The strict press and its variations (the push press and push jerk) are a great group of movements that will increase shoulder flexibility, upper body strength, coordination and raise your overall explosive power output.
Video from Crossfit Inc. that shows the variation in press movements
As you can tell from the video, each press movement increases in explosive power, which in turn can add as much as 30% more weight to each movement if executed correctly.
The problem many have with presses is of course incorrect form . This blog post will attempt to address the 3 quickest fixes that should add some big numbers to your presses. Everyone loves a PR!
1) Squeeze your butt.
You need to pucker up, buttercup. If you squeeze your butt, you will keep your midline stable and prevent that ugly rainbow rainbow that we all know we need to avoid but sometimes do anyway. The rainbow arch looks a little something like this:
By flexing your butt, you will also keep you hip open and take some of the strain of pressing off of your lower back. If you have ever felt a twinge of pain on your lower back when you near you 1RM, you know what I am talking about.
2) Suck your ribs down.
Sucking your ribs down will help to decrease the overall distance that the bar has to travel to overhead lockout. This basically means that you need to squeeze your abdominal muscles and contract your stomach while still keeping a big chest. This also goes hand in hand with flexing your butt. If they are both done simultaneously, you will decrease the travel distance of the bar and midline stability. Taking a big breath and holding it, then flexing your abs, is an effective way of accomplishing this.
3) Drive your head through the window.
If you watch any of the big Olympic boys doing clean & jerks, you will notice how quickly they drive their head through the window.
This adds the benefit of getting the bar over your midline quickly while negating the chances of the bar traveling away from your chest rather than straight up. It will also help to have high elbows so the bar is directly under your chin. Finally, after flexing your butt and sucking down your ribs, lean your head back and push the bar straight up rather than away from you and them up. This will also prevent that rainbow arch we discussed earlier.
It is important to remember not to drastically extend the neck because you may injure yourself, rather just focus on getting your head under the bar.
Try working on these 3 tips and see if you start setting some new PRs on your presses!
On side note, I had some amazing venison burgers that I picked up from Stewarts Meat Market in Yelm. It was about a 75 minute drive, but it was completely worth it. I made sure to stock up on a lot of exotic meat, its my thing.
I also took more than 2 minutes off of my KELLY time today for a PR of 22:58. Not bad considering I have gained more than 25 pounds since I last did this WOD. Hopefully I hold that second place spot on the leaderboard!