Day one is in the books for Sandbox Athletics Christmas Weightlifting Camp. Most of today was spent testing for athletic ability and potential talent. I learned a couple things from the testing. First, Eric Rosenstock does in fact have a genetic disposition to a terrible vertical leap. Dude just doesn’t have hops. Second, I learned that any and all testing in which I cannot use my hips rules me out. Namely, deadhang pullups and dips. (Eric crushed these). Lastly, Eric and I are getting old and we felt it with each and every test. My knees shouldn’t hurt when I land on the long jump should they?
However, the final workout of the day was some lighter clean and jerk work. This camp is primarily filled with Youth and Junior Age lifters. Which means two things. They are finishing their workouts by the time I am finishing my warmup and they are at the point where teaching technique is of the upmost value. It showed in the jerk. They put me and Eric to shame. Below you will see three videos of three different kids clean and jerking. What you will notice about all three kids is the aggressive nature of their front foot in the split jerk.
A while back, Eric went to a seminar with Dan John where he said the key to a good split jerk was reaching with the front foot in such a way that you felt like you were stepping on a bug. I use the term reach like you’re “Crunching a Cockroach.” What this cue does is it forces the lifter to really step out with the front foot and step into the barbell allowing them to step under the bar while it is moving vertically. Reaching with the front foot is a huge part of the split jerk because it allows your feet to land proper distance from each other, your hips to land in the proper position under the bar, and allows for a easier recovery. Watch these kids pull it off really well.
All three of those kids do a great job stepping into the barbell. This is evidenced by their landing position, the sound of their front foot on the platform, and how evenly spaced their feet are. Crunching the Cockroach with the front foot is skill I never learned and still fight today.
I have never claimed to be good at the jerk portion of Olympic Lifting. In fact, I am downright terrible at it. Watching these kids makes me jealous. Below is a final Coach’s Eye video of one of my jerks and what happens when you don’t step into the weight. Enjoy and more video of these kids are coming… they’re studs.