Movement Monday - Shoulder Press

When it comes to shoulder to overhead movements there are a few movements that stand out especially in the terms of Olympic lifting. But this post I am going to focus on the presses, strict press and push press. In another post, I will be looking at the push jerk and the split jerk.


Shoulder to overhead is a vital part of the sport of fitness. It is one of the three main movements that everybody should learn on their fitness journey. We already went through the squat and the deadlift and the strict press is the last fundamental movement on that list.


We will start with the strict press. In essence, this is simply moving the bar from the shoulders to overhead but there is a lot the can go right and a lot that can go wrong. The strict press can be performed as a military press.


This is where the bar is balanced in the hands with the elbows down and the bar is pressed overhead. This is the most common way that a conventional gym goes perform shoulder to overhead.


The strict press has much better carry over to Olympic lifting styles of shoulder to overhead. This is because for the Olympic lifts if you balanced the bars on your wrists then they get put under a lot of pressure. This pressure increases the risk of injury massively and is shown by the volume of people that start Olympic lifting without establishing a proper front rack passion and this results in injury.


To prevent unnecessary strain on the wrists you need to make sure you have the best front rack position as possible. To achieve this, the bar should be placed as far back into the deltoid as possible and resting into the throat. Your hands should be outside of your shoulder and elbows raised to a 45-degree angle or higher. This position is not a comfy position but that means that you are doing it right. the more you do it the more comfortable it becomes and the more your wrists will thank you.


Once you have established a good front rack position you are all set to work on your shoulder to overhead movements. For the strict press, make sure you brace your core, squeeze the glutes and quads and tighten up the front rack position. As you start to press pull your head back and don't let your elbows drop as you press. Once the bar passes your head, get your head back through and continue pressing till your arms are locked out.


There are two key main points of this. This first is making sure you pull your head back. If you don't do this there are two things that can happen both aren't great. this first is that when you press the bar up you will hit your chin and that never pleasant especially when it comes to the more explosive shoulder to overhead movements.


The other thing that could happen is you will loop the bar around your head. This is a problem as it means that when the weights go up the looping motion will throw off your centre of mass and also put you in a sub-optimal pressing position. This will result in a limit on the amount of weight you can lift.


So make sure when you are pressing you to get the head out of the way so that you build strength in the right bar bath. This will also help the carry over to the explosive movements.


One of which is the push press. This is very similar to the strict press with a leg drive. The set up for the push press is the same as the strict press. you need a good front rack position and tight cores. Dip and drive with the legs. This is done by keeping the chest upright bending the knees and sink into the heals and explode upwards. This is like trying to jump but your goal is to drive the bar up not yourself. You can get the best results from this if you drive out of your heels the whole way through the movement. Make sure you remember the key points of the strict press as they carry over. Make sure you catch with locked out knees and hips but you can press out the last bit to lock out your arms.


The push press is the other main carryovers to the Olympic lifting. It teaches the importance of a proper front rack position, how to stay in your heels on the drive and getting your head through on the catch. I would defiantly recommend trying to master the push press and nail down your drive before moving on to push jerks and split jerks. That way you will have a lot of confidence on your drive so that you can focus more on getting under the bar.


I hope that you have gotten a few tips from this post and I will be going through the split jerk and push jerk next week to finish off the shoulder to the overhead collection. Keep training during this difficult time and if you have any questions and/or are interested in Personal training sessions don't be afraid to give me a message.

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