The use of weightlifting pulling movements are more common in strength and conditioning programs than the jerk and its variations (Weldon et al., 2020). The jerk variations include behind the head jerks, power jerks, squat jerks, push presses, push jerks, and snatch balances. The jerk actually shares a lot of the same benefits as the weightlifting pulling variations, such as power production, rate of force development and movement specificity. The jerk and it variations also have unique benefits that make it an important component for athletic performance training such as a quad dominant thrust, force transmission, and trunk stability.
Benefits shared with the weightlifting pull
The jerk and its variations are exercises with high power outputs, high rate of force development, and high levels of movement specificity to sporting actions (Chiu & Schilling 2005, Soriano et al. 2019; Lake et al., 2006). The peak power outputs for hang power cleans, push presses and jump squats are equivalent and each exercise could be used interchangeably for the development of power (Comfort et al., 2016). The peak rate of force development in the jerk is similar to the counter movement vertical jump (Lake et al., 2006). Therefore, the jerk and its variations are beneficial exercises for the development of power and rate of force development. The push jerk is a more similar movement to the counter movement jump than the jump squat (Cushion et al., 2016). This similarity makes it a good choice for improving jumping and sprinting ability (Soriano et al. 2019). Also, if the split position is used, in the jerk lead leg, bracing will be improved (Bartonietz, 1996). This is beneficial for throwing sports such as pitching, javelin and discus (Bartonietz, 1996). Further, the impact forces from the split are less than from loading recorded for cricket fast bowling (Lake et al., 2006). Therefore, it is a safe method to improve front leg bracing, power and rate of force development.
Unique benefits for the jerk and its variations
The unique benefits of the jerk and its variations include a quad dominant thrust, force transmission from lower body to upper body, and increased trunk stability. While both jumping and jerking display a distal to proximal recruitment pattern, this similar pattern increases the transfer of performance benefits (Cleather et al., 2013). The jerk and its variations are quad dominant because the trunk is forced to remain upright to support the bar on the shoulders (Comfort et al., 2016). The weightlifting pull is hip dominant (Comfort et al., 2016). The use of heavier loads in the jump squat can causes athletes to bend forward increasing the amount of hip involvement (Comfort et al., 2016). Therefore, jerking is a knee dominant activity and could be used to enhance athletes who are deficient in knee extension power (Cleather et al., 2013). The jerk and its variations require explosive triple extension of the hip, knee and ankle and the force transmission from the lower to upper body, which is a skill that is beneficial for athletes (Soriano et al. 2019). In a study of the push press in resistance trained men by Lake et al (2014), they found the push press to be comparable to the jump squat in terms of mechanical demand and lower body power production, but has the added benefits of providing a stimulus for upper-body pressing and trunk stability. Supporting weights overhead has been shown to be beneficial for the development of trunk muscles (Saeterbakken & Fimland, 2012; ErikssonCrommert et al., 2014). Also, the jerk is the lift with the greatest weights overhead (Hori et al., 2005). Therefore, the jerk and its variations have a great potential for training of the trunk stabilizers (Bishop et al., 2018).
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