How To Become A More Powerful Athlete With The CrossFit Push Jerk

While there’s plenty of movements to master in CrossFit, understanding how to properly perform and master the CrossFit Push Jerk is going to be one of those movements that build strength, power, and confidence under the bar for the rest of your performance. While it may feel unfamiliar at first, after some practice on the movement mechanic, you’re going to be moving the weight with ease in no time. Let’s hop into learning more about the movement, the benefits of the CrossFit Push Jerk, and the simple ways to master the movement once and for all.

What Is A CrossFit Push Jerk

The CrossFit push jerk is not only used as a stand alone movement in training but also as a progression piece to develop the mechanical patters that enable you as an athlete to perform other, more complex movements. The CrossFit push jerk is commonly performed with a PVC pipe, barbell, and dumbbells. With the bar resting in the hands on the shoulders and collar area, the push jerk is a movement in which an athlete will use their body’s own dip and drive momentum to take that bar from a front rack position to up and overhead into a full locked out position. Instead of a strict press or military press, the push jerk uses momentum from the body and the arms so that you don’t need to press as much of the weight. This enables an athlete to be able to get more weight overhead with ease.

CrossFit Push Jerk Muscles Worked

Considering that this movement generates speed, power, and force to dip and drive the bar from a front rack position to up and overhead, it does incorporate a wide variety of muscles. Of those muscles, the main ones that will be worked are the legs, like the hamstrings, quads, and glutes, as well as the core, shoulders, and upper back muscles. All of which will work together to not only stabilize the athlete’s body to support the movement of the load but to also build strength and stamina under the bar that can be used and translated into other movements like the split jerk, snatch, as well as the clean and jerk. 

Benefits Of CrossFit Push Jerk

1. Shoulder Strength and Stability

Pushing is a crucial movement that needs to be done, and done well, when performing in CrossFit. Whether it’s a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells or otherwise, the CrossFit push jerk is a great way to build some serious boulder shoulder strength and work on the stabilizer muscles that the shoulders rely on to support the load overhead. Whether you’re using this as a stand alone movement in a Metcon or a progression movement as you develop as an athlete, the push jerk is an important movement not to overlook.

2. Timing and Coordination

We’ll get into the specifics of the movement in just a bit, but the dip, drive, catch, and stand tall components of the CrossFit push jerk are undoubtably going to improve your body’s timing and coordination under a specific weight. Without those two things, your push jerk is going to feel, and look, like absolute garbage. Part of developing as an athlete isn’t just physical and is going to be mental, making those imperative mind-muscle connections so that you can activate and recruit muscles at the appropriate time. Make sure to start light in the movement and develop proper mechanical patterns from the start to actively avoid injury.

3. Power and Speed

Power and speed are traits of developing a good, strong, and stable CrossFit push jerk movement. In becoming more confident with the pushing movement altogether, you’re going to see the benefits of your practice translate over into many other areas of your CrossFit training with ease. You’re not only going to develop power throughout the hips and legs, but also through the torso and back muscles, basically floating that bar up from the shoulders into that overhead position with minimal effort from the arms, which is ideal.

4. Confidence Under The Bar

Ah, confidence. That fickle little thing. You could be the most gifted athlete but if you don’t have confidence in yourself and in your movements from practicing them over and over, you’re not going to get real far, are you now? Nope. The push jerk, unlike the strict press, incorporates more than just the upper body. In doing so, you can develop the confidence that gives way to developing strong power, speed, intention and bar placement when dipping, driving, catching, and locking out the body for that full rep completion. 

How To Perform The CrossFit Push Jerk

There are four main cues that you’ll hear your coach say. These are dip, drive, catch, and stand tall. These are four simple cues to break down the movement and are important to remind yourself as you’re learning the movement so you perform the CrossFit push jerk correctly.

  • Starting with your weight (barbell or dumbbells) in a front rack position on the shoulders with feet shoulder width apart
  • Align the elbows slightly in front of the bar/db’s with the weight resting on the body
  • WIth a tight grip on the weight, dip the body straight down, with the knees going slightly out and forward, keeping the pelvis tucked and activated
  • Drive the momentum of the body straight back upward, in the same line as you did for the dip, creating the upward momentum
  • Rapidly extend the hips and legs to drive the bar up and off the shoulders in that front rack position allowing the weight to float overhead
  • While the heels remain engaged on the ground, receive the bar in a partial overhead position as the arms extend
  • Stand tall in the movement with the full extension at the hips, knees, and arms for the rep to be complete

CrossFit Push Jerk: Takeaway

The CrossFit Push Jerk is a fundamental and functional strength training movement, which will help you build more mass, core stability, and strength. The push jerk can take your olympic weight movements, in functional training and CrossFit to the next level and help you progress, helping you become a better athlete.


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