T Nation

Bent Back Knee When Jerking


I've asked this question somewhere before but didn't get any response (I think). Anyway, I noticed that some people bend their back knee when jerking (like Koing). What's the benefit of this? What do you think people should know when they want to try it?



it lets you go lower in the catch, just like getting the front foot as much forward as possible lets you go lower too. Personally I try (and fail) to send my front foot as forward as possible and let the weight on the bar decide how much my back knee will bend. The reason I don't just go as low as possible compeletely is 1) it counts as a miss if your knee touches the floor and 2) the lower you go, the harder it is to recover.

You generally should bend it at least a bit.

I don'tget the last question... you should try it if you want to try it! I assume you already jerk but keep the back leg tight?


Allows you to be in balance, with a bent back knee it pushesy our hips more 'square' and your hips to be more inline with your shoulder and the bar. If you look from above the bar, elbow, shoulder, hip should be roughly in line

If your back leg is straight most people will have their hips twisted and they'll twist, ping in to position and ping back out if they are not flexible enough, some people who are flexible won't 'bounce' out of position but most will.

Straight knee = your leaning forwards and your hips will most often be behind the bar

Bent knee = the typical and general way the Jerk is taught

Not all lifters do it at limit but I'm pretty sure most can do it at lighter weights. Remember not all big lifts or WR are PRETTY LIFTS.

IMO the Jerk should be taught with a back knee bend. Your technique only gets worse as the weight goes up. It rarely improves!

***What do you think people should know when they want to try it? ***
Do it with an empty bar and progress the weight up.
If you can do it and recover with your front foot first, meaning it steps backwards and then your back foot goes forwards to go inline then chances are your split is more balanced.
If you recover with your back foot going forwards chances are you were not balanced in your split.



Also allows you to go lower. Totally forgot that!



It seems pretty scary for me as a beginner lifter to try to bend my back knee because I fear I might fall over, hence the question (also what's the good way to learn to do it). Yeah I keep my back leg straight.

Anyway, thanks to you and Koing for the input!


Ah, yeah it is scary in case the weight crushes you, but really that would only happen in a bad day. One bad day I had this happen to me:

Just like her I just stood up and didnt really hurt, though I did let the bar drop much faster. But anyway, I think crap like that happens on bad days if you have decent technique

I PERSONALLY don't think you should learn to have your knee bent like 1 inch off the floor, but definitely learn to bend it a decent amount. Do it the way koing said, just like anything in weightlifting(especially olympic).. start low weight and increase as comfort allows it.


Just do it with an empty bar and build up. It's foolish to go heavy in a new exercise. ALWAYS build it up. It's easy to not get injured. Just get out of the way of the bar!

The knee should be bent such that your hips are under your shoulders or there abouts. If you are flexible then it's good. If not work on it.



Koing, personal favor and maybe something paperclip would like too.

Could you get(or find) a couple of pics, one showing hips not under your shoulders, and one showing the hips being under your shoulder in the jerk?


Hips under shoulder, notice the textbook recovery. This was a training PB lift at the time.

Look at my other videos for hips not under shoulders. That would be about 95% of my videos

Most of the Jerks are good here, a few of the later and heavier ones aren't as nice and you can see my hips being behind my shoulders.



I think I get it. Thanks mate


Completely agree with this.



In this a little late but here's my two cents.

All lifters should bend the back leg somewhat at the knee. If you keep that leg straight, it will invariably draw the hips "out the back" and eliminate the correct support for the bar above, which should be a column of bar-shoulders-hips supported by a pyramid of bracing front and back legs. You will end up taller with the bar forward.

I will add that I never teach lifters how far they should be trying to get their front leg or back leg out but emphasize getting both feet back to the platform as quickly as possible, in proper relationship, after the proper drive in the jerk has been accomplished. I think training individuals to step through with the front foot or drive back with the rear foot ends up actually taking away from the drive portion of the Jerk, which is critical.

Also, remember that the back leg should be bent at the knee (slightly for most) and the foot should be dorsi-flexed and the forefoot grounded. The front leg should be bent more at the knee, causing the shin to be vertical and the front foot should be turned in slightly. The lifter shoud concentrate on putting his front heel down, rather than the forefoot, as the latter can often lead to the knee ending up too far foward.

And, of course, the final position of the feet should not be any closer to the front-back midline than they started.

The split, in my opinion should not be thought of as steps but putting legs in a bracing position supporting the torso and bar above.


I've been trying to learn this style since I made this thread and it definitely helps my shoulders because the jerk is less harsh.

BTW I looked at the mirror in the gym and my legs when jerking were like this:

I thought they would be straighter but actually it wasn't the case. What's the correct form?

@ CoachMc, thanks for your input!


Only your foot should be turned in, the knee and lower leg (calf) is roughly in line with your upper leg (thigh). The lower leg may tilt slightly inwards to your centre line (draw a line where from your sack to the floor) but your foot should be turned in slightly. It's no real big issue if you don't do this.