Olympic Weightlifting is a precise sport with many rules. One of them is that you have to lock the bar out overhead in the jerk.
This is a great lockout:
As you see, the arms are extended, elbows locked, bar secured overhead.
Part of the rule on the jerk is that this position must happen sans pressing out the arms:
Look at his left arm (right, from our angle)
In this case, he had the bar properly locked out, but then his arm rebent and he had to press it straight.
Here is somebody else who struggles with the lockout:
He gets the arms most of the way there, but then has to strain to get them fully straight.
For some, this issue is a constant problem, while for others, it’s a once-in-a-while thing.
So how do you solve this problem when it arises?
Press – Let’s start with the basics. We need to feel a solid overhead position, and the easiest way to do this is the press. Like in the GIF below, start with the bar at the shoulders, and while only using the arms and shoulders, press the bar overhead. Focus on turning the biceps outward (to the front). This helps extend the elbows and puts the strain on your bone structure, instead of your muscles.
Push Press – Now incorporate legs into the movement. With the bar in the same starting position as the press, bend your knees like you would in a jerk. Then drive upwards, first with the legs, and then with the arms. Once again, focus on getting that solid lockout, biceps out.
Jerk Balance – It is time to add the split back into going overhead. Start with the bar on the shoulders. Then split the legs roughly 2/3rd’s of the distance of your normal split. With the majority of the weight on the front foot, jump the front foot forward while driving the bar overhead.
Jerk - Go back to normal jerks, maintaining solid lockout while building the weight back up.
- Use some combination of the press-push press-jerk balance to rebuild confidence in the right positions. Typically 3 sets of 5 reps on each exercise will work fine, but feel free to adjust based on need.
- If you always struggle with the jerk, perform this series as a warm-up each lifting session.
- If it’s a one-time thing, drop to a light weight and do these drills before building the weight back up.
What other drills or cues do you use to fix problems with your lockout?
- The Olympic Weightlifting Guru
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