September 17, 2012
September 21, 2012

Four weeks ago, we made a concerted effort to point out that the jerk – more specifically, the split jerk – is an Olympic lift as much as the snatch and clean are. Many newcomers to the Oly lifts get extremely over-wrought thinking about the snatch and clean, but truth is, the split jerk requires just as much respect, concentration, and practice, and will deliver just as much reward if properly executed.

10 Ankle Circles/side, 10 Lunges/side, 10 Push-Ups, 
Hamstring Walk 50′, 
10 Push-Ups, 10 2-count Pause Squats, 
Ankle&Calf Stretch, 
Power Skips 50′ 
Skill Review: 
Split Jerk

When we last covered the split jerk, we set aside a large portion of class to simply review the movement without any weight. We also dedicated a majority of the folliwng blog post (“ALL IN A DAY’S JERK“) to covering the foot position in the jerk, as well as linking to past posts that covered the general execution of the lift (“AND YOU JERK IT OUT“). Cycling back around this Tuesday to the split jerk, we spent roughly 10 minutes after the warm-up doing a shortened review, just to remind everyone of the proper positioning and execution, before putting it into practice with some weight.

6 x 1 Push Jerk + 1 Split Jerk

Tuesday night’s strength session doubled up with split jerk with the slightly less complicated (but slightly less powerful) push jerk. By having lifters perform a push jerk followed immediately by a split jerk, our goal was to cue the explosive hip drive needed to start the bar moving upward, followed by the requirement to push under the weight when it’s heavy (or, conversely, when the athlete has already been taxed). This comparison style double really highlights the benefits of the split jerk, allowing a lifter to push down farther and faster under the bar rather than trying to push the weight higher above their heads.

Partner Met-Con: 
4 x 12 Renegade Rows + 150′ Shuttle Run 

Following completion of the strength sets, class split out into pairs, grabbed a pair of dumbbells (RX’d weight was suggested at 1/3 to 1/2 body weight), and then lined up along the sideline for the night’s short sprint style met-con. Each partner was to complete 12 renegade rows (no push-up, just the rows, at 6 per side), and then take off into a 150′ shuttle run consisting of 1/2 the width of the court and back, and then a full width of the court and back. Once back from the completed shuttle, the second partner began their 12 rows and run, until both had completed 4 rounds.

The form improvement, and comfort, with the split jerk was evident last night. If you didn’t already, take the time to review the last two split jerk posts, as you can pretty well bet we’ll all be seeing these again very soon.

Also, for those of you who haven’t caught it yet, take the time to check out this really introspective piece from the NY Times written by CFDupont’s own T.M. on the sometimes uneasy position of being a US-veteran turned student:

Definitely a piece to give you pause. See you all on Thursday.



  1. Maher says:

    Although my footwork on the split jerks wasn’t too bad, I definitely plan to practice the movement so that it becomes more natural. As always, thanks to Tom, Chris and Sara for the tips and corrections.

    And I had an exciting personal milestone: my first met-con where I didn’t have to stop to regroup/rest. I’m so happy to see some progress in my energy levels and endurance.

  2. Katie says:

    Nice job, Maher! That’s awesome, and I’m sure you’ll keep seeing progress.

    It was great practicing split jerks. I worked with Kelly, Erin, and Mandy, and we went to 60#, focusing on form. I was initially thinking it might be easier for me to do push jerks, but on my last set I pressed out a little on the push, and didn’t on the split (though I was a little unstable). I need to focus on active shoulders and really punching up the weight quickly, while not punching myself in the chin.

    Used 15# DB for the rows. I was having trouble holding in plank during the rows, so I scaled to my knees. I was kind of mad at myself for doing that, but I felt like I couldn’t hold a good body position. I’ll work on renegade rows when I’m not in the midst of a metcon. Thanks to Kelly for partnering with me and putting up with my mid-workout switch slowing us down.

    Finishing last was kind of awesome, though, due to everyone cheering. It’s a great feeling to be part of such a supportive community. Thanks everyone!!

  3. Steph says:

    Welcome back, Ben, Erica, and Tom! And congrats, Maher, on your exciting progress!

    It was good to work on jerks. I worked with Lizzy, Julia (until she ditched us for heavier weights :p), and Russell. Thanks to Sara for keeping an eye on my form when the weight got up there. My main problem for the split jerk is stablizing the core. The metcon was short and fun.

    See everyone Thursday!

  4. Erica says:

    So good to be back after what felt like a VERY long time away! Worked with Ami, Andraea and Jo. Worked up to 98#s and felt heavy but ok. For some reason, my feet kept splitting on the first rep, as opposed to the push jerk. I think it was my body’s natural way of testing whether or not I could support that much weight above my body. By the last few rounds though, I corrected the order. So good to be back!

  5. Julia says:

    I got to work with Maher on the metcon and he did great!

    Push jerks: don’t think I’m taking full advantage of the movement – am much more used to push presses. As Steph pointed out when I stumbled during the bar-only warmup, you’re supposed to drive yourself under/press up against the bar at the SAME time… not push press, then bend your knees, then pretend nothing went wrong. (People will notice.) On the bright side, think I’m making some progress on split jerks.

    Welcome back E + B + T! Now things feel right again. And TM: thank you.

  6. SBV says:

    @Julia: I really like how you expressed your feelings on push jerk, i.e., that you’re not “taking full advantage of the movement.” I feel the exact same way. I can push press 185# for sets of three, yet last night I couldn’t do a true push jerk at that weight without pressing out at the top. Something about reversing direction on the press/push under doesn’t compute for me. Then again, I struggle with the same concept on squat cleans and squat snatches. Paging Dr. Sheppard!

    So awesome to have the whole crew back at CFDC. Order has been restored.

  7. Dian says:

    Bravo on your progress Maher. You look really badass in that photo.

    Welcome back Tom B., Erica, Ben and Jessi!

    The storms kept me away last night unfortunately. Looking forward to seeing everyone Thursday.

  8. Dave Eckmann says:

    Fun to work on a movement that sometimes goes ignored, as was mentioned in the post.

    Though I act like my foot is back to 100%, some movements like the split jerk remind me that it isn’t quite healed. So, for the time being I can only send my right foot back. But worked up to 135# in order to work on form and get comfortable with heavier weights.

    Worked with John on the metcon with 45# in each arm and finished pretty quickly. Glad to have a great partner who helped to push me the whole way through.

    Will likely miss Thursday, so have a good time everyone and see you Sunday!

  9. Ben says:

    As Erica said, definitely awesome to be back! And coming back to push and split jerks, doesn’t get much better.

    I worked with SBV and Dan and got up to 215 lbs, which felt OK. Push jerk definitely needed more work. It is always good to work with Dan so that your ego is kept in check. (Pretty sure he used 215 as a warm-up)

  10. Mark Minukas says:

    Ben/Erica – welcome back!

    TM – great article, man. Made me stop and reflect on a lot of stuff.

  11. Andraea says:

    Let me too say welcome back Erica, Ben, and Tom B!! Great to have you guys back in class! Erica – you still rocked it after not having lifted in a month! Way to go!

    I love split jerks so I was happy to work on them. I have problems with the movement of push press and getting my body behind the movement and not just shoulders and arms. I need to work on that. I got up to 103lbs which was exciting and I think I could’ve gone up but ran out of time although I wouldn’t have been able to go up on the push press. I love it when I break 100lbs on upper body movements!

    Renegade rows are fun but I used too light of weight so next time I’ll have to remember to go up.

  12. Tom Brose says:

    Great to be back and see everyone again.

    Please make sure to read TMs piece in the times, graceful and poignant. I though a lot about the number of young men I’ve worked with who use CrossFit to prep for the military. I’ve seen them come to us as kids, and return as grown men (even when as babyfaced as TM) who have experienced things the rest of us never will. In some part, we’ll never witness what they have due to their willingness to take that burden on voluntarily.

    OK, the workout stuff…always love to hear about people making those little milestones that prove its working. Strong work on the jerks, much better collectively on actually using the jerk, rather than push press/redip/press out.

  13. Dan Samarov says:

    Worked with SBV and Ben. A lot of great cue advice from Sarah, Tom, Chris and others is becoming a bit more second nature, so it’s easier to focus on being aggressive and driving under the bar.

    Strong work everyone!