Jerk Block Building Tutorial
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Jerk Block Building TutorialGreg EverettMarch 31 2009
Jerk blocks are a somewhat mythical piece of equipmenttheir numbers are extremely small and there appears to be a constant search for plans to build them. After two years of Aimee busting my chops to build her some, with the new gym and the corresponding space, I found myself with no further excuses to put it off. The design I ended up with is not really anything newbuild multiple blocks that stack on top of each other to allow adjustment of the final height to accommodate different athletes. This is the same kind of design used at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. That said, Ive never seen the inside of their blocks, so I can only assume these are similar.
These blocks are on the small sidetheyll easily fit on a standard 8x8 platform with 2 wide rubber on each sidebut theyre big enough in our experience. This size makes them a bit more manageable in terms of relocating them to free up the platform on which they normally reside and for changing the height. If you want larger blocks, just adjust the measurements below.
The nice thing about this type of block setup is that they can be used as pulling blocks as well - as low as about 14". The total cost on the blocks was somewhere around $300, not including the gas for multiple trips to Lowes to compensate for my lack of planning, plus several years off my life.
What Youll NeedBasically: An obscene amount of wood, screws and bolts Specifically: (7) 2x10x12 (4) 2x8x12 (4) 2x6x12 (4) 4x4x12 (2) 2x4x8 (2) x 8 x 10 pine (4) x 1 x 8 pine (1) 4x6 rubber horse stall mat (or scraps = (2) 2x4 sections) (4) sturdy metal gate handles ~280 3 drywall screws ~160 1.25 drywall screws ~160 3.5 x 5/16 lag screws
Building the StackersFirst thing we need to do is cut the sections for the stackers. We will be building (6) total 10 tall stackers, (2) 8 stackers, and (2) 6 stackers. For each one, well need (2) 48 lengths and (6) 20 lengths. Cut all of these and set aside. Next we need to cut the tabs that will keep the blocks from sliding when the bar is dropped on them. Rip the 10 pine in half and cut (16) 19.5 lengths. With rough-grit sandpaper, round the corners and edges of one of the long ends. This will make the tabs slide in and out much more easily when stacking the blocks and help prevent any splintering or splitting. Measure 2.5 along the short end and draw a pencil line at this level down the long dimension of the board. Set them aside. Grab the x1.5 pine and cut (20) 6 lengths. With rough-grit sandpaper, smooth out the corners and edges of one side. These will be our stacker handles. Set aside. Assemble the basic frame of each stacker with (2) 48 lengths and (2) 20 lengthsthe 20 boards will be inside
the 48 boards. Take your time and use a square to make sure the boards are alignedthe little extra time this takes now will save you huge headaches later. Pre-drill and screw together with (3) 3 drywall screws for each joint (top, middle, bottom). Once this frame is done, measure 12, 24 and 36 along the length of each 48 side. These will be your markers for the inside boards. At the 12 and 36 marks, align a single 20 board and pre-drill and screw with (3) 3 drywall screws. At the 24 mark, align a pair of 20 boards, pre-drill and screw. Collect the handles we cut earlier. Pre-drill and screw with 1.5 drywall screws into the top middle of each short side of each stacker. You can measure if you want, but the approximate center will work fine. With the stacker assembly complete, you can now drill holes for the 3.5 lag screws. Place (2) at each corner and in each end of each center board. You can save time by assembling all the stackers with screws only first, and then drilling out all stackers together, and placing the lag screws together. To finish the stackers, we need to place the tabs. Set aside one pair of 10 stackersthese will be the bottom blocks and will not have tabs. Flip the first stacker upside down (handles on the bottom edge) and clamp a tab inside one of the short ends, placing the pencil line we left along the edge of the stacker boardin other words, there should be about 2.5 of the board protruding up. Youll have about of space on either side of the tab between it and the long boards of the stacker. Use 1.5 drywall screws to secure the tabI used (7) screws per tab in a staggered arrangement. You can now stack these things up while we build the top piece.
Building the TopThe top of the blocks is a heavy chunk that you will find moving endlessly pleasurable. It may be tough to move around, but it will hold anything you can drop on it. Cut each 4x4x12 into (3) 4 lengths. Cut one of the 2x4x8s in half for (2) 4 lengths. Cut (4) 20 lengths from the other 2x4 (cut these just shy of 20more like 19 7/8). Lay (6) of these 4x4 sections flat on the floor with (1) of the 2x4 sections in the middle. Use a spare board to align the ends. Place on of the 6 stackers on top of this assembly and align the corners. Make sure the 4x4s are pushed tightly together. Place one of the 20 2x4 sections flat against the 4x4s inside the stacker and up against the inside of each short end. Were just using the stacker as a guide for the placement of these 2x4sbasically place the 2x4 as far toward the ends of the 4x4 assembly as possible. Pre-drill and screw the 2x4 into the 4x4s (and the 2x4 in the middle) with 3 drywall screws. Use (4) screws in a square pattern for each 4x4, and (3) in a line for the outer 4x4s and middle 2x4. Remove the stacker and flip the 4x4 assembly over. Repeat for the other top piece. Sand the bottom edges and corners of the 2x4s down a bit to allow them to slide in and out of the stackers more easily. Cut from the x1.5 pine into (8) 22 and (4) 44 lengths. Stack (2) of the short pieces along the short edge
of the 4x4 assembly, pre-drill and screw. Stack (2) of the long pieces along one long edge of the 4x4 assembly (its ends will be between the short pieces), pre-drill and screw. These will help prevent errant bars from rolling of the blocks too easily. Cut (2) pieces of the rubber mat to 44 7/8 x 22 7/8. Slide them onto the 4x4 assemblies inside the pine edges and screw in at the corners (1 drywall screws work fine if you have any around). Finally, pre-drill and screw the metal gate handles to the center of each short end of each top piece. Use the 3 drywall screws instead of the screws that likely came with the handlesthese things will be holding some serious weight.
Stack and PlayThrow the top pieces on the rest of the stack and go to town. Dropping on the blocks will be pretty loudyou can reduce the noise and the bounce of the stackers somewhat by pulling the bar down as it hits rather than just letting it bounce freely. This is a good practice anyway because it ensures youre hanging onto the bar and less likely to let it bounce in some odd way to either hit you or roll off the blocks and hit someone else.
Why Use Jerk Blocks?The simplest reason to employ jerk blocks in an athletes training is to allow multiple reps at heavier weights. Rep work in the jerk is limited by how much weight an athlete can bring back down to the shoulders from overhead. Often this weight is limited considerably by elbow positioning, upper and lower body strength disparities, or simply poor lowering technique. I dont personally believe that athletes should ever eliminate all lowering phases of jerk training, but there are plenty of instances in which block work will allow important training that isnt otherwise possible.
Quick & Dirty Plate RackGreg EverettJanuary 28 2009
Plate racks are a rip-off. There, I said it. They require minimal, relatively low-quality steel, and aren't exactly remarkable feats of engineering. Instead of spend money on expensive plate racks (most of which aren't that great anyway) that could be put to better use buying... plates... we threw together some simple racks that can store both a full set of bumper plates and the metal change. The following is a simple guide to doing the same yourself. Keep in mind the thickness of our plates may be different from yours. Make sure you measure the gear you intend to store before cutting your pieces.
What You'll Need (per rack)y y y y y y y
(6) 17" lengths of 2x6" (2) 35" lengths of 2x6" (make sure to measure what you'll need for your own plates) (2) 1" x 4" x 17" (cheap pine is fine) (1) 1" x 6.5" x 17" board (2) 1.5" lengths of 1x4" 2" and 3" drywall screws (lots) Drill, bits, Tape Measure, Square, Pencil
Cut Your Wood Make all your cuts and collect the pieces. If you're patient and meticulous, sand all edges.
Assemble the Change Rack Mark a line down the center of one of the 17" lengths of 1x4 - this will be 8.5" from either edge. Place one of the 1.5" lengths along the line. Drill pilot holes and screw together. On the opposite side of the 17" board, repeat the previous, but with the 1.5" piece on the other side of the center line. To one of these 1.5" pieces, attach the second 17" board with the edges aligned with the first. Finally, screw the 1x6.5x17" board to the bottom of this assembly, with the outside edge of the open 1.5" piece flush with one of the long sides.
Click to Enlarge
Assemble the Frame Next, assemble the frame of the rack by placing one of the 17" 2x6s at each end inside the two 35" 2x6s. Drill and screw. You may want to leave the screws somewhat short of fully tightened to account for possible variation in the remaining 2x6 dividers.
Insert the Change Rack into the Frame Slide the assembled change rack into one end of the frame, and enclose with another 17" 2x6. Drill and screw this 2x6 into the long sides of the frame while pushed tightly against the change rack. Next, make sure the top of the change rack is even with the top of the frame, and drill and screw it in.
Install the Bumper Dividers Insert the remaining 17" 2x6s between the frame and drill and screw into place. For our bumpers, the spaces were 5.5", 5", 4.5" and 3.75".
Finish and Use Paint the rack if you want, and load it up!