T Nation

Setting Up the Hands for the Jerk


Does anyone do this? I have been looking at how Dabaya sets up for the jerk. He pulls his elbows down. I started doing this a while back (athough I cannot get my elbows pulled vertically down). It seems to help me to get a solid upright push on the bar.


it helps me. although im no pro, i try to keep my elbows down when setting up for the jerk. almost no lifters jerk with their elbows at 90 degrees to their torso.. you just cant get enough drive. try overhead pressing with your elbows perpendicular to your torso and then try the same weight with your elbows in the 30-40 degree range. you just drive better with your elbows down.


the drive is almost entirely with the legs but yes keeping the elbows down does help, as long as the bar doesn't travel down your shoulder/arm during the dip and drive and your shoulder and arm stay at the same angles during the dip and drive.

Besides that he moves his hands out which if you can do it and hold the bar overhead, its good IMO. I can't do it without a lot of trouble still. Need more flexibility and shoulder mass to be able to do it easily. If I could, I would.


i dunno. i thought you were supposed to drive it up with your hips.


Undoubtedly. But, while locking out overhead, there is of course a huge amount of resistance the arms and shoulders have to deal with. I have found that (with the bar racked across my shoulders) setting up my hands in a wider position, with the elbows held down as much as possible, helps me to get a more solid lockout. I don't think Anyone is suggesting you should just push the bar up. That you should dip and use your hips/legs to initiate a jerk is not relevant or of interest: it's the performance AFTER that phase which I am interested in.

I just want to know if people think it's ultimately a good idea. Dabaya does it, but, well, he's Dabaya. Most lifters don't seem to. They just seem to dip in the normal racked position and then transition QUICKLY (!) into the overhead lockout. What are the pros and cons of both methods (if any)?


the con to having a wider grip is that you might not be able to hold it overhead and you can't drive it as much(which is offset by the barbell having to move less distance) and whether or not you can dip and drive properly(if the bar is resting easily on your shoulders).

That's really all there is to it as far as I know.


i think there has been a discussion about this before... i seem to remember people discussing it... i suppose i could use the search function...


OP it makes zero difference on where your hands are, close hands, wide hands, elbows low or high...I read a 7000 word document on this. Google russian weightlifting text and you'll be able to find it. Tn will probably delete my post here...

Jerk = all legs drive

If the bar doesn't get near to lock out height you have ZERO CHANCE of getting it no matter how strong your triceps etc are. If it's in front you will not get the Jerk also.

Find a position that is comfortable for you and focus on making your dip and drive consistent, straight and powerful.



Yeah I am having problems in terms of flexibility and shoulder mass - mostly shoulder mass. It takes some thick pronounced front deltoids to keep the bar racked on the shoulders and not on the wrists. And another associated problem I have is that when I dip the bar crushes the wrists even more. But it's true that some of the heavier lifters never seem to really hold their elbows up much at any stage of the CJ. They just load the bar onto their massive deltoids and get ready to jerk from there. For a smaller lifter, positioning the deltoids is much more important.

I think I will just continue to try and do it and hope the required flexibility will come. It's not as if Dabaya has MASSIVE shoulders.


I find that if I don't keep my elbows up I have trouble keeping the bar resting on my delts, too. The problem is getting a bit better for me... Think it might be that I'm getting used to the feeling of being choked.


Thanks for the input Koing.

So if it's all about leg drive, then a lifter's jerk is ultimately limited to how high he can drive the bar up (as you say).

A wider grip of course means that the bar will be locked out at (and therefore needs to be driven up to) a lower height. Is this not an advantage? I mean the aim isn't to hold the bar as high as possible, the aim to simply to lock out your arms - why not make it a little easier by putting the bar in a lower postion? Or maybe I should ask, does it - in the end - actually make it a little easier - or am I missing something here?

To me, Dabaya's jerks seem very efficient.


Haha, yes there are a few ways in which C&js toughen up a person. Getting choked by the bar seems to be one.

I am sure overall strength in the shoulder girdle is also very important. Muscle aside, bones and joints also have to adapt to greater weights.


It is all about the leg drive. No leg drive = no Jerk. A person WILL NOT be able to Jerk heavy without a decent dip and drive.

The wider grip doesn't actually make any real difference. Just look at all the lifters with their various width grips. Not one of them is really consistent or we'd all be doing it wide or narrow. Any length is fine as long as you can do it and your comfy with it. A few go uber wide like Dabaya, even less go really narrow and just outside shoulder width. Most are wider then shoulder width. Just find something that is good for you and go for it.

I do know that if when you dip your wrists are feeling the bar then your position is incorrect. The bar should be solely resting in such a way as your wrists are not feeling the weight what so ever.

Dabaya has also not lifted well over the past 3yrs or so...

If you can go uber wide with low elbows go for it. If your wrists feel the weight then your position is incorrect. Try front squating with your wrists holding the weight = no way you'll FS much weight.



You might be tilting forwards from your hip when you dip. Side on vids would help.

So if it's all about leg drive, then a lifter's jerk is ultimately limited to how high he can drive the bar up (as you say).

Along with how low she can get her ass under it to catch it with arms locked out. And then stand that up, of course. People don't seem to dip low with split jerks, though. Most don't seem to dip low with squat jerks, either. Dimas seemed to catch his power / squat jerks at around a 1/4 squat position.

I have heard that the shoulder girdle is important for jerking. Not quite sure why. If it is to secure the weight overhead or if you are meant to shrug the bar up to help it along (or maybe use shrug to pull yourself under)?? I'm fairly new to jerking...

A wider grip of course means that the bar will be locked out at (and therefore needs to be driven up to) a lower height. Is this not an advantage?

Yes. That does make sense. I guess the bar is more stable overhead with the arms straight up from the shoulders?

I don't know.


Yeah the bad wrist position is with the wide grip, shoulders pulled down (as much as possible) - and in the dip section when the bar falls. It just, for less than a second, wrenches the wrists. It's hard to predict or foresee.

I will continue using this method as long as the flexibility starts to slowly come.

What I see in most lifters (like you yourself Koing) is that you'll initiate the jerk with the bar racked as it was in the clean. What I find is that I cannot transition naturally from my 'racked clean' position to a good 'overhead lockout' position (problems with balance and coordination). Now you are a far more experienced lifter than me, so I shouldn't compare us, but I still need to decide on the best way for me myself to attempt to do it! I'll keep experimenting, thanks


Mine are too high. I'm lowering them down slowly. I had a really bad habit of having the bar roll down my shoulders a bit if my elbows were not high. Another issue with my Jerk is that my feet are too wide to start with. I'm slowly making them closer but it feels seriously unnatural but I'm losing a lot of power by not having my feet a bit closer.

Work on your mobility so you can rest the bar across your deltoids without having to forceably hold the bar with your wrists. It helps if you can raise your deltoids up forwards.

Tuck your hip a bit before you Jerk. Make sure you can dip and drive straight. Dip and drive with a wall directly behind you. If your hips hit it, your leaning forwards = bad! Then you got to learn to do it with 1.5x your bodyweight!

I'm good around 120-125, around 130-140 it's touch and go.