The Press is the most fundamental of movements.
Its application is so simple that it can be found innately ingrained in our being.
We perform it without such thought that we often disregard it in its usefulness to help develop strength (In both a physical and spiritual sense...the ability to lift an object above your head, and conquering it has profound impact on our psyche.) and default to its more mature and complicated brethren.
The Push Press & The Jerk (in all 4 of its variations).
Focusing on the most complex, The Jerk, we see that its usefulness is most needed under extreme volume and/or intensity. To develop high prowess within this movement we need to understand that we must first master, exhaust, and define ourselves within the confines of the base action which is, Press Object (Vertical). With this new understanding we return to The Press, to learn, practice, and perform.
We begin with the barbell.
If mobility is limited then I advise to use dumbbells and work towards reclaim your lost flexibility.
Have the barbell set in a rack that is slightly one peg beneath your standing height.
Step forward towards the barbell and rack and place your hands a full thumbs distance from the knurl.
WIth both hands on the bar and arms extended, grip the bar submaximally and externally rotate (Imagine snapping the bar in half)
Next pull yourself under the bar making sure that,
- The object is firmly in the palm of your hand
- You have a closed fist around the object
- Elbows are slightly in front of the barbell
- Barbell is resting on the clavicle supported by the anterior deltoid (The Front Rack)
Keep in mind we have just established a good grip on the bar.
Now we must establish our base.
Make sure that before you stand up from the rack you have created a small amount of intra-abdominal pressure to provide extra support to the barbell. (Use the Valsalva Technique, which will not be discussed here)
Stand from the rack and take two steps backwards.
To create a solid base of support you must,
- Have feet hip-width apart
- Grip the ground with your toes and externally rotate without losing position
- Contract anterior and posterior chains
- Retract and depress scapula into your back pockets
- Tighten abdomen pull it down into the pelvis
- Anchor rib-cage down into your abdomen
Pull the chin into the neck creating a “Sexy Double Chin.
Beginning from the floor use the legs to drive power through the body up into the torso and through the arms that will push the bar to eye/nose level.
Continue to push the barbell up above until the shoulder is in full flexion.
Once the barbell passes the top of the head return the chin to neutral.
The Barbell should now be right above the head in the coronal/frontal plane.
Repeat these steps in reserve to return the bar back to its resting position.
When to advance?
How do you know if you are ready to advance?
Thats a good questions and usually happens after about 12 weeks of continued progress on developing the press in a periodized fashion.
What happens when your in a group setting. Well there are a couple ways you can approach this.
First, understand that if you lack the proper strength to push a 45/35 lbs barbell above the head for at a minimum of 3 sets x 5 reps reps then you should NOT continue on the hierarchy. Be committed to developing strength in the press.
Second, have a conversation with your Coach For Life. He/She will be able to tell you when you should advanced based off your training age (trust me it is much younger than your actual age..thank goodness!)
Third, this is based off personal experience but I would not advance a trainee or demonstrate the push press until they have developed a three rep max strict press with superb technique.
Next Up...The Push Press