Jerk Behind The Neck (Split Jerk Behind The Neck)
AKA Split Jerk behind the Neck, jerk bnk, BTN jerk, behind the neck jerk, neck jerk
The jerk behind the neck is a basic variation of the split jerk that places the bar behind the neck rather than in the normal jerk rack position on the shoulders.
Place the bar on the top of your traps with a clean-width grip (as you would for a back squat) and 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 the split position, punching the arms into a locked-out overhead position. Secure and stabilize the bar overhead before recovering from the split into a standing position with the bar still overhead.
With the bar starting behind the neck, it is already in the plane it should be in when overhead, and the trunk is already very slightly inclined as it should be in the overhead position, so the bar and trunk have directly vertical paths.
The most common errors in this exercise are leaning the trunk forward and pushing the hips back during the dip. While the trunk will begin and remain inclined forward slightly because of the placement of the bar behind the neck, it’s important that it not lean farther forward in the dip.
The jerk behind the neck can serve a few purposes. Because the bar and trunk begin in the same positions they will need to end up in the receiving position, the direct paths simplify the movement and the exercise can serve as a good teaching or remediation exercise for lifters who have trouble getting the bar behind the neck overhead when jerking from the front. It can also be a substitute for the jerk during periods of injury or pain in the wrists, shoulders or elbows that prevent jerking from the front. Finally, some lifters will be stronger and more confident from behind the neck, making the jerk behind the neck a way for them to get more weight overhead to develop both overhead strength and confidence in the jerk.
The jerk behind the neck can be programmed in the same way as the jerk—usually 1-3 reps from 70% up to the lifter’s maximum jerk, and sometimes beyond. It can also be used as a technique primer with light weights, or as light technique work at any time.
Jerks from behind the neck can be done with any of the jerk receiving positions: split, power, push and squat.