Foot lift in Jerk technique

Comparison of high and low foot lift in the Jerk

Illustration comparing the time difference between high and low foot movement in the Jerk by Leo Isaac
A time differential of 0.08 seconds represents 20% of the time take to move feet

The degree of foot lift in the Jerk is an intrinsically important factor in the time taken for the athlete to move into the receiving position, and this factor can be the difference between success and failure in the lift. The illustration above compares low and high foot lift scenarios in the movement of the feet in the Jerk. In both scenarios, the first foot position drawn (marked 1) is the bottom of the dip phase and the last foot position (marked 5) is the first moment in which both feet are firmly planted on the floor. The position of feet has been drawn from frames extracted from video at 100 frames per second and an eight-frame time difference (0.08 seconds) was found between the two illustrated scenarios. This difference is significant and the low foot lift scenario represents a time saving of 20%. This time saving enables the athlete to more quickly move into the receiving position and can be the difference between success and failure in achieving a lockout of the elbows under the bar. Coaches should therefore encourage athletes to practise low foot lift in Jerk technique with and without a barbell and develop high levels of proficiency in moving feet fast and low to the ground. Although it is not uncommon to see good athletes with high foot lift in the Jerk, this should not be considered an exemplary technique.

Importance of speed under the bar

The time taken by the athlete to move into the receiving position is just one factor of many upon which success in the Jerk will depend. Coaching cues often focus on driving the bar high to give the athlete time and space to move under the bar, lockout elbows and support the bar. However, at elite levels of lifting, the reality of the Jerk is that the upward drive phase elevates the bar not much more than 20-25 centimetres from the shoulders for lifters of average height. It is much more probable that success in the Jerk depends on the ability of the athlete to move downwards into a low and strong receiving position at great speed.