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The squat jerk is a rare style of jerk infrequently used in competition, and even more rarely used in training by athletes who don’t use it in competition.
Secure the bar in the jerk rack position
with the feet at approximately hip-width and the toes turned out slightly. Keep the weight balanced on the heels while maintaining full foot contact with the floor. Bend slightly at the knees only, keeping the trunk vertical and the weight on the heels. Transition immediately at the bottom of this dip and drive aggressively with the legs against the floor to accelerate the barbell upward. As you finish the extension of the legs, begin pushing against the bar with the arms, quickly lifting the feet and transitioning them into your squat stance, punching the arms into a locked-out overhead position as you sit into a squat. Recover to a standing position with the bar still overhead. If the thighs never pass below horizontal in the squat, the lift is a power jerk
, not a squat jerk.
Because of the extremely low receiving position, the squat jerk requires less elevation of the bar for the athlete to get under it. However, it requires excellent mobility, precision, overhead stability and leg strength.
The squat jerk can be a lifter’s chosen style of jerk in competition. As a training exercise for athletes who don’t use it in competition, it has fairly limited utility. It can be used to train overhead strength and stability for the jerk and even snatch to some degree, as a way to improve mobility in the bottom position (although there are better choices for this), and as some variety in training to have fun or keep a lifter mentally fresh.
Sets of 1-3 reps are suggested with weights anywhere from 70% to the lifter’s maximum power jerk. Generally this exercise should be performed following any snatch variants and possibly before clean variants depending on what the intended emphasis of the workout is. With light weights, it can be used to work on overhead stability and mobility before a jerk workout.
The squat jerk can be performed without the feet leaving the floor. It can also be performed from behind the neck.