Original Articles

Still More About the Jerk:The Press, the Snatch, the Clean and Jerk of Viktor Kurentsov

Still More About the Jerk:

The Press, the Snatch, the Clean and Jerk of Viktor Kurentsov

Andrew Charniga, Jr.

Sportivny Press©

Livonia, Michigan

2005

 

At the 1999 European Weightlifting Championships in La Coruna Spain Plamen Jeliazkov of Bulgaria (69 kg) amidst a fierce struggle with Galabin Boevski, came to the platform to clean and jerk 192.5 kg on a third attempt. He cleaned the weight; then before attempting to jerk it, he altered his grasp from an approximately shoulder – width – grip to a significantly wider than shoulder – width hand – spacing.

After Jeliazkov succeeded in jerking this weight to move into first place a colleague seated next to the author of this work, at this competition, exclaimed: “Did you see that? He moved his grip out wide. That’s one of Abadjayiev’s secrets. He tells his lifters to widen their grip for a more efficient jerk.”

Immediately following the aforementioned lift, Galabin Boevski, also of Bulgaria, cleaned this same weight and he too shifted his hands before jerking the barbell. He moved his hand spacing from a shoulder – width – grip to a slightly narrower than shoulder – width grasp. He jerked the barbell easily to win the championship.

 

 

 

While sitting next to a different colleague at the 2003 World Weightlifting Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia, the author heard the same “claim” that a wide – hand – spacing for the jerk is the best technique. This “déjà vu all over again” incident featured first Aijun Yuan (China, 85 kg) making the jerk with 212.5 kg to move into first place. He drove the barbell up from the half squat and as he did so he slid his hands out to an almost snatch – width – grasp. Less than two minutes after this lift Yuan was pushed into second place when Valeriu Calancea of (Rumania) first cleaned the winning weight of 215kg, and, without changing his “narrow” shoulder -width -hand -spacing, easily jerked it.

 

 

 

What affect does the hand – spacing have on the success rate in the jerk portion of the exercise? Is a wide hand spacing more efficient because there is less distance to lift the barbell from the chest? Is a shoulder – width – hand spacing less efficient because the greater distance from the chest to arms length?

 

 

 

Soviet era research of the press is an unlikely but nevertheless an excellent place to find the answers to the aforementioned questions.

 

 

 

The Use of Leverage and the Biomechaincs of the Press

 

Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth”,

Archimedes 287?- 212 B.C.

In his 1962 book Weightlifting N.I. Luchkin,(2) the father of Soviet weightlifting biomechanics, wrote about the affect of varying the width of the hand spacing for the press: “in the press the lever arm relative to the shoulders increases along with the width of the grip, but diminishes for the forearm. The opposite is true for a narrow grip.”

Luchkin went on to state in simple terms a concept which is far more common knowledge than commonly understood: “a reduction in the lever arm of one group of muscles increases to the same degree the lever arm for another group of muscles.” So, when you move your hand spacing on the barbell out past shoulder width, the reduction in stress on the arms is equal to the increase in stress on the shoulder girdle.

 

 
 

Luchkin was a pioneer in the biomechanical research of the three weightlifting exercises with respect to the changing force capabilities of the weightlifter depending upon the position of the barbell at each stage of the lifts. This research inspired Sokolov (12,15), Rodionov (17), Sorokin (13), Zhekov (19) and many others to study this in greater depth.

 

 

 

V.I. Rodionov (17), studied the mechanical advantage/disadvantage of a series of variations in hand spacing, grip, head and elbow positions, stance, etc for the press, with what would be considered by today’s standards “low tech” methods.   

 

 

 

Rodionov’s research concerned the type of “press” of that era in weightlifting history. He based his research on the form of the press the weightlifters of that era (late 50s, early 60s) performed according to the technical rules in force at that time. For instance, little movement of the trunk during the press was permitted, as a starting movement or significant leaning backward with the trunk away from the barbell. In other words, the press of that time was still a test of arm and shoulder strength.

 

 

 

According to Rodionov’s data:

 

 

1)    A placement of the barbell slightly below the clavicles resulted in greater force at the start;

2)    A shoulder – width placement of the feet was the most effective stance;

3)    A forward positioning of the pelvis at the start was most effective;

4)    The arms should be relaxed at the signal to start (the hands should not be clenched);

5)    The greatest force from the start comes with a shoulder – width hand spacing;

6)    An increase in the hand spacing from a shoulder – width – grasp decreased the amount of force developed;

7)    A narrow hand spacing permits a faster separation from the chest;

8)    A somewhat wider than shoulder – width – hand – spacing is more effective for producing force when the barbell reaches the upper part of the forehead (the so – called sticking point);

9)    A “thumb – less” grasp is the most effective grip for pressing a barbell.

A wider than shoulder – width – hand – spacing accompanied by a “thumb – less” (all of the fingers and the thumb were placed on the same side of the bar) was a very common technique during the press era because it allowed the weightlifter to make the most effective use of the body’s leverages and still perform the exercise within the parameters of the technical rules of that time. The wider – than shoulder – width hand – spacing was more effective for lifting the barbell past the “sticking point” (when the arms form an angle of about 90°).

 

 

 

On the basis on this research, one might conclude that a “wide” hand spacing with a thumb – less grip  is the way to go in order to make the most effective use of the arms and shoulder muscles to lift a maximum weight overhead.

 

 

 

Some years after Rodionov’s study other Soviet bio- mechanists looked at the press which by the late 60s and into the early 70s had morphed considerably in terms of what was considered a “legal” press in competition. Weightlifters of this era would begin the movement with a pronounced, quick lowering then straightening of the trunk, rapid shifting of the hips rearward, and, in some cases a flexion- extension action of the knees to begin lifting the barbell.

 

 

 

This rapid start using the hips and trunk combination produced a large speed of barbell separation from the chest. This action was followed by a very rapid lean backwards with the trunk combined with a counterbalancing shifting of the hips forward. If performed correctly this was called variously a speed – strength or “speed press” (6,16,19).

 

 

 

Technique analysis of the permutations of the old “military” press lead the Soviet biomechanists to classify the presses of the aforementioned era into either a speed – press (i.e., a speed – strength exercise) or a strength – press. Although both forms featured movement of the trunk and even in some cases, the knees, to start the movement and a lean backwards to complete the extension of the arms; the speed – press involved the most effective use of the body’s leverage potential to lift the weight with a minimum of actual “pressing” with the arms and shoulder girdle.

 

 

 

According to Zhekov (19) and Povetkin (16) the athletes who employed the speed – press made the most effective use of the so – called “reactive forces”; which in this case refers to the maximum use of the elasticity of the bar coordinated with the elastic energy from a quick stretch – contraction of the muscles at the start.   

 

 

 

Zhekov(19) made the following assertion that, the technique of the speed – press illustrates how the  body, as a cybernetic system, adjusted to the loosening of the man – made – rules which originally governed this exercise; in order to find the most effective movement structure to lift the biggest weight. The technical rules governing the old military press in Zhekov’s opinion: had inhibited the “self – tuning” body’s search for such a movement structure which would produce the maximum motor effect.     

 

 

 

So, to put all of this into perspective, a weightlifter had to make maximum use of the potential leverages by selecting the most effective hand spacing, grasp, position of the head, feet, elbows etc, to perform a strict press with arm and shoulder strength. However, the rules of strict press did not permit the weightlifter to “explore” the body’s potential to lift a maximum weight from the chest to arms length overhead with the feet in a fixed position.

 

 

Biomechanics of the “Strength” and the “Speed Press”

 

 

Consider for a moment the two major variants of the press of the late 60s and early 70s.

 

 

 

First, we should point out that the main objective in the technique of the press is to produce a large speed of separation of the barbell from the chest. The speed of separation in the press, is analogous to the speed of release in throwing (javelin, shot, discus and hammer) which has the single greatest affect on the distance the particular implement will travel.

 

 

The Strength – Press. The strength – press is very much like the speed – press in that both involve quick movement of the trunk and hips to start the lift. However, the strength – press differs in the regard that the lifter pushes away from the barbell later and slower and typically uses arm and shoulder strength to separate the barbell from the chest.

 

As the weightlifter straightens the trunk at the start of the exercise the vertical speed of the barbell increases; however, at the same time as the athlete nears a vertical disposition the vertical speed of the barbell is slowing while its horizontal speed is increasing.

 

 

 

Consequently, when the “strength presser” leans backward the barbell has separated at a low speed and usually has shifted forward a little. With this low speed of separation the strength presser must rely more on arm and shoulder strength to continue lifting the barbell. This technique typically does not permit the lifter to make full use of the elasticity of the bar. In fact, as the barbell approaches the head the bar which has bowed from the starting effort so that the discs rebound vertically, has reached its peak and begins to bend in the opposition to the athlete’s efforts.

 

 

So, “strength – pressers” started the barbell from the chest and then leaned backward to fully straighten the arms like the speed – pressers, but unlike the “speed – pressers”, the “strength – pressers” actually used the arms and shoulders to lift the barbell considerably more. And, in many cases these lifters employed the “biomechanically” efficient pressing method of turning the elbows to the side to more effectively utilize the triceps muscles. However, by lifting in this fashion these lifters often were working in opposition to the barbell’s oscillations instead of using the bar’s elasticity to their advantage.

 

 

 

In the book The Press, the Snatch, the Clean and Jerk, R. A. Roman and M.S. Shakirzyanov analyzed many of the top pressers of that era. Two athletes whose technique was analyzed were both world record holders of the press multiple times; and, both were Olympic champions. These athletes were Imre Foeldi (HUN) and Kaarlo Kangasniemi. Roman classified both as “strength – pressers.”

 

 

 

The aforementioned athletes had relatively low barbell separation speeds (the separation speed is the speed of the barbell at the instant it leaves the chest). According to Roman, “Foeldi’s press is to a greater extent more of a strength – press than other athletes; indicative of which is the speed of separation of only 1.04 m/sec, versus 1.3 m/sec for Nassiri* in the same weight class, for instance.”(7). Furthermore, “the backwards leaning of the athlete’s trunk in the second phase of the press was moderate (40°). The smaller inclination of the trunk is indicative the athlete would be using the arms and shoulder girdle muscles to raise the barbell more than to push his trunk away from it (which would be the path of least resistance).

 

*It is noteworthy that Nassiri was a world record holder in the clean and jerk.

 

 

 

Roman made very much the same comment about Kangasniemi (as he di Foeldi) “Despite the leg action the barbell speed is rather low in comparison with other athletes (1.23 m/sec versus 1.48 m/sec for A. Kidyaev and J. Talts).

 

 

 

If you look at the pictures (see figures) of both lifters executing the preliminary movements at the start of their respective presses you can see both lifters employ considerable sagging of the trunk and legs. Yet, their separation speeds were rather low, i.e., larger movement amplitude produced a slower vertical barbell speed.

 

 

 

The Press of I. Foeldi (HUN)

 
 

The press of K. Kangasniemi (FIN)

Kangasniemi Press A

Foeldi Press B

 

 

The lower barbell speed at separation, characteristic of the “strength presser” typically means significantly more effort from the arms and shoulders were used to lift the barbell from the chest. These athletes also tended to shift their elbows out to the side as the barbell was raised for more efficient use of the arms in the movement, i.e., which is considered a mistake for the “speed presser”.

 

 

 

It is interesting to note that neither Foeldi nor Kangasniemi ever established a world record in the clean and jerk despite both having set multiple worlds records in the “spongy”  speed press era.

 

 

 

Table 1 depicts a grouping of some of the all – time greatest world record setters. This is a grouping of lifters who set multiple world records; the overwhelming majority of which came in the press. The athletes whose names are in red were those who lifted in an era of stricter technical rules for the press which means they were probably disproportionably stronger in the upper extremities than lifters of the era of the “olympic press” where significant backbend and bowing of the knees were permitted.

 

 

 

Research from the press era (1,3,5,12,13,15) established that athletes who typically were good pressers did not do as well in the other two exercises; and, relatively speaking, weaker upper extremities facilitated the assimilation of the technique of the jerk and the snatch.  The non – uniformity of the figures presented in table 1 illustrates this point.

 

 

 

The principle reason deduced as to why the big pressers failed to do as well in the clean and jerk (despite possessing what would seem an advantage: strong arms and shoulders) was that they would typically try to “press” the barbell in the jerk, i.e., inappropriate use and timing of the arm and shoulder muscles in the exercise.(1,2,3,4,12,13,15,18,19)

 

 

 

Table 1. Athletes who set world records  in the press disproportional to the other exercises (from the list published by the IWF of the top 50 world record holders of all time based on a minimum of 10 world records per athlete)

Name Country Press Snatch C&J Total
Kono, T. USA 10 2 3 6
Novak, G. USSR 16 4 0 1
Foeldi, I. HUN 14 0 0 6
El Touni,K. EGY 10 4 2 0
Gnatov, A. USSR 10 0 3 0
Manger, J. GER 11 1 0 0
Bettemborg, H SWE 11 0 0 0
Kaplunov, USSR 7 0 2 2
Minayev USSR 8 0 0 2

 

 

The Speed – Press. Although very similar in external structure to the “strength – press” the “speed – press” differed in the speed and even the amplitude of the hip and trunk action. Roman categorized Viktor Kurentsov and Jan Talts (both from the USSR) as “speed – pressers”.

 

 

 

Roman wrote this about Kurentsov:  “What distinguishes his press from other athletes is that the sportsman generates such a barbell speed not by the preliminary lowering of the chest (the barbell is only 4 cm below where it would be in a vertical stance) but by a very short and rapid shifting of the pelvis backwards (by 5 cm) and straightening the trunk with a simultaneous “energetic” inclusion of the arms in the movement, which, without slowing down “picks up” the barbell with full force.” (6).

 

 

 

Accordingly, in Roman’s analysis of Jan Talts’ press he indicated that: “Barbell separation from the chest is carried out by a rapid movement of the pelvis and a straightening of the trunk.” Talts’ speed of barbell separation from the chest was 1.48 m/sec which was the highest recorded in his weight division. (22) However, Kurentsov’s speed of separation of 1.6 m/sec “was the highest “separation” speed recorded of all the athletes in all of the weight classes.” (6) 

 

 

 

That a middleweight of 164 cm in height like Kurentsov would have the highest speed of separation, regardless of weight class, is not to be expected. According to Roman, “The heavier lifters lift bigger weights, therefore, their barbell separation speed is greater.”(6) Furthermore, Kurentsov himself was quick to point out that they (the Russians) “do not bend the legs, we bow the body”, i.e., the amplitude of the preliminary movement to begin the exercise is rather small. (21)

 

 

 

If you look at the pictures depicting the preliminary starting motions of both Kurentsov and Talts (see figures) it is obvious that both athletes perform substantially smaller movements at the knee and hips to begin their presses than either Foeldi or Kangasniemi. Yet, both Soviets generated significantly larger barbell speeds at separation.

 

 

 

The Press of V. Kurentsov (USSR)

 
The Press of Y. Talts (USSR)

 
Talts Press B

Kurentsov press-D

 

The smaller movements in the aforementioned joints translates into smaller moments relative to the muscles and joints involved; which means greater power can be developed. Furthermore, the smaller movements are performed at higher speed which means a faster stretching and subsequent contraction of the working muscles. The smaller, faster and more powerful preliminary starting movements of the presses of Kurentsov and Talts enabled them to bend the bar more and more fully utilize its elasticity to “assist” in lifting it.     

 

 

It is worth noting that both Talts and Kurentsov were multiple world record holders in both the press and the jerk. (table 2).

 

 

 

Table 2. Athletes who set world records  in the press and the clean and jerk disproportional to the other exercise (from the list published by the IWF of the top 50 world record holders of all time based on a minimum of 10 world records per athlete

Name Country Press Snatch C&J Total
Alexeyev, V USSR 17 4 32 26
Talts, Y. USSR 11 3 14 12
Kurentsov, V. USSR 6 0 6 7
Veres, G. HUN 6 0 5 5
Krishichin, USSR 6 0 4 5

 

 

 

It can be asserted that the crucial elements of the press technique of both Talts and Kurentsov had much in common with the correct technique of the jerk; whereas, the opposite was true for “strength pressers” like Foeldi, i.e., there would be little carry – over to the clean and jerk from the practice of this type of press in training.

 

 

 

Athletes like Kurentsov and Talts essentially did the clean and jerk twice in a competition. Consequently, as can be seen from table 2, their world record production of press, jerk and total were almost uniform. This probably would have been the case with Alexeyev (another “speed – presser”) as well, except he continued competing long after the press was eliminated.

 

 

 

N.I. Luchkin wrote in reference to technique of the jerk: ‘the most efficient use of the arms is one of the factors involved in lifting a big weight;” “Of course, you can lift light and medium weights as you please, without even splitting under the barbell, but with a limit weight, which one is often only able to hold on the chest with difficulty, “jerking it” with the arms is not feasible.”(2)

Kurentsov like Talts grasped the barbell with essentially the same hand spacing for both jerk and press: shoulder width. They did not employ a thumb – less grip and did not rotate the elbows to the side as the barbell approached the forehead. The press technique of the aforementioned lifters was focused to produce as large as possible speed of barbell separation from the chest; and, with maximum utilization of the “reactive” forces available, to move the body away from the biomechanically difficult portion of the exercise, i.e., minimized the actual pressing of the barbell.

 

So, because the “speed press” was a speed – strength exercise and did not involve much actual pressing like a military press, or a “strength press”, the shoulder – width – hand spacing, all other things being equal, was most effective grasp for both the press and the jerk.


Since, as Luchkin said, jerking a big weight with the arms is not feasible, a hand – spacing suitable for a strict or “strength press,” where the hands are significantly wider than shoulder width is not the most effective for the jerk. Lifting a big weight in the jerk requires maximum use of the strongest muscles of the lower extremities such that they are “re – used” in the same sequential pattern as they were deployed in beginning the exercise.

 

 

 

That being said, the critical deployment of arms in the jerk comes after the legs have ceased to straighten from the preliminary half – squat and the descent under the barbell begins. The athlete must use the stretched arms and shoulders to “push – off” from the barbell. Therefore, there is no pressing as such from the instant of switching directions; which can “dampen” the “re – deployment” of the lower extremities.

 

 

 

The push – off from the barbell in combination with the explosive tearing of the feet from the floor causes the athlete’ s feet quickly to re – connect with the floor and add additional acceleration to the barbell’s vertical movement.

 

 

The maximum effectiveness of the push – off with the arms comes with a shoulder width hand spacing because this is strongest position of the arms: with the muscles stretched, i.e., the mechanical conditions favor the muscles most involved in separating the barbell from the chest.

 

 

The Jerk of Viktor Kurentsov

 

 

The jerk of Viktor Kurentsov is of interest with respect to what has been discussed. Kurentsov’s jerk was considered to be exemplary: “Viktor Kurentsov performs the jerk from the chest magnificently;”(20). L.N. Sokolov (17) wrote: “in mastering the technique of the jerk it is necessary to try to execute the preliminary half – squat faster and shorter. V. Kurentsov, whom has achieved phenomenal results in this exercise, is an excellent example.” The jerk of Kurentsov was analyzed by a number of Soviet biomechanists (8,9,10,18).

 

 

 

His modern, exemplary jerk technique was a factor in altering the accepted notions (from the 40s and 50s) about how one performs this exercise.

 

 

 

Roman said: “The dynamics of his jerk are somewhat peculiar. Kurentsov is faster than other sportsmen. A detailed analysis revealed the importance of sufficient acceleration from the half squat… but also, of great significance, is the well timed rearrangement of the legs in the split position.” (8)

 

 

 

So, Roman recognized the critical importance of the re – utilization of the legs to a successful jerk; which in turn, confirmed Sokolov’s analysis of the of the jerk (12), that the early or otherwise inappropriate use of the arms causes a reduction in force output from the legs. A diminished output from the legs adversely affects the athlete’s ability to lift a maximum weight in this exercise. The arms and shoulders are simply incapable of compensating for a “diminished” output from the legs.  

Roman (14) indicated that the lifters in the light weight classes typically are able to lift the barbell to less than 50% of the necessary height to jerk a weight successfully as a result of the half squat – thrust phases of the jerk. These athletes make up the shortfall by explosively tearing their feet from the floor and quickly and energetically returning them to the platform in what is typically a wider split position.

 

 

 

So, the correct timing of an explosively executed descent produces a lifting force on the barbell as the athlete moves under it  – in a similar manner as in the snatch and the clean, i.e., the force of the body’s inertia is transferred to the barbell.  

 

 

 

The effectiveness of the descent under the barbell in the jerk depends on the appropriate deployment of the muscles of the lower extremities. Pressing the barbell inappropriately in the jerk adversely affects the lifting power of the lower extremities in the descent to the split position.

 

 

 

The Connection between the Speed of Barbell Separation from the Chest in the Press and the Maximum Speed of the Barbell in the Jerk

 

 

According to Ivanov and Roman (11) the maximum barbell speeds of the triathlon era (press, snatch and clean and jerk program) were “significantly higher” than those observed in the biathlon era (snatch and clean and jerk program). The athletes of the triathlon era who had the highest barbell speeds in the jerk were: Z. Smalzerz (52 kg class) 1.6 m/sec; P. Korol (67.5 kg class) 1.76 m/sec; V. Kurentsov (75 kg class) 1.8 m/sec; N. Ozimek (82.5 kg class) 1.86 m/sec; J. Talts (90 kg class) 1.91 m/sec (11).

 

 

 

Consider what has just been said about these athletes in light of table 3.

 

 

 

All of the aforementioned athletes were speed – pressers (although we have been unable to locate data on the presses of Smalzerz, Korol and Alexeyev in the literature). Yurik Vardanyan whom had the highest recorded barbell speed in the jerk (1.96 m/sec) competed in the biathlon era, has been included in the table for comparison.    

 

 

 

Table 3. Maximum recorded speed of barbell at separation of the press and a comparison of some maximum jerk speeds

Athlete Weight Class Max. Velocity in Press Max. Velocity in Jerk
Z. Smalzerz 52 kg Speed – presser 1.6 m/sec
P. Korol 67.5 kg Speed – presser 1.76 m/sec
V. Kurentsov 75 kg 1.6 m/sec 1.8 m/sec
N. Ozimek 82.5 kg 1.24 m/sec 1.86 m/sec
J. Talts 90-110 kg 1.48 msec 1.91 m/sec
V. Alexeyev 110 kg + Speed – presser 1.92 m/sec
Y. Vardanyan 82.5 kg Biathlon era 1.96

 

From the data presented in table 3 it is interesting to note that the guys who had the highest barbell speeds in the jerk (of the press era) either had the highest separation speeds in the press during that era; or, were in fact “speed pressers”, i.e., the mechanism inherent to the speed press is the same mechanism crucial to the jerk.

 

 

 

So, the “strength press” was not an exercise where a lifter could expect much carry – over benefit to the clean and jerk. (table 1)

 

 

 

However, on the other hand the “speed press” apparently did have a complimentary affect on the jerk because of the commonality of the fundamental technical elements of both exercises. (tables 2 & 3).

 

 

 

The Snatch of Viktor Kurentsov

 

 

Well then, Viktor Kurentsov was one of the great pressers of his era and one of the all time greats in the clean and jerk. His clean and jerk world record of 187.5 kg established at the 1968 Mexico Olympics lasted five years; it remained intact until it was finally broken in the two lift era. Both his press and his jerk were scrutinized by various biomechanists, all of whom attested to Kurentsov’s technical superiority.

 

 

 

However, Kurentsov could not avoid one of the problems connected with the triathlon era. Even though his press technique was an exemplary model of how an athlete can effectively utilize speed strength in this exercise, his results offer a vivid example of the established negative correlation between improvements in the press and the results in the snatch; and, the natural acceleration of strength improvement with age accompanied by a deceleration of speed improvement. (3, 5, 12, 13, 14, 23)

 

 

 

Presented in table 4 are Kurentsov’s results in the two Olympiads in which he competed. The results of Foeldi, George and Ozimek are also included for comparison. As you can see Kurentsov’s press improved by 17.5 kg and jerk by 12.5 kg. His snatch improved by only 5kg over the 4 – year period. A similar situation can be seen in the other lifters’ results especially Pete George whose press increased by 17.5 kg, snatch by only 5 kg and jerk by only 7.5 kg.

 

 

 

Table 4. Olympic triathlon results of selected medalists reflecting the negative affect of the improvement in the press on the snatch and or both the other two exercises.

V. Kurentsov USSR WT. Class Press Snatch Clean and Jerk
1964 75 kg 135 130 175
1968 75 kg 152.5 135 187.5
I. Foeldi HUN        
1960 56 kg 100 90 130
1964 56 kg 115 102.5 137.5
1968 56 kg 122.5 105 140
1972 56 kg 127.5 107.5 142.5
P. George USA        
1948 75 kg 105 122.5 155
1952 75 kg 115 127.5 157.5
1956 75 kg 122.5 127.5 162.5
N. Ozimek POL        
1968 82.5 kg 150 140 182.5
1972 82.5 kg 165 145 187.5

 

 

 

Viktor Kurentsov the multiple world – record – holder in both the press and the clean and jerk used the same approximately shoulder width hand spacing for both exercises; likewise the high barbell velocity “speed pressers” and those athletes with a high barbell velocity in the jerk. He jerked like he pressed by utilizing to the maximum the explosive strength of the strongest muscles and without relying the weaker muscles of the arms and shoulder girdle to lift the barbell.

Kurentsov with Shoulder – Width – Hand – Spacing for Jerk

 
Kurentsov Jerk

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

It is highly unlikely a wide – hand – spacing in the jerk offers any special biomechanical advantage. Comfort and or mobility limitations aside, the “shorter distance” the barbell has to be lifted with the wide –hand spacing is eliminated by the additional difficulty associated with securing the barbell at arms length.

 

 

 

Furthermore, the wide hand spacing places the arms in a position to create a number of possible disadvantages in the jerk.

 

 

1 – it is harder to hold the barbell on the chest;

 

 

2 – it is more likely the arms will be activated at least prematurely and begin pressing on the bar because of the lowered position of the elbows;

 

 

3 – it is more likely the wide spacing of the hands will negate at least some of the elastic potential of the bar because they can be “supporting” the bar while they are holding it to the chest;

 

 

4 – the potential for an elbow injury is greater with a wide hand spacing. It is common knowledge that the most common injury in the snatch is a dislocation of the elbow. The most obvious difference between the snatch and the jerk with the barbell in the overhead position is the width of grip. Even though the weight is larger in the jerk, it is very rare that a lifter will dislocate the elbow with a jerk – unless the grip is wide, i.e., the stress at the elbow joint to remain locked is increased almost exponentially with a wide grip and a bigger weight. 

 

 

 

References

1 Sokolov, L.N., “Modern Training of Weightlifters”, Weightlifting Yearbook, 1974:4 – 8 Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers 1974, Translated by Bernd W. Scheithauer, M.D. 1975

2. Luchkin, N.I., Tyazhelaya Atletika, Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow, 1962, Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.

3 Sokolov, L.N., “The Significance of Speed in Weightlifting and Methods to Develop It”, Tyazhelaya Atletika, Sbornik Statei. Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow 1971:111 – 118. ,  English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

4 Vorobeyev, A.,N., Tyazhelaya Atletika, I Sport, Moscow, Publishers, 1977, pp 6 –7. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

5 Chernyak, A.V., “ The Optimal Ratio of the Triathlon Exercises.” Tyazhelaya Atletika, Sbornik Statei. Fizkultura I Sport, Publishers, Moscow, 1971: 18 – 24.  English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr©

6 Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M.S., “The Press of V. Kurentsov” The Press, The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk, Fizkultura I Sport, Moscow, 1970. English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

7 Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M.S., “The Snatch of V. Kurentsov” The Press, The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk, Fizkultura I Sport, Moscow, 1970. English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

8 Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M.S., “The Clean and Jerk of V. Kurentsov” The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk, Fizkultura I Sport, Moscow, 1978. English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

9 Ivanov, A.T., Roman, R.A., “Components of the Jerk from the Chest”, Tyazhelaya Atletika 1975: 23 – 26. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

10 Ivanov, A. T., Roman, R.A., “The Jerk Technique of World Record Holders V. Kurentsov and D. Rigert” Tyazhelaya Atletika, 1976:42 – 47. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

11 Ivanov, A. T., Roman, R.A., “Peculiarities of Jerk Technique of Weightlifters” Weightlifting Yearbook 1981. pp 43 – 54, English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

12 Sokolov, L.N., “Some Questions About the Technique and Methods of Training the Clean and Jerk,” Tribuna Masterov, 1963, Moscow :81-90. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

13 Sorokin, M., “Some Questions about the Training of Weightlifters”, Tribuna Masterov, Moscow, 1963:133. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

14 Roman, R.A., The Training of the Weightlifter, Fizkultura I Sport, Moscow, 1986. English Translation Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

15 Sokolov, L. N., “Reasons for the Lagging of the Snatch,”    Teoriya I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury, 1965:10:41, pp. 43–45 Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

16 Povetkin, Y.S. and Vilkovsky, Y.V., “Biostructure of the Modern Press,” Teoriya I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury, 1972:6:11- 12. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

17 Rodionov, V.I. , “The Press,” Tribuna Masterov :24 – 41:1963. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

18 Zhekov, I.P., Biomechanics of the Weightlifting Exercises, M, FiS. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

19 Vorobeyev, A.,N., Tyazhelaya Atletika, I Sport, Moscow, Publishers, 1972, pp 110 – 114 . Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

20 Vorobeyev, A.,N., Tyazhelaya Atletika, I Sport, Moscow, Publishers, 1971, pp 12. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

21 Kurentsov, V., Personal Communication. 10/1970

22 Roman, R.A., Shakirzyanov, M.S., “The Press of J. Talts” The Press, The Snatch, The Clean and Jerk, Fizkultura I Sport, Moscow, 1970. English Translation, Sportivny Press, Livonia, Michigan. Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.©

23 Kalinichenko, A.V., “Training for World Records in the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk”, Weightlifting Yearbook, 21 – 23: 1974

 

 

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