One week down on the Sugar Detox Challenge-How's everyone doing? Hopefully you all are doing alright and have fought through the cravings relatively unscathed! At this point, the benefits of cleaning up the diet and making better nutrition choices will start to show themselves in gain, improvements, and faster recovery in your workouts. Outside of the gym, even energy levels throughout the day could be noticeable, especially post-lunch.

Let's talk about split jerks. Chad Vaughn, two time Olympian, seven-time national champion, and American Record holder, wrote a great article, "The Split Jerk: From Start to Finish", for the CrossFit Journal breaking down the jerk and I draw a number of points from that.

The jerk is seemingly the simplest lift among the snatch, clean, and jerk; the head is the only obstacle from the rack position to overhead position and there is significantly less distance for the bar to travel; however, a major difference from the other lifts which require an explosive hip opening, the jerk requires the hip and shoulders to stay in alignment throughout the lift. This difference can be problematic for new lifters, but it can be remedied by a solid set up and awareness through lift execution.

The Jerk

  • Grip and Elbow Position. Going too wide or too narrow will limit your flexibility so experiment to figure out the best width for your grip. In terms of set up, there are two types: 1. bar in hand with elbows pointed downward and slightly ahead of the bar and 2. loose fingertips on bar with elbows as high as possible.  The second method, elbows high, takes a bit more to trust that you'll be able to get that bar overhead, but the jerk requires the legs to work as long as possible before the arms come into play and complete the jerk with that final punch.
  • Hip and shoulder alignment in the dip. Go slow and remain aware of keeping your torso upright. The dip does not need to be so deep to be powerful or explosive; a deeper dip (more squat-like) will actually throw the hips back and shoulders forward, meaning you exert more energy bringing that bar back in alignment for the jerk. 
  • Split position: "the front shin is vertical or slightly angled back, the back heel is elevated (up on the toes), there is a slight bend in the back knee, the feet from side to side are at least as wide as they were in the power stance, and the hips must be directly under the shoulders and the bar that is overhead. This is the position that will allow the weight to be centered and evenly distributed throughout the body." See image below for a graphic that shows the relative foot positioning in the split jerk. 
  • Recovery: The front foot moves back first to the point where the back foot will step up and meet in the middle to complete the lift.

Take time to slow things down and become aware of your body position through the set up, execution, and recovery. Positions that feel uncomfortable sometimes are the more ideal positions to be in. 


A. 5x2 Hang Cleans
B. 8 mins of Split Jerk Practice.

3 Rounds for Time:
30 DU
15 Box Squats 12"
10 Hang power cleans 135/95#