No professional weightlifting club could exist without jerk blocks and pull boxes. Crossfit Boxes intending to offer their members a convenient environment for intense Oly training should consider a purchase as well. Let’s have a look at their advantages, quality characteristics and how they can be used to improve your lifting.
JERK BLOCKS – SERIOUS EQUIPMENT!
Jerk Blocks – also known as jerk boxes – are a great tool for effective and efficient weightlifting session.
They allow for the easy placement of the barbell at chest height. From here the weight can be picked up to the front rack position conveniently – the starting point for the split, push or squat jerk as well as for strict and push presses.
The big advantage in comparison to the usual rig or rag is that the barbell can be dropped back onto the jerk blocks at chest height after the lift. This enables the athlete to complete multiple shoulder to overhead movements, even with heavy weight, without the time consuming and tiring process of lowering the weight in between reps. Perfect preparation for high rep presses in WODs! Also, a failed jerk doesn’t need to be picked up anymore. This comes in especially handy for a jerk weight higher than a 1Rm clean.
Athletes new to jerk blocks might feel slightly cramped at the beginning, and it takes time to get used to being surrounded by the blocks. But a change in habit will have hugely positive results for your performance.
The benefits of using HOLD STRONG jerk blocks:
- The barbell only falls down to shoulder height after the lift – perfect for several unbroken heavy jerks
- Failed lifts don’t have to be picked up from the ground
- Helps to improve your front rack position
- Protects the floor
- Reduces the noise of dropped weights
- Mobile station for shoulders to overhead movements wherever needed in the gym, easy to store when not in use
- Multi-functional and can be used for many different exercises e.g. partial overhead squats, dips etc
TIPS TO IMPROVE THE DIP AND DRIVE TECHNIQUE FOR THE JERK
Having a comfortable shelf on the shoulders for the bar will allow the dip and drive to be straight and powerful. The blocks allow any athlete to easily set up a strong front rack position.
If you struggle to keep your chest or elbows up during the dip, then you may have to work on improving your thoracic mobility or loosening your lats and triceps. Alternatively it may be postural strength. For this issue, jerk dips with heavyweight for 3 sets of 5 will help the athlete strengthen the dip posture. In addition, a common habit to watch out for is to compromise the upright position of the rack by using the arms too early, you must let the shoulders drive through the bar before your arms punch through.
PULL BOXES – HALF WAY FOR FULL RESULTS
Pull Boxes are much lower than jerk blocks. These solid pieces of equipment allow the clean and snatch (and all their different variations) to be started from a resting position around knee height. From this elevated position, the second pull is stressed much more. Regularly training snatches and cleans from the blocks will significantly help to develop explosive power and strength.
A hang clean or snatch is a different lift from the “dead position”, and the boxes provide an alternative type of training stimuli that cannot be replicated without them.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF SNATCH BLOCK TRAINING FOR CROSSFITTERS AND WEIGHTLIFTERS
Snatching from the blocks helps the lifting performance of a weightlifter or Crossfitter. If you can establish a bombproof second and third pull then that will allow you to lift more in one rep max lifting events and help the efficacy of your barbell cycling.
As any of you who have tried high rep barbell cycling – especially snatches – will testify, your arms will burn out quickly if you’re lifting with sub optimal technique, and often this is because of inefficiencies in the second pull.
- Get the second pull right by integrating snatch block work into your program
- Develop better pulling technique
- Save your arms, do more reps, get better WOD scores/times. Simple!
In summary, lifting from the blocks is a valuable training tool that requires no more mobility than a full snatch and can be used to improve your pulling and receiving technique. Subsequently, it has the potential to improve both your one rep max and your performance in WOD’s involving snatches and snatch cycling.
JERK AND PULL BOX CHARACTERISTICS
Both jerk and pull boxes are heavy duty equipment – they should be ready to take weights from 150kg and above. A solid surface and great quality overall construction is therefore mandatory. A size of around 1000 sqmm ensures that the barbell drops and stays securely on the block.
You can choose between classic wooden boxes, assembled from separate box units, and sturdy metal blocks constructed from a single structure. When choosing the metal variation, look out for a high quality coating that prevents rust and scratches, so the equipment stays in perfect condition for a long time. Also, consider wheels for flexible usage. Most importantly, since the metal blocks are non-adjustable, is selecting a height that suits a wide range of athletes – 90cm for jerk blocks and around 35cm for pull boxes will work well for every athlete.
If these criteria are fulfilled, then HOLD STRONG jerk blocks and pull boxes become tremendously useful pieces of training equipment. They don’t require any assembling or set up, and will have a huge effect on the explosive power, speed, technique and strength of all athletes that use them.
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