How Do I Get Under the Barbell Faster?

December 31, 2016

How Do I Get Under the Barbell Faster?

By Jenna Torres, Coach and Trainer

Break Parallel Contributor


When new lifters are first learning the jerks...both Split Jerk and Push (Power) CrossFit and Olympic Lifting, they often ask, "How do I get under the barbell faster?"


When we are sending weight overhead, you want to push yourself under the bar in the Power Jerk (also known as thePush Jerk) and Split Jerk. It often takes a lot of practice to understand this concept.


When we throw weight over our head it looks like we are doing a lot of pressing with our shoulders, but in fact there isn’t a whole lot of pressing going on in the jerk. What we are actually doing is driving the bar up with the strength and power of our legs and hips, then pushing against the bar and driving our body under the bar.


If we catch the bar with our arms slightly bent then we are either trying to push the bar up with our arms too much or we are not getting under the bar fast enough. We see this problem in the clean and snatch as well. People will try to pull the bar up instead of pulling themselves under the bar.


Regardless of what lift we are doing (clean, jerk, or snatch) we have to fight the body's instinct to rely more on the shoulders than the legs and hips. The muscles in the legs are way stronger and bigger than the muscles in the shoulders, and the strength, power, and speed of the hips is something many beginners underestimate or don't yet know how to use to their potential.


Learning how to push yourself under the bar in the jerk will benefit all lifters and athletes regardless of their level. It will also translate over to many other movements that don't even require a barbell.


The drill in the video is called the “Tall Jerk”. If you have a hard time getting under the jerk, you feel like you always have to press the bar out at the top, or you simply are working on jerk technique, this is a great drill.

Tall Jerk Drill

  • Start with a PVC pipe or an empty barbell.
  • Feet start in your drive position (under your hips or slightly wider).
  • You can start fully extended (ankles, knees, and hips) or with your heels on the floor. Push the bar up to about the middle of your forehead.
  • Have a full grip on the bar.
  • Simply push your body down under the bar by pushing against the bar and driving yourself down.
  • Make sure you do not press the bar up, the bar shouldn't go much higher than where this exercise starts.

This drill works really well for the split jerk, but I've also found it helpful for the power jerk.

Try this out before you do jerks next time and let us know if you notice a difference in your jerk!


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.