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Essential Components of Weightlifting Technique - part 3

Andrew Charniga, Jr.

Do not reproduce or republish in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. © 2004

The Application of Force to the Barbell in the Jerk

It should come as no surprise that the correct application of force to the barbell in the jerk involves the same mechanism that is crucial for the pull phase of the snatch and the clean. Effective utilization of the stretch reflex or the so called stretch shortening cycle is the key component of a successful jerk. Like the stretch reflex mechanism of the explosion phase of the pull, the switch from bending to straightening the legs in the jerk is "reactive" in nature.

The specific strength involved in the rapid switch from bending to straightening the legs in the jerk is called "reactive strength." "Reactive strength" is a specific quality of the neuromuscular system; this involves the display of a powerful force produced after a rapid switch from yielding work (eccentric contraction) to overcoming (concentric contraction) under conditions of a maximum dynamic loading at this instant (5).

The faster the switch from bending to straightening the legs, the more power produced; the faster the switch from straightening the legs to rearranging the feet in the descent under the barbell, the more effective the jerk. So, the emphasis in the technique of the jerk aimed at generating a lifting force on the barbell is the same as it is in the snatch and the clean; this is the most effective means of producing the "support reaction."

The Toppling Over Effect and the Jerk

The toppling over effect of the barbell on the athlete's balance is greater in the starting position for the jerk than for the pull phase of the snatch and the clean, i.e., it increases with the height of the barbell (20). Therefore, it is important the athlete assume the correct starting posture. The heavier the weight (relative to the athlete's bodyweight), the greater the significance of the toppling over effect on the successful performance of the jerk, i.e., the smaller the area of balance of the athlete barbell system within the shrinking area of support over the feet. (38,39,40)

The lifter needs to place his hips in the starting position such that the edge of the buttocks extends slightly beyond the heel of the shoe. The subsequent half squat should be executed such that the barbell moves in a vertical trajectory as much as possible from start to finish (38,39,40). The trunk shifts from down to up at a slight angle to the vertical during the half squat and the recovery or jerk proper phase in order for the barbell to travel in a vertical trajectory. The hips shift backward during this movement to counter balance the "toppling over" effect of the barbell.

If the lifter bends the knees for the half squat with the trunk in a vertical disposition, the common center of gravity of the athlete barbell system will shift forward along with the knees and ankles (40). This can reduce the effectiveness of the muscles of the lower extremities because the barbell shifts at a slight angle away from the lifter and increases the moment force on the aforementioned muscle groups. This, in turn, further increases the "toppling over" effect.

A deviation of few centimeters forward in the barbell's trajectory during the half squat and the jerk proper can result in a missed lift. The bigger the weight and the shorter the athlete, the more profound the affect of this forward shifting of the barbell.

So, the bigger the weight, the more difficult it will be to successfully jerk it unless the common center of gravity of the athlete barbell system remains within the shrinking area (with the increase in weight) of balance over the feet (38, 39, 40,48).

In the early to mid 1970s, some coaches and athletes observed (from still pictures and video) high class lifters performing the jerk by shifting the hips backward and performing the half squat with the trunk at a slight angle to the vertical. Incorrect interpretations of this element of the jerk created misconceptions about jerk technique.

The shifting of the hips backward was thought to be a form of "rotary" drive. It was believed that the lifter would endeavor to thrust the hips forward during the recovery from the half squat or jerk proper to compliment the working of the thigh extensors. The thrusting of the hips forward during the jerk proper would add to the force generated by the legs and conceivably result in a more effective jerk.

This idea appeared logical because it was also a popular notion (and still is) that "driving the hips into the bar" during the pull phase of the snatch and the clean was thought to provide the vertical lift necessary to "finish" the pull. However, the vertical force applied to the barbell is best developed in the jerk as it is in the pull by a concerted effort to push the feet into the platform.

Consequently, the weightlifter shifts his/her focus to generate vertical force on the barbell away for the legs which produce the vertical 'lifting" forces on the barbell most directly to the those which produce vertical force indirectly (the extensors of the trunk); the results are less effective.

In this particular case, the shifting of the trunk during the squatting and jerk proper with regards to the hips is connected with balancing the athlete barbell system and achieving a vertical barbell trajectory (38,39,40). Therefore, the disposition of the hips slightly rearward at the starting position of the jerk and the slight tilting of the trunk during the half squat has nothing to do with a "rotary drive" technique; however, it has everything to do with balance by reducing the force arm of gravity and a vertical shifting of the barbell during the half squat and the jerk proper.

A vertical trajectory in the jerk begins with the optimum balancing of the athlete barbell system in the starting position and continues through the squatting and recovery from the half squat. Unlike the universally acknowledged effectiveness of the curvilinear barbell trajectory of pull phase of the snatch and the clean, a vertical barbell trajectory is more efficient for the jerk because a) it is the shortest distance between the start and the finish, and b) it minimizes (more importantly) the toppling over effect of the barbell.

Therefore, one and the same aim is achieved in different ways with regards to the pull and jerk. The curvilinear shifting of the barbell in the pull reduces the toppling over because the barbell is shifted towards the body from the start; it is brought closer to the knee, hip and ankle joints to increase the efficiency of the working muscles. In the jerk, the barbell is already positioned over the working joints in the starting position. Consequently, the aim of the half squat, as far as the trajectory of the barbell is concerned, is to keep the barbell as close to the working joints as possible and not let it drift away during the squatting and recovery.

It is of interest within the context of this discussion to point out that in recent years some of the world's best weightlifters have adopted an unusual starting position for the jerk. After recovering from the clean the lifter either steps forward slightly with the foot that is to be placed forward in the split position or steps backward such that this foot is advanced forward of the one which is to be rearranged to the rear in the split position. It is unlikely that this peculiar disposition of the feet offers any particular mechanical advantage in so far as the ability of the lifter to generate a larger support reaction from the half squat and recovery.

However, since personal communication (50) and anecdotal evidence suggest that, 1) the lifter is typically unaware (50) he is doing this; and, 2) the athletes who do this typically are lighter lifters (Naim Sulemanaglu, Galabin Boevski) it may be an unconscious reaction to the greater toppling over effect the barbell exerts on the lighter athlete lifting a weight which exceeds his bodyweight to a larger degree than the heavier lifters.

This technique peculiarity is in all probability an effort to increase the area of support (balance) in the saggital plane (the fore aft direction) by simply "lengthening" the feet. With one foot advanced in front of the other the athlete has a larger area of support under the barbell just as he does in the split position of the jerk as opposed to the significantly less area support in the saggital plane offered by the "squat" style of jerking.

So, a close as possible vertical shifting of the barbell in the half squat and recovery or jerk proper allows the lifter to avoid the predicament of overcoming two significant obstacles simultaneously, to lift the barbell while at the same time to overcome the force of the barbell "dragging" the lifter forward.

The Application of Force to the Barbell from the Half - Squat

Key elements of effective technique of the jerk are the "braking" portion of the half squat and the speed of switching from bending to straightening the legs (41). The "braking" portion of the half squat is the athlete's opportunity to prepare to produce the fundamental lifting force which lifts the barbell in the jerk. The "braking" portion of half squat refers to that part of the movement where the athlete slows down and eventually stops the downward path of the barbell. The shorter this phase, the more power the lifter can produce from the legs (24,41).

The depth of the half squat segment of the jerk varies according to the height of the lifter and the weight of the barbell; on the average it is about 10% of the lifter's height (38). For example, the optimum depth of the half squat for a weightlifter who is 160 centimeters tall and lifting 97 to 100% of maximum in the jerk is 17.5 to 18.5 centimeters (38).

The athlete's "selection" of the optimum depth of the half squat is similar to how one instinctively "selects" the depth of the squatting for a vertical jump. You bend up to the point that you sense the most benefit in terms of producing the most vertical lift from the jumping muscles. This jumping "skill" is an innate feature of man's neuro-muscular system (47); that is to say, one already "knows" how to jump upward without special instruction. For instance, no one bends down into a full squat position to jump as high as possible; the joint angles of the knees, hips and ankles associated with deep squatting involve increasing the force arm of gravity and, consequently, the muscular moment, relative to these joints (40). Likewise, the larger amplitude of movement associated with bending into a full squat to execute a vertical jump means the muscles are stretched slower; the vertical force generated is less, and the height achieved is lower.

Therefore, the depth of the half squat has more to do with the athlete's sense of the effectiveness of the amplitude, speed, etc. of the movement than a precise measure in centimeters. Nevertheless, the half squat segment of the jerk is a comparatively short distance to first accelerate the downward path of a big weight, quickly "brake" its movement, and then instantaneously switch to straightening the legs with maximum effort.

The faster the switch from this "braking" phase of the squatting to straightening the legs, or the jerk proper, the greater the possibility of creating and coordinating the reactive forces of the quickly stretched muscles with those of the elastic deformation of the bar. The effective combination of these "reactive forces" means more motor units are recruited faster and more force produced.

The "beginning of thrust phase or jerk proper, to great extent, determines the end result of the entire exercise" (24). The speed with which the athlete stops the bar abruptly and then switches to forcefully recovering from the half squat helps to further bend the bar and, at the same time, is connected with the rapid recruitment of motor units. This in turn increases the height of the lift.

A weightlifter can produce 1/3 of the required barbell speed by effectively utilizing the elasticity of the bar. It is theoretically possible to increase this figure to 50% (20).

The lifter produces the largest force at the beginning of the recovery from the half squat and the largest power is generated at beginning of the second 1/3 of the recovery (24). Consequently, just as in the explosion phase of the pull, the lifter should not try to continue to straighten the legs fully before the beginning of the descent, but he/she should already begin preparing to switch from straightening to bending the legs for the split under the barbell in the jerk before the legs have fully straightened (24).

Therefore, the rapid switching of directions at the bottom of the half squat and the abrupt, accentuated beginning of the recovery generate greater power because the reactive forces of the stretching muscles are coordinated with the elastic bending of the bar to produce more power and, consequently, a more effective jerk.

The "Plateau" at the Bottom of the Half Squat and the Power of the Jerk

It has been suggested that one should stop in the bottom of the half squat briefly before beginning to straighten the legs. However, Zhekov (24) observed that the discs of the bar and the lifter's trunk can be moving in opposite directions at the instant of switching from bending the legs to straightening. He thought the combined forces of the weight of the barbell and the downward shifting of the discs were too great for the lifter's muscles to overcome effectively by immediately switching directions at this instant. Therefore, he believed a lifter should pause for approximately 0.2 to 0.3 seconds at the bottom of the half squat before beginning the recovery (24,41).

The Bulgarian school of weightlifting has taken considerable inspiration from Zhekov's ideas and research. Many of his ideas and theories have found their way into the training and technique of the Bulgarian weightlifters. For instance, the following exercise appeared in their training protocol for the 1980 Olympics: "jerks, stopping in the half squat before the thrust" (42). Apparently, this exercise was inspired by Zhekov's idea about the need to "pause" briefly at the bottom of the half squat. Evidently, the purpose of such an exercise was to prepare the lifter to overcome this difficult segment of the jerk by strengthening the muscles with an isometric contraction at this crucial point of the movement.

However, Zhekov's concerns were unfounded. Luchkin (8), Roman, Ivanov (38,39,40), Frolov (41), and others argued that there should be no pause at the bottom of the half squat. The weightlifter should immediately switch to jerking the barbell.

For instance, according to Verkhoshansky, "one's 'reactive' abilities under conditions of a large external loading for the most part depend on the isometric strength of the muscles and the 'stiffness' of the successive elastic components, particularly in those instances where the amplitude of movement is limited" (5). As a result, one's ability to generate an effective vertical force in the jerk proper phase of the half squat is connected with the isometric strength of the legs and the ability of the muscles involved to resist a "forced" stretching.

On the basis of this information, it would seem logical to perform jerks in training with a "pause" at the bottom of the half squat to strengthen the quadriceps muscles with an isometric contraction at the necessary, specific knee joint angle. However, Verkhoshansky (5) indicates that the ability to store and utilize elastic energy resulting from a quick elastic deformation of the muscles is effective only if the switch from the yielding to overcoming work occurs as fast as possible without a pause. When there is a pause, the energy stored from the yielding or stretching phase of a movement will be transformed into heat and will not be utilized for the subsequent contraction (5).

Research confirms this. Athletes, who take longer to "brake" the barbell, and, therefore, pause longer at the bottom of the half squat, generate less force against the support. Less force is transmitted to the barbell; this translates into a lower height to which the barbell is lifted (41). Furthermore, electromyo - graphic (EMG) research confirms the recruitment of motor units is faster which results in a shorter "braking" and "pause" at the bottom of the half squat (43).

There is probably little if any benefit derived from developing isometric strength in the legs from doing the jerk with a pause at the bottom of the half squat. When a lifter pauses even briefly at the bottom of the half squat of an actual jerk, the work performed in the "braking" phase of the half squat is dissipated into heat, i.e., the kinetic energy is not "reusable" in the recovery phase of the squatting.

In this instance, it is easy to confuse strength with skill. The skill the weightlifter needs to learn in order to develop the special strength required for the jerk is the speed with which the motor units of the working muscles are recruited at the instant of switching directions.

Taking into account the limited range of motion the legs are working in the half squat phase of the jerk, the very short time available to apply force to the barbell and the necessity to instantaneously switch directions from bending to straightening the legs, Frolov (41) suggested the following; "The athlete is already jerking the bar upward at the beginning of the 3rd phase."

Frolov's suggestion is valuable practical advice for the athlete. The lifter should not think of bending the knees to the bottom of the half squat and then quickly begin straightening them; however, the lifter should think of trying to "jerk" the barbell before reaching the bottom of the half squat. One executes the "braking" segment of the half squat by trying to switch directions as the legs continue to bend. Even this idea can be taken a step further (see "Begin with the End in Mind"{33}).

Switching Directions in the Half Squat Coordinated with the Elasticity of the Barbell from Bending to Straightening in the Jerk

Frolov's et al (41) study of the jerk revealed an extraordinary circumstance. Some of the lifters studied had already begun straightening their legs from the half squat while the discs of the bar were still moving downward. The bar was still bending and consequently the discs were moving in opposition to the vertical movement of the lifter's trunk.

Typically, the bend in the bar reaches maximum at the bottom of half squat (41). Therefore, this "instantaneous" switching of directions (from bending to straightening the legs) caused the bar to bend even more than one would anticipate (41).

There was still another extraordinary observation from the Frolov study. It is common knowledge that different weightlifting bars bend at different speeds 1* and the absolute deformation of individual bars is not uniform i.e., the heavier the weight, the more the bend (24).

The Eleiko bar was used exclusively for this particular study. This is arguably the fastest/strongest bar in the world in terms of its bending and rebounding speed. Consequently, the speed with which the lifters switched directions was incredibly fast considering the conditions under which the switching occurred. The instantaneous switch from bending to straightening occurred with a barbell of 200%+ of the lifter's bodyweight pressing down on the shoulders. The weightlifters of the study who were able "instantaneously" to switch from bending to straightening their legs before this "fast" bar could stop bending and begin to straighten were extraordinary skillful in displaying "reactive strength" under these conditions. 2*

According to Frolov's (41) data, athletes who have relatively low results in the jerk take longer to "brake" the barbell in the half squat, and, as a result, they generate a smaller support reaction. Furthermore, "these athletes 'plateau' or stop at the bordering instant between the third and fourth phases (up to 0.06 or 0.08 sec)"(41). A pause of 60 to 80 milliseconds before switching directions is an incredibly short period of time to be considered so "slow" that a pause of this duration is referred to as a "plateau." Furthermore, this "slow" switch from bending to straightening the legs occurs with a heavy barbell on one's chest, and the jerk segment of the lift has been preceded by a "fatiguing" clean.

The plant time of the take off foot in the long jump and high jump is around 120 milliseconds. This time encompasses the bending and straightening of the take off leg. Although the ground support forces produced in these jumps are generated by one leg, a high class weightlifter displays unparalleled reactive strength in the act of jerking a barbell. The optimum technique of the jerk involves an "instantaneous" switching from bending to straightening the legs under extreme conditions because the weightlifter has to:

  1. balance the athlete barbell system consisting of bodyweight plus 250 to 300% of bodyweight on the chest;
  2. overcome the extraordinary "toppling over" affect of the barbell to keep its trajectory within a shrinking area of balance over the support;
  3. switch instantaneously from straightening the legs from the half squat to an explosive switching of directions to descend under the barbell;
  4. balance the athlete barbell system with the barbell fixed overhead displaced over two new areas of support in the split position.

The switching of directions "without pause" from bending to straightening the legs in the half squat for the jerk creates a larger support reaction and a more effective jerk by combining the "reusable" kinetic energy of the rapidly stretching muscles with the "reusable" kinetic energy of the elasticity of the bar.

The External Structure of the Jerk as a Reflection of the Internal Acitivites of the Muscles

Medvedyev, et al. conducted an analysis of the jerk with respect to the "internal" structure of the exercise. Electro - myographic (EMG) data was analyzed in connection with the force applied to the barbell, movement time, etc, i.e., the external structure of the movement was analyzed as a reflection of the "internal" activity which produced it. The force the lifting muscles generate, which includes the inter-muscular coordination of the agonists/antagonists are reflected in the form of the movement they produce.

The EMG data confirmed the conclusions from earlier studies about the effectiveness of a quick, abrupt "braking" in the half squat and an instantaneously switching from bending to straightening the legs. "There is a negative correlation between the maximum support reaction and the length of the holding phase of the jerk, i.e., the 'holding' time should approach zero in order to effectively jerk the barbell."

"...it is obvious that the effectiveness of the muscular work in the jerk proper phase is higher if the braking phase, in which yielding work occurs, begins with a rapid mobilization of motor units and is executed rapidly. That is to say, the holding phase is actually nonexistent, i.e., the muscles switch immediately from yielding to overcoming" (43).

So, in the current era of weightlifting history, where weightlifters have lifted three times bodyweight in the clean and jerk, the "plateau" at the bottom of the half squat should be "nonexistent" with this colossal loading on the muscles of the lower extremities.

From what has been said, it should come as no surprise that the magnitude of the force the muscles generate in the "braking" phase and the instantaneous switch to jerking the barbell exceeds that which an athlete is capable in a dynamic or isometric muscular contraction at the same joint angles of the lower extremities. For instance, Sokolov (15) determined that the maximum support reaction of the half squat of the jerk exceeded the magnitude of force a weightlifter could generate under isometric conditions in the same position.

Therefore, not only do the muscles generate more tension in the half squat of the jerk than in an isometric or dynamic effort at the comparable joint angles, but this tension is created considerably faster. For example, it is known that a maximum isometric contraction requires up to 4 seconds (17).

For those looking for the "secret" to the jerk, look no further than the "reactive strength" of the lower extremities. This specific strength is the principle source of the power needed in the jerk to lift a barbell significantly heavier than is possible for a weightlifter to lift with the muscles of the upper extremities. Even a maximum isometric contraction does not produce the same muscular tension at the same joint angle in the half squat as the instant of switching from bending to straightening in the jerk.

The Application of Force in the Jerk During the Descent into the Split Position

The weightlifter needs to switch directions at the opportune moment in bi-directional explosive exercises like the snatch and the clean. This is to ensure that the vertical effort during the exercise does not become prolonged and, consequently, negatively impact the body's movements in the opposite direction. An excessive, prolonged effort in lifting the barbell during the pull leads to a slower passive descent under it in the snatch and the clean. The same is true for the jerk.

In the jerk (like the snatch and the clean) the arms are best utilized to push the body away from the barbell during the descent into the split or half squat. One should not "throw" the weight with the legs and then press the barbell up in the jerk. The use of the arms in the jerk is directly connected with the correct timing of the descent into the split position.

The arms actually "lift" the barbell in the jerk by pushing the trunk down and away from the bar. The actual force from the inclusion of the arms and shoulders in the jerk is much less (as it should be) than one would be able to produce in a pressing moment or even a push press. The speed of the switching directions from up to down precludes sufficient time for the arms to actively generate significant pressure on the barbell. The athlete avoids the "sticking point" that he/she encounters in the pressing exercises by moving the trunk away from the barbell in the descent. Consequently, the strength required of the upper extremities for the jerk is considerably less than one would expect.

The Force applied to the Barbell from Rearranging the legs in the Jerk

Considerable research of the biomechanics of the jerk (38,39,40,41,43,46,48) has shown that the explosive rearranging of the feet in the fore and aft direction during the descent under the barbell is a critical component to achieve the necessary barbell height. For instance, lifters in the light weight classes typically produce less than 50% of the required height of lifting from the half squat jerk proper phases (40). These weightlifters make up the additional height required to fix the barbell overhead from the interaction with the barbell in the descent (38,39,40).

The weightlifter should rearrange the legs explosively such that there is a timely, instantaneous switching from thrusting the barbell upward to pushing off into the descent. This allows the athlete to impart additional acceleration to the barbell while, at one and the same time, continuing to lift it during the descent. The faster the feet are rearranged in the split position and returned to the platform, the more force is applied to the barbell; less barbell speed is lost during the switching of positions.

The foot that is placed forward in the split imparts more acceleration to the barbell than the foot placed to the rear (38,39,40). According to Roman and Ivanov, "The force of the body's inertia (as the athlete lowers himself under the barbell) is transmitted to the barbell" (40). So, the principle forces applied to the barbell during the descent arise from the athlete explosively shifting his body into the split position. The timely and instantaneous switching of directions from thrusting the barbell up in the recovery from the half squat to descending under the barbell are critical for the athlete to effectively "realize" sufficient vertical lift and, at the same, time fix and stabilize the barbell overhead and the body beneath it.

The explosive rearranging of the feet in the jerk should be so fast that it seems to be a single action consisting of switching from straightening the legs to shifting the feet into the split position.

The speed with which the weightlifter's body as a whole and its individual segments move during the snatch and the clean has a profound effect on the lifting force applied to the barbell (8). The faster the speed of movement of the body as a whole and its separate kinematic links, the more force applied to the moving barbell (V.N. Tutevitch, 1955, cited by L.N. Sokolov {19}). The high speed of shifting the body and its segments is a crucial component of the jerk as well.

The rapid rearranging of the feet in the split position enhances the effectiveness of the jerk in essentially three ways:

  1. an additional acceleration is transmitted to the barbell with the explosive shifting of the feet in the fore and aft position, i.e., the kinetic energy of the body's movement is transmitteded to the barbell;
  2. a larger force is applied to the already moving barbell;
  3. a significant drop in barbell velocity achieved from the half squat/thrust phases is avoided.

A technically proficient descent under the barbell in the snatch, the clean, and the jerk involve the same skills; it requires the continued lifting of the barbell by means of the timely and explosive switching of directions and the highest speed of movement of the athlete's body and its individual kinematic links.

The Squat Style Jerk

The most widely employed technique of rearranging of the feet in the descent under the barbell for the jerk is the split style. However, a small number of weightlifters use the "squat style" jerk. Instead of scissoring the legs in the fore and aft direction, the lifter executes a half squat or, in some cases, a full squat to fix the barbell overhead in the jerk. This technique is neither new, nor particularly advantageous; consequently, it is unlikely to displace the dominance of the split style any time soon.

The principle difficulty associated with this technique is the same (but to a greater degree) as with the jerk in general; it is connected with countering the "toppling over" effect of the barbell.

It has already been pointed out that "as the amount of weight one lifts increases, the difficulty of jerking the barbell is due to the fact that the possibility of a stable support and balance are more limited... the heavier the weight, the smaller the area of support" (48).

The difficulty associated with the squat style jerk is that the athlete's support remains the same in the descent as it does in the half squat and jerk proper; it is confined to the area of the feet. In the split style of rearranging the feet for the jerk, the athlete can effectively extend the area of support in the saggital plane. With the "split" technique, it is easier to compensate for the forward "pull" of the barbell by shifting the body in that direction during the descent and, in doing so, extend the entire base of support in the saggital plane.

However, the only way the squat style jerker is able to offset the forward shift of the barbell from the half squat and jerk proper and maintain balance is to 1. lift the barbell strictly vertical or in a slight backwards trajectory, and 2. jump forward or descend lower and push the barbell backwards.

Jumping forward to secure the barbell overhead is less precise than splitting under the barbell; the base of support in the saggital plane still consists of the limited area of the feet. On the other hand, descending into a full squat increases the moment force on the joints of the lower extremities. Furthermore, the barbell has to be fixed overhead in the descent and recovery, while at the same time, the lifter has to overcome rather extreme conditions of balance because of the positioning of the barbell and the narrow hand spacing.

If one has the ability to lift the barbell significantly higher than is normal in the jerk as was the case of Yuri Vardanyan, then a shallow descent under the barbell is appropriate. According to Roman and Ivanov (40), Vardanyan's technique of descending under the barbell in the jerk with a very shallow split was "blindly" imitated without consideration of its biomechanical specifics.

Vardanyan could "push jerk" 220 kg. At the time his best clean and jerk was 222.5 kg. Consequently, the greater than normal height of lifting he achieved from the jerk portion of the exercise did not necessitate a lower, "normal" descent.

In Vardanyan's case, the reactive strength of the lower extremities, which is connected with the instantaneous switch from bending to straightening the legs in the half squat of the jerk, had been developed to an extraordinarily high level. Consequently, the subsequent lifting required to raise the barbell high enough to fix it on straight arms from the explosive rearranging of the feet was not as critical for him. The lower descent normally needed to straighten the arms was likewise unnecessary.

The half squat style of jerking would feel more natural for an athlete whose abilities were similar to Vardanyan's, but the insufficiencies connected with the greater (than the split style technique) difficulty to balance the "athlete barbell" system as the weight lifted increases is still the fundamental problem with this technique.


1. It is interesting to note that with the advent of sport research and the development of special sport science disciplines such as biomechanics that one can witness the interaction between research and practice and occasionally the gap between theory and practice. Science influences practice and practice inspires science. Zhekov's (24) research revealed what athletes consciously or unconsciously have been aware that utilizing the oscillation of the bar is an important element of technique.

Zhekov (24) had determined that the frequency of oscillation of the competition bars varied by manufacturer and the amount of weight loaded on the bar. He advised that lifters should train with the barbell which was to be used in the next competition prior to the event so that they could become accustomed to that specific bar's elastic peculiarities for the jerk. This idea has become incorporated into common practice. At the present time, many national teams have on hand or purchase ahead of time the accredited barbells of the International Weightlifting Federation so that the national team can prepare with the barbell for the upcoming competition.

*2. Bulgarian biomechanist V. L. Furnadzhiyev (46) determined that the impulse force of the half squat could be increased 50% with the Eleiko bar loaded to 200 kg if the lifter performed a half squat of 12 to 14 centimeters with a descent velocity of 1 to 1.2 m/s and with a sudden stopping.

References

  1. From Sovietsky Sport Publishers, Publication #239:1988
  2. Vorobeyev, A.N., Tyazhelaya Atletika, Fizkultura i Sport, Publishers, Moscow 1972, pp: 63; 93 - 111. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  3. Frolov, V.I., "Analysis of Kinematic and Dynamic Parameters of the Movement of the Athlete and the Barbell", Published by the Lenin State Central Institute of Physical Culture, 1980. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  4. Falameyev, A. I., Salnikov, V. A., Kimeishei, B.V., "Some Observations about Weightlifting Technique," The P. F. Institute of Physical Culture, Lenningrad, 1980. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  5. Verkhoshansky, Y.V., Fundamentals of the Special Physical Preparation of Athletes, Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow, 1988:17
  6. Charniga, A., "The Relative Value of Pulling Exercises in the Training of Weightlifters," Sportivny Press, www.dynamic-eleiko.com 2003
  7. Sokolov, L.N., "Modern Training of Weighlifters", Weightlifting Yearbook, 1974:4 - 8 Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers 1974, Translated by Bernd W. Scheithauer, M.D. 1975
  8. Luchkin, N.I., Tyazhelaya Atletika, Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow, 1962, Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  9. Quote attributed to Charlie Francis on the Internet, 2002.
  10. Medvedyev, A.S., Tyazhelaya Atletika I Metodika Prepodavaniya, PP:25; 90. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  11. Frolov, V.I., Efimov, N.M., Vanagas, M.P., "The Training Weights in the Snatch Pull," Tyazhelaya Atletika, Fizkultura I Sport Publishers, Moscow, 1977: 65 - 67. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  12. Medvedyev, A.S., Melkonyan, A.A., Frolov, V.I., "Experimental and Theoretical Comparative Analysis of Clean and Snatch Technique", Weightlifting Yearbook 1985, pp 85 - 89, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  13. Matveyev, L.P., Fundamentals of Sport Training, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1981:25 - 26
  14. Engels, F., Dialectics of Nature, International Publishers, New York, 1973
  15. Vorobeyev, A.N., Tyazhelaya Atletika, Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow, 1981
  16. Enoka, R. M., Neuromechanics of Human Movement, pp 353:2001, Human Kinetics, Publishers
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  18. Kanyevsky, V.B., "Teaching the Starting Position of the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk to Novice Weightlifters," Weightlifting Technique and Training, 1992, , English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. , English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  19. Sokolov, L.N., "The Significance of Speed in Weightlifting and Methods to Develop It", Tyazhelaya Atletika, Sbornik Statei. Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow 1971:111 - 118. , English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  20. Vorobeyev, A.,N., Tyazhelaya Atletika, I Sport, Moscow, Publishers, 1977, PP 6 -7
  21. Chernyak, A.V., The Optimal Ratio of the Triathlon Exercises Tyazhelaya Atletika, Sbornik Statei. Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow, 1971:18 - 24. , English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  22. Martyanov, S.S., Popov, G.I., Roman, R.A., "Peculiarities of Modern Clean Technique", Weightlifting Training & Technique, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  23. Samusevitch, A.K., Tyazhelaya Atletika, Belarus, Publishers, Minsk, 1967:88. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  24. Zhekov, I.P., Biomechanics of the Weighltifting Exercises, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan, Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr. 1992.
  25. Abadjayev, I., "The Preparation of International Class Weightlifters", Proceedings of the IWF Coaching - Medical Seminar, Varna, 1983:57 - 63.
  26. Frolov, V.I., "The Optimal Phasic Structure of the Snatch of Highly Qualified Weightlifters", Tyazhelaya Atletika Ezhegodnik. 1977:52 - 55, Fizkultura I Sport Publishers, Moscow. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  27. Verkhoshansky, Y.V., Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan 1986:62 Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  28. Charniga, A., "Key Muscles for Weightlifting", Sportivny Press, www.dynamic-eleiko.com 2002
  29. Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M.S., "Clean and Jerk Technique of Y. Vardanyan", Weightlifting Yearbook 1980, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan 1986: 38 - 45, Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  30. Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M. S., "Clean and Jerk Technique of V. Marchuk", Weightlifting Yearbook 1982, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan 1984: 31 - 3. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  31. Roman, R.A., "Snatch Technique of World Record Holder Y. Zakharevitch" Weightlifting Yearbook 1983, English Translation Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan 1984: 15 - 24. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  32. Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M.S., "The Snatch of D. Rigert" The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk, Fizkultura I Sport, Moscow, 1978; English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  33. Covey, S. R., The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Fireside, Simon & Schuster New York, publishers, 1989, PP95 - 144.
  34. Dvorkin, L.S., Weightlifting and Age, English Translation Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  35. Charniga, A., "Concerning the Russian Squat Routine", Sportivny Press, www.dynamic-eleiko.com, 2002
  36. Sokolov, A.N., "Special Physical Training of Weightlifters", Tyazheloatlet: V Pomosch Treneru, Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow 1970, Compiler R.A. Roman, PP:78 - 87. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  37. Shakirzyanov, M.S., "Technique Peculiarities of World Champion David Rigert", Weightlifting Yearbook 1974, English translation Bernd W. Scheithauer, M.D.
  38. Ivanov, A.T., Roman, R.A., "Components of the Jerk from the Chest", Tyazhelaya Atletika 1975: 23 - 26. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  39. Ivanov, A. T., Roman, R.A. "The Jerk Technique of World Record Holders V. Kurentsov and D. Rigert" Tyazhelaya Atletika, 1976:42 - 47. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  40. Ivanov, A. T., Roman, R.A., "Peculiarities of Jerk Technique of Weightlifters" Weightlifting Yearbook 1981 PP 43 - 54, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  41. Frolov, V.I., Levshunov, N.P., "The Phasic Structure of the Jerk" Tyazhelaya Atletika, 1979 PP 25 - 28 Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  42. Furnadzhiev, V., Abadzhiev, I., "The Preparation of the Bulgarian Weightlifters for the 1980 Olympics", Weightlifting Yearbook, 1980, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  43. Medvedyev,A.S., Masalgin,N.A., Frolov, V.I., Herrera, A.G., "The Interconnection Between the Parameters of the Jerk", Teoriya I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury, 6:6-7:1981. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  44. Sokolov, L.N., "Some Questions About the Technique and Methods of Training the Clean and Jerk," Tribuna Masterov, 1963, Moscow :81-90. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
  45. Sorokin, M., "Some Questions about the Training of Weightlifters", Tribuna Masterov, Moscow, 1963:133
  46. Abadzayev, I.N., Furnadzhiyev, V.L., Podgotovka Na Tezhkoatleta Meditsina I Fizkultura, Sofia, 1986 PP95
  47. Alabina, V.G., Krivnosova, M.P., Trenazhery I Spetsialny Uprazhneniya v Legkoi Atletike, Fizkultury I Sport, publishers, Moscow 1982.
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