Jerk Dip (Technique, Purpose, & Muscles Worked)

May 16, 2023

The jerk dip is a fundamental movement in Olympic weightlifting, crucial for mastering the Jerk part in the clean and jerk. If correctly performed, the jerk dip can significantly enhance your weightlifting technique, especially if you’re a beginner or an intermediate athlete looking to refine your skills.

The jerk dip offers numerous benefits, primarily enhancing your technique and building core and leg strength. For beginners, practicing this movement with light weights or just the bar can be an excellent way to learn the dip and drive before performing the jerk in Olympic Weightlifting.

More experienced weightlifters can use this exercise to focus on technical cues, especially if there are issues with the dip’s direction during the jerk.

How To Jerk Dip

  • You will start by placing the bar on your shoulders in the front rack position.
  • Make sure to adjust your hands so that it is in the jerk grip; this way, you practice the movement as if you are going to jerk it up.
  • Once the bar is in position, you can step back out of the squat racks or jerk blocks, standing hip-width apart with your feet. Keep your core tight, and ensure the elbows are facing forward but lower than it would be a clean.
  • Do a slight dip straight down (the same depth as your jerk dip), keep the torso upright, brace your core, and extend back up. I like cueing to stay flat-footed and push through your whole foot to utilize the legs in the dip and drive phase.
  • Once you have done the required reps, you will return the bar to the rack or drop the bar back down.

Jerk Dip Benefits

Technique For The Dip In The Jerk

Doing this movement as a beginner-level athlete with just the bar or a very lightweight can be a great exercise to teach you to dip and drive correctly before performing the jerk.

As a more experienced weightlifter who needs to refine their technique, this is also a great exercise when focusing on technical cues if you are dipping forward or too far backward in your jerk.

Builds Core & Leg Strength

The jerk dip is a fantastic strength-building exercise. You can also go quite heavy compared to your jerk in the movement. You can do this exercise with 100%-130% of your 1RM jerk.


By handling the heavy weight on your shoulders, bracing your core, and doing a partial dip with your legs, you emphasize building strength in your whole body.

Helps With Timing In The Jerk

Having a good-timed dip and drive in your jerk can have a lot of benefits, including making your lifts feel more effortless and adding weight to the bar as you get stronger and confidently going for the heavier weights.

The dip phase of the jerk is crucial when it comes to setting yourself up for success in the jerk. Doing a jerk dip with the proper timing also sets you up for handling heavier weights in the jerk.

Jerk Dip Muscles Worked

Jerk Dip Muscles Worked

The primary muscles worked in the jerk dip include the back, abs, quads, and hamstrings. Although this is a full-body exercise, these are your most prominent muscle groups worked during this exercise.

How To Program The Jerk Dip?

Depending on your goal, the jerk dip can be programmed in a few ways in a weightlifting training program. Generally, the jerk dip is a strength-building exercise.

If you are an advanced-level weightlifter, you can overload this exercise for several weeks in your training program.

Often this will mean you can add anything from 100-130% of your 1RM jerk for about 3-5 sets and 1-3 repetitions. I would only recommend you do this sometimes as it is a very strenuous exercise on your nervous system.

Now, as a beginner-level athlete, you can perform this exercise whenever you practice the clean and jerk.

The jerk dip could be done as a progression to learn how to dip in the jerk. As a beginner-level athlete, the goal is not to lift as heavy as you can as fast as possible.

The main goal should always be to perfect your technique before adding weight to the bar; therefore, doing this exercise with a very light weight or even no weight is essential in the start phase when you are learning how to lift.

Jerk Dip Variations

Jerk Dip Hold

The jerk dip hold is performed the same way as your traditional jerk dip, except you will pause for a prescribed time in the dip, which could be anything from a 2-second dip hold to a 5-second dip hold.

The jerk dip hold is a great strength-building exercise, and the time under tension will emphasize a strong core.

Jerk Dip Drive

The jerk dip drive will be performed the same way as the jerk dip, except now you will extend onto the balls of your feet when you drive up.

Some athletes keep the bar on their shoulders when performing the jerk dip drive, and others will slightly throw the barbell up as they would just before the jerk.

The jerk dip and drive is an exercise I recommend elite or advanced level weightlifters perform as it can be very technical when the bar comes back down on the shoulders after the dip and drive part of the movement.


The jerk dip is a fundamental movement in Olympic weightlifting that serves as a springboard for mastering the more complex clean and jerk. Its benefits extend beyond refining technique, as it also acts as an exceptional strength-building.

By focusing on the jerk dip’s proper form and timing, athletes of all levels can significantly enhance their weightlifting performance and safely handle heavier weights.

Depending on your goal, this exercise can be programmed for beginner-level and advanced-level weightlifters with many benefits.

About the Author

Mona is a Bronze Medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She has been competing Internationally for 20 years in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting and has also been African Champion, Commonwealth Champion, and the youngest South African Weightlifter to compete on the International stage.

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