Benefit of the behind the neck split jerk


I don't pull these out the drill bag too often. When I do, it's usually in response to the way the split jerk has been executed within a WOD recently. Showing a deviation from technique and/or a laziness creeping in through the use of an "easy weight"  for the individual in relation to the movement.

So, what does the behind this mnovem,enmt give us as a benefit against the normal split jerk? Well, there is no distraction in moving that bar around the face and back into a locked out position above the shoulders. It also simplifies the move in order to focus more on two very important aspects of form, feet placement and the finish position of bar.

Shoulder mobility is an issue for a wide number of people. Getting the bar into the right finish position is not easy for some. The feeling of when a bar is sitting directly over the shoulders is alien to a lot. Either their shoulder girdle and musculature is greatly restricted through lifestyle or previous training, or there is just simply a feeling that it is too far behind them and they are going to drop it.

Either way the behind the neck bar position allows the body to be set up to direct movement vertically, ensuring the bar is driven directly into the finish position.

Moving down the body to the feet. Once the bar is moving above the body in a more direct fashion the central nervous system has less to process and can direct its energies to the placement of the feet.

Common faults that creep in are a misunderstanding in body movement and poor body position in relation to the front foot. There are a number of other faults that can be identified, however, they are almost always resolved more effectively through other drills.

As soon as full extension has been achieved the objective is to move the feet in order for the body to drop under the bar. This requires committed movement, not a jump, not a step forwards or backwards, but a drive into the receiving position. Landing cleanly on the front foot, spreading weight equally between the ball of the foot and the heal. All to often we see the front foot land on the ball and the knee coming forward. This results in a forward inclination of the body, an over arching of the lower back and a tilting of the pelvis which all comes together in balance and back issues. Add the fact that the intensity on shoulder mobility is increased, usually means, the bar ending up in front of the shoulders and that's it. you're not pulling that one back very easily!

With the bar behind the neck starting position it's very easy to ensure upright torso and good alignment of the hips, allowing then a vertical drive and dip under. This lets the focus move far more to leg speed and foot placement.

Use this exercise to address issues in your split jerk but remember, seeing the faults, knowing the solutions and affecting a change is what your coach is trained for and has years of experience on a daily basis putting into practice. Listen to the cues, watch the visual demonstrations and follow.

Andy Stewart