T Nation

Crushed Hands Trying to Jerk = No Drive


When clean and jerking, I am having trouble going from rack to jerking.
Reason is, with my hands bent so far back and the barbell is resting on my shoulders in rack position, I cant seem to get any drive and place my hands in a decent position to drive the bar up and drive myself under (even though 90% of the move is me dipping under) I cant seem to get my hands in position.

Ive been doing the bounce at the top of the front squat part of the clean and re-adjusting my hands to have a slightly wider grip to be able to jerk it up easier. But its just crushing my hands.

I used to be able to clean and jerk 100kg but after a years rest, down to 70kg snatch and 80kg clean and jerk which is insane. Should be at least 90kg on clean and jerk if my snatch is 70kg.

Getting annoyed. Any tips or videos I can watch to help get into good habits with the jerk?
Trying to power jerk or squat jerk as I always have. I enjoy those movements more than split jerk


wrist flexibility?

i think (though i'm not entirely sure) that the bar is supposed to rest in the meaty part of your hand down low by your thumb. takes some flexibility to get your hand there in the rack position, though. hands a bit wider than your shoulders.


actually thats one of the good things ive got going for me, flexible, ex gymnast, good hand/wrist mobility

i think you are onto something though, defintaly feels like im holding the bar with my fingers when in rack position, will try to get it closer to my thumb/bottom of my palms!


sometimes people say something to me too about dropping my elbows. up high in the rack. then dropping them down vertically so the bar is supported on the end of your arm - but low down your hand, if that makes sense. like for the start of a press.


I've been getting the "elbows" down advice too, though I've never heard any reasoning for it. Perhaps the knowledgable people here can explain it.

One does definitely need to have the bar closer to, or in, the palms before jerking though, or at least the ability to get it there before completion of the jerk after the start of the drive. The torque on the wrists/hands can get to be just too much otherwise.


I've heard that bringing the elbows down in the rack will make the jerk faster, I assume by increasing the speed off your shoulders due to your arms being in a better position to apply force before the bar leaves your shoulders.



Having a 'tense grip' will slow the jerk down as your tense and your arms muscles will have to untense first, relax then tense, and instead of going from a relax to tense state.

A few coaches I've heard say have lower elbows to push on the bar but this is wrong. You should push yourself under the bar and start the push just before you finish the drive up after the dip. The 13k word document I read about how to Jerk said so! But with higher elbows there is less distance for them to travel to lock the bar then lower elbows...but it's going to be pretty f0cking m00t man...

To the OP:

Grip the bar in a front squat position. Raise one elbows up and the other down. Repeat for 35reps increasing range as and when they feel warm. Do this daily for 6 weeks. You will improve. I can grab the bar fully with high elbows, no big deal, but I choose to grab the bar with a fairly relaxed grip instead with high elbows as I have a habit of leaning slightly forwards when I Jerk heavy.



Yeah, it was really just one guy I think who brought it up with me (and I think he was parrotting something he read online somewhere), I tried it once but it did not feel good, I'm much more comfortable jerking with my elbows up higher.


Same here buddy. But I think for me this steps from when I was lifting early on I'd dip forwards so the bar would roll down, so to counter act this I'd have really high elbows. Now out of habit my elbows are high.

I did try lowering them down a tad but it felt weird, it felt like the bar was going to fall off my shoulders...I'll try and lower them a tad, but the main thing is the dip and drive and the feet split position with the hips following through. I got to focus on the bigger issues and I'll work on the smaller ones later.



Maybe one advantage of having elbows lower is to make the dip and drive better. Like you said koing, when you started you dipped forwards and this meant you have to have elbows high to keep the bar there. Maybe a knock on effect of having elbows low is it forces you to dip and drive straighter, keeping the weight on the heels


I think it's m00t the differences. It would be not something I'd say to a person lifting. The focus should be on a straight dip and drive.



This topic is actually pretty interesting because there are a lot of people that have differing ideas. I'll post a few videos of some top lifters and we'll watch how they do it. From personal experience I feel that if I have my elbows too high that it's harder to have a smooth and strong jerk. Part of the reason that this happens is the joint angle of the elbow as well as the shoulder. With your elbows "high" it's almost as if you were doing overhead extensions. With the elbows lower the positioning resembles more of a press than an extension. We already know which one allows for more force generation. Then again, "high and low" are relative to each of us so I would think that in the middle would be much more beneficial. This way you're able to dip straight down and get under the bar much faster, stronger, and smoother. The other thing is by gripping the bar too tight will take away from your jerk as well. Basically, keep the elbows in the middle, don't "overgrip" the bar, and get under after a good dip.

*Notice where the bar sits, how the hands are placed, and where the elbows are positioned.


It's no real big issue either way with low or elbows.

The low elbows = press more is a nisnomer as you don't press the bar up. You get under it and your better off time wise working on making sure the dip and drive is straight and your feet move properly. The elbows is m00t.



I worked it out today. I wasnt using my legs enough to drive the bar up before I dip under to catch it.
Wondered why i was struggling with weight that used to be easy for me. (NOT oly lifted in 2 years)

was just me having to get in to the groove and get the technique again. been a long time.

actually feels dead easy now, with elbows all the way up.cant believe such a small thing impacts it so much.
truly a technical sport.


Well it's been 2yrs mate! I took 4months out and some weights felt a f0ck load heavier...

As for the elbow it's personal preference. Some lifters prefer high and others low.