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Tips For The Split Jerk

#8 - Make Use Of Jerking From Behind The Neck
By Donny Shankle

I first taught myself how to Jerk in the high school football weight room. I found out quickly I had a natural feel for the timing. Once I started my formal training to compete in weightlifting, I used the behind the neck Jerk variation often. However, I eventually started to move away from Jerking from behind the neck as I felt going from the front is more specific to the actual Jerk in competition. An annoying cut on the front of my neck which opens up during consistent training forced me to again explore the behind the neck variation. I am happy I returned to practicing how I initially learned the exercise.

There are three advantages to Jerking from behind the neck. First is you do not have to push the head through once the bar is overhead. The bar is already set behind you allowing you to concentrate more on your “Dip and Drive”. Secondly, the bar is positioned directly over your LOB and sits further away from your toes. This helps you get used to the feeling of Dipping and Driving in a much straighter line. Lastly, you can use more weight with the behind the neck variation. Since you do not have to push the head through, and your “Dip and Drive” is straighter, more weight can be Jerked. As a result more personal records can be established and broken. With enough repetition the added weight will also strengthen your “Split” command. As you return to Jerking from the front after a heavy Clean, your confidence is higher because you are used to Jerking more weight from the racks or blocks.

Never forget how you may have at the outset learned something. It may be different or even seem unorthodox from textbook learning, but it is how you learned. It is how you adapted. The things or people which shaped your understanding as a beginner will carryover for you as you advance towards mastery. The Jerk from behind the neck like all other subordinate exercises is another variation to push your limits. Work towards Jerking out of the racks or blocks ten to fifteen kilos more than your personal record C&J.