I got on the ol’ Skype for a session with one of my
private coaching clients yesterday – we’re prepping
him for the SFG2 in Italy.
We’ve been working on his jerk technique with what
I consider limited success.
Admittedly, that’s because I’m spoiled and when
working in person one-on-one with someone who’s
not 2000 miles away in another country, things just
move faster – like within an hour (as opposed to a
15 minute Skype session).
Anyway, this guy is a BEAST.
In the last 7-10 days he’s put on 10 pounds of muscle.
(If you’re interested in that kind of thing – I might
make his programming available some time in the
future as a beta test to make sure that he’s not
just a genetic super-freak.)
Also, he’s been working through, for lack of a better
term, some movement issues.
Since most of those have cleared up and his strength
has been going through the roof, I decided to do
some regression work for his jerk.
First thing, head position.
We are traditionally taught to look straight ahead
on our overhead work.
And for some people, this seems to work.
For others, if not many, it doesn’t – especially on
ballistic overhead work like the Push Press and
I suspect it has something to do with dynamic
postural control – or the body’s ability to control
your posture while moving.
As soon as that weight goes overhead, the body may
automatically move into flexion – compressing the
If you have any sort of lack of range of motion in
your shoulders then when your arms go overhead
they’re not going to go straight overhead.
They’ll move forward, so their no longer perpendicular
to the floor but in some sort of quasi- “Hail Hitler”
Or the elbows will bend.
Or some combination of the two.
I’ve seen people do Get Ups to hell and back for
shoulder and t-spine mobility and stability, along
with arm-bars and other non-traditional mobility
work and still not be able to get this lockout.
They may get it on the Press, fudge it / fake it
on the Push Press, and really mess it up on the
Has to do with that whole complexity of movement
A Press has less movement than a Push Press.
And a PP has less movement than a Jerk.
And that extra movement requires more control.
(Just because you can do something slow doesn’t
guarantee you can do it fast.)
So what to do?
What’s the #1 tip?
Again, looking at what the best in the world do
in their training, we rip them off and apply it to
Look at this picture:
This is 3x Olympic Champ and multiple world record
holder Naim Suleymanglou – a man with the highest
Clean + Jerk relative to bodyweight of all time –
3.16 times his bodyweight. (190kg/418lb at 60kg/
What do you see?
And this one.
This is Kakhi Kakhiashvili – also 3x Olympic Champ
and 3x world champion. His best C+J was 235kg/517lb
at a bodyweight of 90kg/198lb).
What do you see?
And that’s what you need to do:
Because it facilitates your “extensor reflex” –
the reflex that automatically puts your body in
extension – or makes your muscles responsible for
Why is this a good thing?
Because when there’s heavy weight over your head
you want the muscles on the back side of your
body contracting to keep yourself upright.
Not only that, it’s good for shoulder health.
This eyes up, head up position also enables you to
keep your shoulders externally rotated when over
If you drop your head, your chest will automatically
want to drop, and when your arms are overhead, they
will have a natural tendency to internally rotate –
Which has the potential to injure your rotator cuff.
(Been there, done that. Not fun.)
Second thing: And when the weight is over your head,
you want to focus on pushing up AND slightly back – hard.
And keep pushing once the weight’s overhead.
You’ll know you have this right when you feel your
lats contract hard. It’ll feel almost like a cramping
right below your shoulder blades.
Back to yesterday –
Once my client got this position, after about a whole
6 seconds, his response was,
“Oh Wow! Big difference!”
The weight just flew up and he finally got his jerk
because he got out of his own way.
It worked for him. It works for Olympians. It’ll work
Give it a shot and get back to me.