How To Tall Jerk (Benefits & Common Mistakes)

January 20, 2022

The tall jerk is a great exercise to do when you have technical corrections you need to make in the split jerk. Most accessory movements you can go relatively heavy. But with the tall jerk, athletes tend to work a lot lighter to work on speed under the bar and balance in the split position of the jerk.

How To Perform The Tall Jerk

Starting Position

How To Do The Tall Jerk

To start the tall jerk, grip the bar in the jerk rack position. You can begin by using a PVC pipe or a barbell if you have mastered the technique. The feet will be under the hips in a comfortable position, and you will be standing tall.

Depending on the goal of the exercise, you splcan perform the tall jerk from various positions, including the rack position on the shoulders, the chin, or the forehead. When the bar is on the shoulders, do not have the elbows up to high but facing slightly down.

The bar should be sitting between the top part of the shoulders and the throat. Before starting the tall jerk, make sure to stand tall and keep the chest open and the back straight.


Wherever you decide to start the tall jerk (shoulders, chin, or forehead), keep the core tight and start extending onto the balls of the feet. Make sure to drive straight upwards. If the body is slightly forward, it could shift your balance entirely, and you will not be able to perform the lift correctly.

Another way to do the tall jerk is either flat-footed or on the balls of the feet. These are all variations you can do in the tall jerk, depending on the goal of the movement.

Split Position

Tall Jerk Benefits

Once you have extended onto the balls of the feet, you will not aggressively move the feet into the split position, driving the bar upwards and locking out on top. When you land in your split, ensure that you are in a well-balanced position and weight is spread evenly through the front and back foot.


By keeping the bar locked out in the jerk position, you will now recover your feet back to the starting position by moving your front foot first. Then, the back foot comes forward to be in the exact position you started. You will then lower the bar back down to the position you will be performing the next repetition.

Common Tall Jerk Mistakes

Momentum Moving Forward

Your bodyweight being forward or foot pressure forward on the balls of the feet before you start driving the bar up can lead to missing the jerk forward. Where do you want your bodyweight instead? You want the pressure to always be on the entire foot to generate the most power, which is also the position where you feel strongest.

Not Landing In A Balanced Split Position

If you aren’t in a balanced position where the feet are roughly hip-width apart in the split, it could lead to missing the lift by losing balance. This technique will also carry over the split jerk, which could develop bad habits early on with accessory movements.

Not Punching The Bar Aggressively In The Jerk

The athlete not punching the bar aggressively on top in the lockout can miss the jerk's timing and the heavier weights. Make sure to time the split and the punch to land simultaneously.

Benefits Of The Tall Jerk

How To Tall Jerk

Speed In The Movement (Precision)

It's a great way to teach speed under the bar with the jerk. You would not work as heavy as you would with the traditional jerk and can therefore work on technique and speed with this exercise.

Teaching Balance In The Jerk

It's a great way to teach you to land in a balanced jerk position. If you land slightly forward, they can correct this by getting the feel of the movement when they are performing it with light weights.

Teaching Aggression In The Movement

The tall jerk is a great way to teach aggression in the punch overhead. Talk about why the punch overhead is essential. The punch overhead is vital because it will dictate the timing of the land and holding the bar overhead, especially as the weights get heavier. If you punch slow with no aggression, you would have a big chance of missing heavier weights.

Teaching The Proper Timing Of The Movement

The tall jerk is a great way to teach the correct timing of the feet splitting and the punch overhead. This will carry over to the split jerk. What is the proper timing? The proper timing of the movement would include landing and punching out the bar simultaneously.

When To Use The Tall Jerk?

The tall jerk is a perfect accessory for those battling to push themselves under the bar with the split jerk. This teaches you to move fast in the split and punch quickly with the arms. This could be used as part of your barbell warm-up to work on technical cues before performing the split jerk.

It could also be used as a post-lifting accessory to work on speed and technique. This is also an excellent variation for practicing the jerk technique when breaking down the movements.

How Many Sets And Reps Of The Tall Jerk?

You can perform the tall jerk anywhere from 3-5 sets and 2-4 repetitions with a lightweight approximately 15-40% of your one-rep max jerk. Is there any reason you would want to work at lower or higher percentages? You would work on a lower percentage because you will do the movement from a standstill position.

There will be no extra momentum to help drive the barbell up. Working heavier could lead to doing movement wrong and compensating other muscle groups to get the bar overhead or even creating bad habits.

Tall Jerk Variations

Different Barbell Starting Positions

There are different variations to do the Tall Jerk which Include

  • Starting from the front rack position
  • Starting from the chin
  • Starting from the forehead

You can also do all 3 of these variations, either starting flat-footed or on the balls of the feet.

The higher you start with the bar, the shorter the distance for the bar to travel. You have to emphasize speed and the aggressive punch with these.

When it comes to the stance, flat-footed compared to starting on the ball of the feet. Flat-footed is a bit easier than starting on the balls of the feet, so I recommend starting there. Moving on the balls of the feet is an excellent progression after you have mastered the movement from the flat foot.

Starting on the balls of the feet requires greater balance, so you need to be more precise with the execution of the tall jerk.

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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