Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jerk work

After my last post I posted several videos on IGX of my Long Cycle practice with the "pumpkins", AKC's orange 28kg kettlebells.
Although I've been steadily increasing my ability to lift them, a number of experienced lifters and coaches told me what I already knew:
My technique stinks.
To be more accurate, the jerk portion of my Long Cycle lift stinks. The cleans are pretty good. And, according to more than one authority, I will never truly progress until I improve my jerk technique.
So the last couple weeks I've been doing some remedial jerk work. To make sure I improved my speed with the bells (one major issue I have), I've dropped back down to the 24kg bells for jerks. I must say I'm not thrilled by the idea, but honestly, it had to be done. Its best to use a comfortable weight when working on technique.
The last couple weeks, I've done a set (or two, or three, or more) of 2x24kg jerks. After that I switched to 2x28kg cleans.
The cleans have actually been pretty easy.
The jerks, not so much. Part of the reason I chose Long Cycle as a specialty is my discomfort with jerks. With Long Cycle, if the bells don't sit right on your forearms, you can reset them by virute of the mechanics of the lift. With the jerks, you are stuck with the position you choose in the beginning. If your wrist gets bent back, you are toast. End of story.
I'm sure that biathlon specialists know how to set the wrists to make this less likely. But that doesn't really matter to me. Long Cycle, to me, is the perfect lift. It has the jerks of biathlon, plus double cleans (which I find superior to the one armed snatch).
For now, though, I do the jerks. I'm looking forward to my return to pure Long Cycle work.

Here's one of my jerk sets:

Here's my work with cleans:


  1. David don't get discouraged. Like you, I made tremendous strides very quickly based on pure strength. However, eventually things catch up with you when the weight gets heavy enough. I am a true believer that heavier bells will amplify your technique weaknesses. Last year after the Arnold, I thought i would progress through the 28's just as fast as I did with the 24's......now 1 year later, I still find myself working the 28's. Keep putting in the reps and your technique will improve and you will eventually hit CMS.

  2. Thanks for your insights and encouragment, Matt. Yeah, the heavier weights do show our weaknesses.
    I had a really good set the other day: 2x28kg LC 5:00 41 reps, 8,8,8,8,9. I think I figured out the key to my progression with the 28's, but now I have a new "problem" that's getting in the way. The "problem" will be the subject of a new blog post soon.