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Barbell Strong First O-lifting: No Jerks?

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
I was checking out the StrongFirst O-lifting class, and noticed the lifts taught were:

1. Mobility assessments and improvement strategies for wrists, shoulders, thoracic spine, hips, knees, and ankles

2. Foundational barbell lift positions on which Olympic-style lifts are built:


  • Front Squat
  • Overhead Squat
  • Military Press
  • Romanian Deadlifts (RDL)
  • Push Press
3. Olympic-style lifts:

  • Hang Clean/Snatch
  • Muscle Clean/Snatch
  • Clean/Snatch Pull
  • Power Clean/Snatch

I understand why the power (as opposed to full squat) versions are focused on for beginners.

But I'm curious why the jerk isn't taught?

I could see rationales being..

1. Too much overhead work if already power snatching

2. Risk-reward ratio for general populace (i.e. people who don't want to compete in WL) being upside-down

3. Doesn't translate to other sports

4. Footwork training best relegated to a 'Phase 2'

...but I would be curious to hear other insights
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I asked about that when it first came on the schedule in 2020 (was postponed due to COVID)... Especially since the promo photo is exactly that! Jerks are what made me want to get into Olympic Lifting. Personally I would feel cheated if I took the course because I was interested in Olympic Lifting, did a 2-day course, and didn't get to some jerks. But as I understand it, the priority for this seminar is to teach a foundation for Olympic Lifting, and also to provide the ability to do some SFL type training (strength barbell work) if one doesn't have a rack. With time spent on fundamentals, there would not be enough time to do all the full lifts in this course.

On a different but related topic... What do you think of the term "O-Lifting"? I am not fond of it... Neither am I fond of "Oly". But, unfortunately, "weightlifting" is too generic of a term to be understood by people both in and out of the strength training world.
 

Mike Torres

Level 6 Valued Member
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
A bit off-topic, but a couple years ago I experimented with programming double kettlebell split jerks and loved it. I haven’t seen many people program these.

(For what it’s worth, I agree that O-lifting doesn’t hit the mark for me. I always refer to it as Olympic Lifting personally, but it’s also not my specialty at all.)

 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Cool, I've never tried a kettlebell split jerk! Just tried a few and it's pretty neat.

At SFG II a few weeks ago, @Brett Jones was teaching the Athletic drills, and we were doing the dynamic split snatch with single kettlebell, and he said "pull under" and I was like .... "OH... I get it now, feels like Olympic Lifting!" So, those are fun, too.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
On a different but related topic... What do you think of the term "O-Lifting"? I am not fond of it... Neither am I fond of "Oly". But, unfortunately, "weightlifting" is too generic of a term to be understood by people both in and out of the strength training world.

Gah, it's such I messy issue.

I've tried to use the term 'weightlifting' (without the Olympic or O) with coworkers, and inevitably they end up calling it powerlifting.

At first, I tried to educate people that they're two different sports.

Now I don't even push the point unless they're clearly interested.

Co-worker: "Good luck on your powerlifting meet this weekend!"

Me: (biting tongue) "Thanks!"

It will get even messier if weightlifting gets booted out of the Olympics.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
I asked about that when it first came on the schedule in 2020 (was postponed due to COVID)... Especially since the promo photo is exactly that! Jerks are what made me want to get into Olympic Lifting. Personally I would feel cheated if I took the course because I was interested in Olympic Lifting, did a 2-day course, and didn't get to some jerks. But as I understand it, the priority for this seminar is to teach a foundation for Olympic Lifting, and also to provide the ability to do some SFL type training (strength barbell work) if one doesn't have a rack. With time spent on fundamentals, there would not be enough time to do all the full lifts in this course.

I also noticed the photo of the dude split jerking!

I'm with you -- I'd feel pretty bummed it I didn't get to put some weight over my head by the end of the course.

And students are going to try to do it, anyway, so might as well teach them something like the power jerk.
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
There are several terms (like weightlifting and Oly etc...) that are protected and can't be used.

I have asked Jeremy to expand on why Jerks are not included.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
Just explain that it is simple. Weightlifting is all about power, and Powerlifting is all about weight.

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watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
A bit off-topic, but a couple years ago I experimented with programming double kettlebell split jerks and loved it. I haven’t seen many people program these.

(For what it’s worth, I agree that O-lifting doesn’t hit the mark for me. I always refer to it as Olympic Lifting personally, but it’s also not my specialty at all.)

While I had fun playing with the KB split jerk, at the end of playing with it, I did question the purpose of using a split.

With a barbell, the main rationale for a split jerk is:

a) You can catch it lower than a power jerk / don't have to throw the bar as high

b) It has more margin of error for correction if you catch the bar off balance or otherwise need to recover a semi-dicey jerk

c) It's not as demanding on mobility and strength as the squat jerk

At the end of the day, I felt like

a) didn't apply because KBs weren't as heavy as a barbell, so easy to get good height

b) Because of a), I didn't have any missed jerks

But it was still fun, although I can't imagine doing it barefoot. ;)
 

j_layport

Level 6 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi All,

Jeremy Layport here, Brett just reached out to me to respond to this thread.

When I was first asked to write this O-Lifting course up the mobility issues (and safety) were my number one concern and still are today. This was meant to be more of a general course (Introductory course into O-Lifting) so Push Press was my overhead compromise. The narrow shoulder width grip on the bar and drop under the bar to catch in a jerk requires a lot of thoracic and shoulder mobility. Even a power snatch with its wider grip is easier on the shoulder mobility requirements. With the past two years in pause and me spinning my thumbs I've started to think about pulling the training wheels off this a bit more and teaching full lifts and jerks as well. As will all StrongFirst courses this will be in a constant state of enhancement and refinement as the course grows. I hope this helps you know where my mind set was when writing up this course.

PS - Im split jerking in the photo we used, because I don't have many/any photos during my meets or training. Danny Sawaya took that photo for a promo video he shot in 2014 and its literally one of the only photos I have sadly. Im officially old, I don't social media much or film my training sessions much either. I'll try to start, but it takes added time and effort which I'd rather not spend.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Gah, it's such I messy issue.

I've tried to use the term 'weightlifting' (without the Olympic or O) with coworkers, and inevitably they end up calling it powerlifting.

At first, I tried to educate people that they're two different sports.

Now I don't even push the point unless they're clearly interested.

Co-worker: "Good luck on your powerlifting meet this weekend!"

Me: (biting tongue) "Thanks!"

It will get even messier if weightlifting gets booted out of the Olympics.
I honestly think it’d make more sense of weightlifting were called powerlifting and powerlifting were called weightlifting.

Edit: this post was made before I saw @silveraw ’s spot on remark.
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
@watchnerd I guess it depends on how heavy you go. Double kettlebells can get pretty heavy :) I look at it as specialized variety for the standard kettlebell jerk; “same but different”.

Unfortunately, I only went up to a 40kg on one side and a 36 kg on the other side (my highest doubles stop at 2 x 32), which is the max my KB set allows.

At that weight, I found it fun to squat jerk the KBs, and easier than squat jerking a barbell of the same weight.

I *think* it was because of a lesser amount of 'lean head through the window' needed to get the shoulders into position (vs a barbell) because of more freedom of movement, but it might also have to do with the 'bar path' difference between the starting rack position of a barbell vs KB.
 
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