Counter Balance Technique

Try the Dip: For a More Effective Jerk

Written by: Marc Chasnov

There are many components to a successful jerk.  One of the more important components of the jerk is the dip. The dip involves the descending and ascending movement pattern of the body to propel the bar upward from the body.

To perform the dip correctly it is important to have a knowledge of the dip and how to apply this mechanics to the jerk.

One way to study the mechanics of the dip is to study the mechanics of similar movement patterns.  Standing to sit-to standing, is a similar movement pattern to the dip.

Sitting to Standing

Sit upright on a chair of standard height (about 16 inches).   Keep feet flat on the floor, knees positioned at right angles.  Try to stand while maintaining a vertical upper body.  What happens?In order to stand from sitting on a chair you have to lean your upper trunk forward.


To initiate standing from sitting the trunk flexion of the upper body shifts the center of gravity in the weight of the upper trunk forward.  (COG: an imaginary point in a body of matter where the total weight of the body maybe thought to be concentrated.)  This forward shift of the COG is necessary to rise from sitting.  

As the body leaves the chair, the forward shift of the COG is balanced by the rearward shift of the COG. The posterior weight shift towards the pelvis/butt, balances the trunk flexion.  The posterior shift of the COG counterbalances the forward shift of the COG during trunk flexion.

The continuum between the forward and the rearward shift of the COG exist and most of ascending movement patterns, including the dip

The majority of research in Olympic weightlifting originated in Russia during the 1960s 1970s and 1980s.  An article written by Ivanovand Roman in the 1981 Russian Weightlifting year book, by Sportivny Press, in part discusses the mechanics of the dip.  

The article is entitled "Peculiarities of the Jerk Technique of the Weightlifters."  The authors use the Russian term, "half squat". Their substitute for the American term the dip. 

The authors refer to the CCGS, the common center of gravity of the athlete-barbell system.  The author states that the CCGS need to move up and down as vertically as possible during the half squat.  As the lifter descends into the half squat, there is a tendency for the trunk to incline forward.  

Take a look below!

To maintain the vertical integrity of the CCGS, the forward trunk inclination is counterbalanced by the rearward movement of the pelvis/butt.   The authors suggest that the most effective mechanics for the half squat involve the continuum of counterbalance of the COG shift between forward movement of upper trunk and rearward movement of the pelvis/butt.  

This counterbalance effect allows the CCGS to remain vertical.  Thus making the half squat more effective for a successful jerk.  

The authors also state that a more vertical half squat is less effective in driving the bar from the body. Since this counterbalance dip technique can be as basic as sitting, try it in your next jerking session!