Last night in a quick training session with Mike Poppa at Real Fitness CrossFit Sarasota we covered all there is to know about the Olympic Lifts in 4 hours. It was a quick glimpse of the lifts for a crowd that was incredibly talented to begin with. nHowever, one of the questions that came up is one I have not addressed and wanted to answer for the jerk. One of the athletes asked me why it was so important that they had their entire hand on the bar for the jerk. As a very subtle part of the jerk that is super important for lockout and speed to the lockout. You need your whole hand around the bar to allow yourself to press into the bar. You have no pressing power from a position where your elbows are high and only your fingers on the bar. Your elbows should be down at a 45° angle and you need to be able to press with your palm into the bar. That being said I do not ever advocate thinking about pressing the bar overhead in the jerk. That’s just not practical with any sort of significant weight. However, you do want to allow your body to use the pressing power to push yourself under the bar into a good split. This type of pressing power increases speed and allows for a faster lockout under the bar. If you are not pressing in the bar you’re literally taking away your ability to drop into a split faster than gravity will allow. Without applying pressure downward your body can only move at the speed of gravity. However if you’re able to press into the bar as it moves upward you’re able to press yourself down faster than gravity pulls you down naturally. This is why it’s important to have your whole hand on the bar and have your elbows down at 45°. This subtle little jerk technique will give you extra speed and extra lockout power especially in PR attempts. Give this a shot and remember: SPEED KILLS. Especially in the Olympic lifts.