Kettlebell Jerk Tutorial

The purpose of the kettlebell Jerk is to move the kettlebell from the rack position to overhead using the legs and hips. While the shoulder and arm stabilize the bell in the overhead position, all the force to lift the kettlebell should be generated from the lower body. Timing is of the essence in the Jerk. The lifter must powerfully launch the bell from the hips, then quickly squat underneath to let the legs take the load of the bells as they land overhead.

Let's break down the technique, step-by-step:

1. First dip. The lifter sets up to launch by bending the knees and letting the hips slide down and forward - this brings the elbows and hips together in preparation for the launch. A common misconception is that the first dip is what creates the momentum for the lift, but in fact the lifter is only creating a solid connection between the elbow and hip so in the NEXT phase momentum can be transferred. Beginners will want to push the hips back as if setting up for a squat, but this is not the proper alignment for the first dip; hips should sink forward and stay in line with the knees. Another common mistake is leaning the shoulders back instead of relaxing them forward - this causes the elbow and hip to move FARTHER apart.

2. Launch. The hips launch upwards, which transfers momentum through the elbow to the arm to the kettlebell. There should be triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles. More often than not lifters are using too much arm strength to push the bells up. Instead of taking the time to make a solid connection of elbow to hip in the first dip (or taking the time to work mobility so that connection is possible), many people just push the bell into the overhead position with their arm, which causes issues with timing of the lift.

3. Second dip. As soon as the kettlebell is fully launched through the triple extension of hips, knees, and ankles, the lifter must quickly drop the hips down and back so their center of mass lands under the weight of the kettlebells in the overhead position. The hips are in a very different position than the first dip - they are now closer to the alignment of a semi squat position. Most issues in the second dip occur due to improper execution or timing of the first dip and launch, or poor mobility in the thoracic spine and hip flexors. If there is no good connection between elbow and hips in the first dip, the launch will not be fast enough for the lifter to fully get "under" the bells - causing them to "press out" the kettlebells into the lockout position.

4. Stand up. Once the lifter hits the second dip, all the work should be done. All that's left to do is straighten the legs to the top position and fixate the kettlebells. Of course the most common mistake here is lifters failing to fixate the kettlebells and stop them from moving before going for another repetition.

PS - Start with learning to properly execute the single arm Jerk before trying with two kettlebells. The technique will transfer easily once you have mastered the movement with one bell. 

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