Training Tips

Push Press: You do not slide up and down a wall

December 30, 2013
push_press

I commonly see the dip portion of the overhead lifts taught by having the athlete place their heals, butt and shoulders against a wall and are then instructed to slide up and down. They are taught that the torso must remain absolutely upright and any drop in the chest is an indication of a bad lift and needs to fixed. This is wrong.

WHY?

If you slide your body up and down a wall, you are relying solely on knee extension to perform the lift. Knee extension is not as explosive as hip extension. When was the last time you heard someone say the power comes from the knees while sprinting or performing Olympic lifts? Probably never. Not using hip extension is a huge mistake. Your hips are much more powerful than your knees.

However, it is believed that, “in order to lift the maximum amount of weight, it is essential for the torso to remain upright.” Well, here are some photos of very big lifts where the lifters DO NOThave a vertical torso. Instead, they are using a slight amount of hip flexion and a very stable torso (strong core) to achieve maximum lifts.

You can easily see that all of them DO NOT have a perfectly upright torso. Instead, they have utilized the massive amount of power in the hip extensors by sending their butt slightly back at the same time that they bend their knees (there are slight variations among top lifters on this speed ratio). To counter the movement of the “base of support,” these lifters have spent countless hours working on maintaining an optimal rack position by having proper flexibility and massive amounts of core strength.

What to do: Next time you go into the box or gym, practice your vertical jumps. Notice how you use your hips. Then grab an empty barbell and practice sending your hips back slightly like the athletes above. Then, work on improving your thoracic, lat and triceps mobility/flexibility to improve your rack positioning. Then slowly start to increase the load. Make sure not to let the bar pull you forward. You need to keep you chest up. But use your hips and I guarantee you that workouts will become easier and new 1RMs will be set.

Questions for me? Comment below and I’ll be sure to follow up!

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