Want an exercise that ticks all the boxes? You should try the split jerk!
Although traditionally used in Olympic weightlifting, the split jerk can be massively rewarding for athletes, especially boxers.
This exercise requires strength, speed, co-ordination and stability. These are physical qualities every boxer should strive for.
This article will look at the benefits, and tell you how to perform this fantastic exercise.
Increase the snap in your punch
The main transfer from the split jerk to a forceful punch is that it helps build shoulder, core and leg strength, as well as developing ‘effective mass’. Both a punch and a split jerk elicits a double activation pattern, this requires a quick whole body tension at impact.
This means that the split jerk can improve the ‘snap’ at the end of a punch.
The split jerk can also develop vertical impulse, which helps improve jump height. Our studies suggest that the higher a boxer can jump, the harder they can punch. This suggests that lower body strength and speed plays an important role when delivering hard punches.
Split Jerk is a unique exercise as it requires such a fast action, however you need to become still very quickly to control the bar in the overhead position. This can improve the ability to decelerate!
Although we put an emphasis on being fast and explosive, we also need to know how to slow down. Being able to decelerate effectively will help us flow in the ring, improving our footwork and how we transfer force in a punch.
It takes time to master
At the moment, we only have a handful of boxers that are competent at strength and conditioning as the split jerk is a difficult move. You need good overhead and hip flexor mobility, core stability and strength to perform this complex exercise,
But master the split jerk and reap the rewards.
Start off with exercises such as lunge to press, dumbells and kettlebell split jerks before moving on to the bar.
- Rack the bar at the front of your shoulders, rotating arms and elbows up just wider than shoulder width apart.
- Feet hip-width apart, with the centre of pressure through the mid-foot.
- Quick and short dip of the knees and hips. Knees bend tracking the toes, but not passing them.
- Centre of pressure through the mid-foot to heel.
- Maintain an upright torso position, keeping your elbows up.
- Drive through the floor, extend the hips and get tall.
- Your body should push the bar high, allowing you to start rotating your arms under the bar.
- Centre of pressure goes through the toe, then start to split your legs.
- Lock out your arms, catching the bar overhead.
- Split foot position into a half-lunge, both knees slightly bent with the weight distributed between the heel of the front foot and the toes of the back foot.
- Keep chest down and core tense to avoid hyper-extension of the lower-back.
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