Foot Pressure in the Jerk.
All the coaches at GW will go on about keeping balance in your squat. Making sure your weight is over the centre of your foot and not shifted excessively towards either your heels or your toes. This strategy will put you in the best position to try and stand out of the squat with maximum efficiency. The primary principle at play here is that the centre of mass should be over the centre of the base of support. Shifts away from this create inefficiencies. However, this concept should not be thrown out the window with other exercises, and in fact will generally hold true with any strength-based exercises (sometimes as coaches we will deliberately shift your centre of mass outside the base of support but that’s for a different post).
One of the most important exercises where balance becomes a key factor is in the Jerk. When Jerking the aim is to move the bar as high as possible and to receive the bar at the height of the drive. For heavy jerks this may not be a very long drive at all. The idea is that the bar moves straight up. Not forwards, not backwards. This is achieved through a vertical dip and drive where the torso remains vertical throughout the entire drive phase.
One of the biggest issues that can cause people to drive forward is poor balance through their base of support (their feet). In the dip and drive, if the body is not balanced, the body will shift to achieve balance. We aren’t awfully intelligent creatures and will often over-correct and miss the lift. One of the common misconceptions in the jerk is similar to the squat, that the weight needs to be through the heels. This is often evident through the lifter fluttering their toes prior to commencing the lift.
This fluttering of the toes does 2 things.
- It reduces the base of support – Not having your toes in contact with the ground effectively reduces your margin for error in the dip and drive, and the chance that you are going to be able to keep the weight over your base is slim to none. Further, even if by some miracle you manage to do that, your drive phase will lack strength due to not having a large base to drive through.
- It causes a rocking motion in your dip – Think about what raising your toes does to your balance. It pushes you backwards. The way your body works to correct this is it pushes you forward. No ordinarily, your body would brake against being pushed forward by digging your toes into the ground (think the tripod foot). But oh wait, your toes are flying in the air because all you are thinking is HEELS!!!
Thankfully, this technique issues are fairly easy to correct. That tripod foot position you work for in the squat? Nothing changes in the jerk. Build a sold base starting at your feet to be able to effectively punch the bar vertically, with all the strength you work so hard for.
This blog post is dedicated to Richard Parker and his feet,
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