programs gym photos nutrition videos

Push Press & Common Faults

The Logic

The Push Press, its the middle child of the Press Object (Vertical) Hierarchy. It’s the one that most people acknowledge but few ever take the time to really understand or even want to hang out with....poor poor push press.

So why should you care? Because spending time developing this movements has great transferability/carry over to other similar movements,

  • The Thruster
  • The Kipping Pull Up
  • The Kipping Ring Dip
  • The Burpee

There are probably more but this list would expand to infinity and _________ (Do not want get sued by Disney so you can fill in the blank :) 

On a more serious note, once you have deposited some serious weight in your strict press strength bank account you will notice that in order to start making larger deposits you will need to change things up. Here we start to see the hips come into play, assisting with the movement and allowing us to move larger and heavier loads up and above our heads like the mighty greek gods we are!

Before we get started in breaking this bad boy down lets get some things out of the way first.

The Execution

Prerequisites :

  • Strict Press x 10
  • Established 3 Rep Max Strict Press

Position 1

  • Barbell resting on the clavicle & anterior deltoid
  • Ribcage pulled down into midline
  • Midline is braced
  • Glutes fired on
  • Quads are fixed and externally rotate
  • Feet are underneath hips and externally rotate at a fixed point

Position 2

  • Knee push away distal to the pelvis
  • Hips drop straight down
  • Weight remains in heels

Position 3

  • Extend hips violently
  • Drive weight off shoulders
  • Pull chin back (Sexy Double Chin)
  • Push weight up passing eye level 

Position 4

  • Continue to push weight overhead until arms fully locked out in frontal plane
  • Return head to neutral

Repeat steps on reverse to return the bar to Position 1

Now that we have gone over how to perform the Push Press let’s take a look at TWO Common Faults we see.




Common Fault(s)

Ship’s Figurehead

Like you saw in the video. Jake would routinely push his head through the top portion of the lift. While it is true that we want to return our head from that double chin position, we do not need to pull it through and hyperextend it past the barbell (Guillotine anyone?) 

So how do we fix it?

A simple fix is to not “shrug up” when at the top but to actively “spread the bar” with your hands and allow your head to be neutral.

Also think about squeezing your glutes and abs or standing straight.


Leaning Back or Breaking at Knees

The second fault we see is that Jake breaks at the knee’s before we drops his hip. Now Jake is a strong guy, but this faults just steals all gains we could have had if he just used his hips better.

Why is this a problem well….

  • It means Jake is relying too much on the quad extending the knee to produce force, rather than the bigger muscles of the posterior chain extending the hip
  • It puts unnecessary compressive strain on the lower back

So how do we fix it?

First get a compass and identify which side is East & which side is West (This is super important!!!). Once identified correctly push your knees out away from the centerline of your body to the side which is closest to them. Next drop the hips straight down 4-6”.

Be sure to keep the weight in your heels which will allow you to stay more upright.


Next up...The Faults of Jerks

See you in class,