Hand Spacing for the Jerk

Hand Spacing for the Jerk

As indicated above, most lifters use the same grip for the clean as for the jerk (i.e., a width between the insides of the hands from 16" to 26", with most lifters using a grip in the 17" to 22" range). A narrow grip in the jerk places less strain on the muscles of the shoulders than does a wider grip and generally permits the athlete to thrust more forcefully with the arms in the later stages of the jerk. However, with a wider grip, the bar does not need to be lifted quite as high, and many lifters feel that with a wider grip they can both get the bar further behind their head and rotate their shoulders to a greater degree (a position considered to be more stable by many lifters). In addition, a wider grip generally enables the lifter to get his or her chest out while preparing for the jerk and to support the bar more solidly on the shoulders. As with other technique issues, the trade-offs between wider and narrower hand spacings will need to be considered and experimented with
One final factor to consider in choosing a grip for the jerk is the grip that is used in the clean. While it is possible to move the grip between the clean and the jerk, doing so adds another variable to preparing for the jerk. It is a relatively easy to straighten the torso or to rearrange the position of the bar in relation to the neck after the clean. Rearranging the spacing of the hands is more difficult because each hand may move to a different degree, thereby creating an uneven grip. Therefore, where it is possible to select a grip that is relatively effective for both the clean and the jerk, that should be done.
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