The Jerk Drive

Every now and then I like to emphasize and/or introduce an auxiliary movement that I believe is pretty fundamental in helping with the snatch or clean and jerk. Today I want to talk a little bit about the jerk drive. I have started programming these a little more often on our competition team programming as well as. Outlaw Barbell work. The jerk drive is a great movement used to help develop the top of the drive for the jerk as well as bar track for the jerk.

One of the biggest struggles in the jerk is keeping the shoulders and hips aligned during the dip and drive. The necessity for a vertical torso during this portion of the jerk is fundamentally essential for a technically proficient jerk. Secondly, the jerk drive allows the lifter to work on keeping the pressure in the foot pressing downward into the floor for as long as possible to create maximal power output at the top of the drive. Lastly, one of the big helps that the jerk drive allows for is a necessity for an aggressive finish in the drive. One of the biggest faults in the jerk specifically is an over eagerness to engage the arms before completing the drive with the legs. The arms only engage in the jerk to push the body down under the bar and this phase of the lift should only happen after max power has been put into the bar during the drive. The jerk drive specifically emphasizes this portion and forces the lifter to engage not only the legs but the also the shrug at the top of the drive.

It is important that the lifter, if possible, receive the bar at the end of the drive back onto their shoulders. This forces a proper bath path and also forces the lifter to think about where the bar is going when it leaves their shoulders. Below I have created a demo video for the jerk drive with some voice over talking about what’s going on in the movement. Take a look at the video and because of the short time under tension during this lift you can add these to your program at almost any time with little to no adverse effect on your volume. These can be done at on at a greater percent than your jerk max. Take a look.

Jerk Drive Demo


15 responses to “The Jerk Drive

  1. I am relatively new to Oly and I have been practicing with High elbow position.

    What is your preference for beginner lifters regarding elbow positioning. It is now the new controversy, Elbow down and out or Elbows High and in.

    • I’m a happy medium guy. Elbows at 45 degree angle allowing for a shelf with your shoulders and allows for your whole hand around the bar. I wrote an article previously on this if you’re really interested.

  2. This is my biggest weakness in the jerk – the forward inclination of the torso during the dip and drive – what would be some good sets/reps to do with this exercise and when/what should the process of going back to Jerking close to max weight look like?

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  8. Great video. My problem is that my front/lunge foot goes first before my back foot. Any ideas how I can fix this? thanks so much!


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