability and control in the dip) how to correctly dip in the jerk, you will be able to maintain better posture, bar path, and improve overall overhead performance.

Why do Jerk Dips?

Jerk dips are an assistance exercise that can be help a liter achieve three things:

  1. Increase strength and control in the dip phase of jerk, which require an athlete to eccentrically absorb a load in the most upright and vertical position.
  2. Teach athletes to stay as upright as possible, not allowing the barbell and hips to drive forward in the dip of the jerk. The more vertical the bar path, the better.
  3. Help athletes learn the correct dip depth in the jerk. The ability to absorb and break in the dip of the jerk (while staying as vertical as possible) will allow an athlete to react and transfer vertical force into the barbell in the drive phase.

How to do Jerk Dips?

Listen up as Olympians Kendrick Farris and Cara Heads Slaughter discuss the jerk dip, and the difference between “textbook” and “real-life” reps.

Take a look at how to perform the partial jerk movements, thanks to Catalyst Athletics.

When to do Jerk Dips?

Jerk dips can be integrated in complexes (typically done with 70-100% 1RM loads) or by themselves, depending on the specific purpose of that training day. When trained in a complex, they are great at ingraining vertical bar path and dip depth, which can be helpful before power jerks and split jerks in beginners. It is important to note that when performed in complexes, especially prior to full jerk versions (power and split), jerk dips can create some leg fatigue, which will affect a lifter’s ability to handle heavier loads (as most fatigue does). This same “limitation” also makes the jerk dip a great way to increase dip mechanics and strength without overloading the entire jerk overhead position (say an athlete has soreness, fatigue, or even injury on the overhead position, assuming it is not the lumbar back).

Additionally, jerk dips can be done by themselves, as stand alone strengthening exercises used to assist in the overall development of the jerk (power or split). Coaches and athletes can program them after main power and strength work (squats and pulls) at moderate to even supramaximal loads (above an athlete’s 1RM) to develop greater strength, stability, and confidence in the jerk.

These Aren’t Just for Weightlifters!

While this move is inherently beneficial to all athletes that compete in a sport requiring an overhead jerking movement, this can also be highly beneficial to functional fitness athletes. In many functional fitness competitions, WODs, and events, athletes may be asked to handle moderate and even near/maximal loads overhead, making proper technique and preparedness key to the overall success of a lifter. The added benefit at overloading an eccentric movement can lead to increases in strength, confidence, and potentially overall performance.

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: @mikejdewar on Instagram