There are two simple differences in execution between push press and split jerk:
- The barbell is moved overhead in a controlled manner.
- There is no split position.
In my opinion, these two differences make the push press a technically more demanding exercise. If I fail in the jerk, I am still able to correct. If the barbell is in front of the body in the split position, I can correct it by one step and fight the barbell back to the center of gravity. If I don’t get enough speed and height on the barbell in the dip, I can compensate it with a deep drive.
However, as the load increases, it becomes more difficult to correct errors. It requires an enourmous amount of force which can have a negative effect on the joints and muscles and in the long run lead to injuries. If I make one of these mistakes in push press, the barbell will turn around and go down in front of my feet.
Improve Your Jerk With Push Press
That’s why I use push press as a technically demanding exercise to improve my jerk. Especially the controlled overhead movement is worth its weight in gold! Sometimes I push the barbell overhead without paying attention to the way I move it and getting into trouble to control and held it in a locked position. The barbell begins to fly and gives a punch on the shoulder with every attempt. This is annoying and makes the jerk anything but safe. Then I remember the push press and try to move the bar as long as possible in a controlled way and always bring it into the same overhead position.
Furthermore, it is essential (as in almost every exercise) to move the barbell close to the center of gravity. From dip (moving down) to drive (moving up) the barbell must be moved at the center of gravity in order to transfer power optimally. If I fail to do so in the push press, the barbell won’t reach the necessary height and promptly goes down again in front of my feet. Transferred to the jerk, I can thus prevent that I tip over in the dip and the barbell moves forward from the beginning.
Explosive hyperextension is also often neglected in the jerk by simply releasing the feet. Compared to push press, it would be like extending without extending your toes. The barbell would then be missing 15-20 cm in height. Even if it can be only 5 cm more height in jerk due to an explosive hyperextension over the toes, it can decide about valid or invalid.
That is why I recommend to include push press in your training plan. Pay attention to the above mentioned things and improve your jerk.