SPLIT vs POWER JERK
The question, "What is better for me to split jerk or power jerk" is one of the top questions at any of my seminars. This is quite natural since the two exercises are visually and technically different, but at the same time, there are many athletes, both using split jerk and power jerk. There is also the problem that athletes try different styles and over time come to the conclusion that each of the exercises has its strengths and weaknesses. Another important point is that some athletes have an individual preference “I like and want to do just push jerk,” as well as anatomical and functional prerequisites: strength and speed qualities, coordination, flexibility, mobility.
I suggest analyzing and comparing these styles to form a conscious understanding that will help each athlete to make their right choice in favor of a particular style of jerking.
Let's start with the advantage of Split Jerk - power efficiency. Working with maximum weight, athletes who use power jerk are forced to catch the bar as low as possible, often in a deep squat position. Imagine that after the hardest clean, the athlete performs a jerk and again finds himself in a deep position from which he needs to recover again. Not everyone has the strength to perform it. The Split Jerk has an advantage - stability, since the height of the bar fixation is much higher, and the support area is larger. In my opinion, this can explain the fact that, according to statistics, women are more likely to use the Split Jerk, as compared to men they have a lower "reserve of strength". It is also important to remember that perfect technique can compensate for the lack of strength.
Another significant advantage of the Split Jerk is the ability to complete the lift even after some small technique mistakes. A common and frequent mistake is a short drive, after which the bar is slightly ahead, and the athletes are forced to "catch it up". Many athletes do it successfully from the split position. In a power jerk, this is almost impossible.
Speaking about the disadvantages of Split Jerk and the advantages of the Power Jerk, we must focus on the amplitude of dropping in a squat position with the barbell directly over your head. In split jerk, this height is limited by the depth of the lunge at which the athlete can stably balance under a heavy weight. Athletes in the light and medium weight categories who power jerks, as a rule, work out the fixation of the bar in a deep squat position, which allows them to successfully lift the heaviest weights. In truth, if an athlete power jerks he must be ready to squat jerk, not only theoretically.
An important advantage of the Power Jerk is simpler mechanics and coordination of the movement: the action is performed in one plane. The angles and structure of the movement have many similarities to the squat. The split position has a more complex structure and a lot of technical variations both in the work of the feet and in the coordination of the whole body.
Thus, if the athlete has a reserve of leg strength, then a squat jerk may be his best choice. If the athlete is agile and coordinated, he should concentrate on the Split Jerk. I would definitely not recommend a power jerk for tall athletes.
It is unlikely that someone will explain to you exactly why it is better to split or power jerk. History knows many world-class athletes who changed their jerk style several times.
I will advise beginners based on the experience of the Soviet weightlifting school, which I consider one of the best. The most effective way to figure out which jerk style is best for you is to try everything. In the first few years of training, inexperienced athletes should use in their program: the traditional Power Jerk, squat jerk, and also Split Jerk on both legs. This will help develop coordination and flexibility, strengthen stabilizing muscles, and increase functionality. Over time, the desire and feeling of movement will help you choose one of the exercises.
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