The Squat Jerk is an advanced weightlifting technique used in the sport of Olympic weightlifting and is also seen in certain strength and conditioning programs. It requires a combination of strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the correct technique, benefits, variations, and other essential details associated with the Squat Jerk.



  1. Foot Position: Start with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider. Position the barbell across your shoulders in a clean grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Elbow Position: Ensure your elbows are pointing out to the sides and slightly upward to create a stable shelf for the barbell to rest on.


  1. Dip and Drive: Bend your knees slightly and then explosively extend your hips, knees, and ankles to propel the barbell upward.
  2. Split Position: As the barbell reaches its peak height, quickly drop into a deep split stance, with one foot forward and the other foot back. The front knee should be bent at approximately a 90-degree angle, while the back knee is bent at a lesser angle.
  3. Overhead Lockout: Simultaneously press the barbell overhead with your arms fully extended and locked out. Your back foot should be on its toes, and your front foot should remain flat on the ground.
  4. Recovery: Stand up from the split position by driving through the front heel and bringing the back foot forward to meet the front foot.


  • Keep your torso upright and your chest lifted throughout the movement to maintain balance and stability.
  • Practice footwork and timing to ensure proper coordination between the dip, drive, and split phases of the lift.
  • Start with light weights and gradually increase the load as you become more proficient in the movement.


  1. Increased Power Output: The Squat Jerk requires explosive hip and leg drive to lift the barbell overhead, resulting in improved power production.
  2. Full-body Strength: This compound movement engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, shoulders, and arms, leading to overall strength development.
  3. Improved Mobility: Performing the Squat Jerk requires flexibility in the hips, ankles, and shoulders, leading to enhanced mobility and range of motion over time.
  4. Athletic Performance: The Squat Jerk translates well to sports that require explosive movements, such as weightlifting, gymnastics, and various field and court sports.

Muscles worked in Squat Jerk

The Squat Jerk is a complex, full-body movement that engages multiple muscle groups to execute the lift effectively. Here are the primary muscles worked during the Squat Jerk:

  1. Quadriceps: The quadriceps muscles located at the front of the thigh are heavily engaged during the Squat Jerk, especially during the initial dip and drive phase of the lift. They help extend the knee joint to generate power and lift the body and the barbell overhead.
  2. Hamstrings: The hamstrings, located at the back of the thigh, assist the quadriceps in extending the knee joint during the upward phase of the lift. They also play a role in stabilizing the hips and controlling the descent into the split position.
  3. Glutes: The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are activated during the explosive hip extension phase of the lift. They contribute to generating power and driving the body upward to lift the barbell overhead.
  4. Core Muscles: The core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis, provide stability and support throughout the Squat Jerk movement. They help maintain proper posture, prevent excessive arching of the lower back, and transfer force between the lower and upper body.
  5. Shoulders: The deltoid muscles of the shoulders are heavily engaged during the overhead pressing phase of the lift. They help lift and stabilize the barbell overhead in the locked-out position.
  6. Triceps: The triceps muscles, located at the back of the upper arm, assist the shoulders in extending the elbows to lock out the barbell overhead. They play a crucial role in stabilizing the arms and maintaining control throughout the lift.
  7. Upper Back: Muscles of the upper back, including the trapezius, rhomboids, and rear deltoids, help stabilize the shoulder blades and maintain proper posture during the Squat Jerk. They assist in controlling the descent into the split position and stabilizing the barbell overhead.

Overall, the Squat Jerk is a demanding exercise that requires coordination, strength, and stability from various muscle groups throughout the body. By incorporating this lift into your training routine, you can effectively develop strength, power, and athleticism while improving overall muscle balance and coordination.

Alternate names for Squat Jerk:

  1. Jerk Squat
  2. Squat Clean and Jerk
  3. Squat Snatch and Jerk
  4. Squat Jerk Lift


  1. Power Jerk: Instead of dropping into a deep split stance, perform a power jerk by driving the barbell overhead and then quickly dropping into a quarter-squat position to catch the weight.
  2. Push Jerk: Similar to the Squat Jerk, but instead of dropping into a split stance, perform a push jerk by driving the barbell overhead and then quickly bending the knees to catch the weight in a quarter-squat position.
  3. Split Jerk: The Split Jerk is a more common variation where the lifter splits the feet front and back to catch the barbell overhead, rather than dropping into a full squat position.


The Squat Jerk is a challenging yet rewarding lift that requires skill, strength, and coordination. It offers numerous benefits for athletes and lifters looking to improve their explosive power, full-body strength, and mobility. By mastering the correct technique and incorporating variations into your training program, you can take your weightlifting performance to new heights with the Squat Jerk.

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