Deadlifts: Don't Jerk the Weight off The Floor - Well Meaning But Confusing Advice

Posted on 07 Feb 2013 22:22

By Eric Troy

This should be a very short blog post. I have gotten a great number of queries about "jerking the weight off the floor" leading to some of my deadlift posts. I was wondering why this question suddenly sprang up so I did some searching. I found that there is some advice floating about about how you should never JERK the weight off the floor in the deadlift, because this can injure the shoulders and cause the hips to shoot up.

That is all fine and well and the advice certainly is trying to help and keep people safe. However, to "jerk" something can be seen as meaning different things to different people. Unfortunately, the advice seems to be engaging in the fallacy of the excluded middle and going all the way to the extreme of saying that you should v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y pull the bar. I don't know exactly, I just got the gist of it as saying something like that.

Okay. To jerk on the bar does not only mean to pull on it in a very powerful and quick way. Not at all. To jerk on the bar implies that you fail to take the slack out and you pull very hard and quick at the shoulders.

There is a little bit of free space and you pull out that slack HARD and the pull is suddenly arrested, transferring all that force to your shoulders. That is what to jerk something means and it has the connotation of being abrupt and spasmodic. Like if you jerk on a rope, it means that you suddenly pull the slack out of it and that pull is suddenly stopped when the slack runs out. To say that you should not jerk on the bar does not mean that you should go to the extreme of intentionally trying to lift it in slow motion.

What this comes down to is two things: Top down pulling and hip drive. Read through these articles tagged top down pulling and you should be able to work out any problems with jerking the bar on the deadlift.


This page created 07 Feb 2013 22:22
Last updated 20 Oct 2015 17:04

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