The Oly Encyclopedia 56

The Importance of Elbow Positioning in the Jerk

Several years into my lifting career I noticed that if I permitted the outside or rear portion of the elbow to point in a forward direction, I had less strength in supporting the bar than if I made sure the outside or rear of the elbow pointed to the side with
he bar overhead. Years later, Naum Kelmansky, the coach of the Lost Battalion Hall weightlifting club in New York City, gave me a even more useful tip in this area. Naum was a very promising young lifter in the Ukraine, and later a high level coach in the Soviet Union, before he emigrated to the United States. He is one of the most knowledgeable Eastern European coaches that I have met and has many valuable insights about weightlifting, particularly with respect to technique.
Naum pointed out that a rotation of the elbow beyond the point that I was using (so that the crook of the elbow is rotated somewhat forward) improves even further the strength of the overhead position. This is an especially important point for lifters who have poor arm lock or some other problem that makes holding the bar overhead difficult. Although attempting this kind of elbow positioning will normally result in the lifter's placing the bar further behind the head than he or she has heretofore, this is a bonus and is not as important for all lifters as is the elbow rotation. A number of lifters with poor elbow lock have found this tip to be invaluable. Figures 8 and 9 depict good and mediocre (respectively) elbow rotation.

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