Many people have no problem with the clean, yet struggle with the jerk. A natural response might be to switch to a push jerk however; the split jerk is by far the much efficient method of putting a large amount of weight over one’s head. As a coach you can easily turn an athlete into a very proficient split jerker. In most cases a heavy split jerk will be performed after a heavy clean in crossfit. Note different athletes have different dips. The vast majority of people use a quarter squat dip for the jerk. For the dip of the jerk the pressure should remain on the athlete’s heels. The knees go slightly out and the dip is slow at first until a quarter squat is reached. Then the athlete explodes up and jumps with the barbell through their feet. The feet explode into a lunge type split. In this split the weight held over behind the ears with their arms completely locked out. In the split the front foot is about a step forward with the shins perpendicular to the foot. The foot is turned slightly inwards (This happens with the vast majority of athletes naturally when a split jerk is first performed) and this helps maintain better stability. The back leg has a slight bend in the leg which allows for the weight to be able to sink into the split if need be. The back foot is about a step and a half back and on its toes. When recovering for the jerk the front foot comes back first, then the back foot comes back, and then weight is held for a second.
The most common mistake seen on jerks is having too short of a split. Sometimes this can be a confusing error for coaching because there can be multiple different causes. In some cases weak glutes may be to blame, but most of the time it is simply a technique error. In most cases this will be a result of the front foot. If this is the case then cue the athlete “step that front foot out”. Make sure that the front shin is perpendicular to the ground. Another common mistake in the split is “soft stepping”. If this be the case cue the athlete to “slam that front foot” or say “I want to hear that front foot”. Another very common mistake is recovering with the back foot first. It is very important that this is corrected since the weight naturally wants to fall forward. Nobody wants to lose a weight because it fell forward when recovering. To make the risk of losing the weight minimal the front foot comes back first and then the back foot.