At LBEB, we love working overhead lifts because we feel that they can build tricep and shoulder strength like no other movements can. Many times during our Strongman training, we will progress through pressing, push pressing, and finally, jerking. The last two of the previous movements mentioned help the lifter move more weight overhead because there is a dipping motion involved with the legs which helps to accelerate the movement of the bar overhead, making for a faster lockout with heavier weight. However, there are errors that can occur in the dip which can actually make the movement weaker! This short article will discuss the main errors, and hopefully get you to moving more weight overhead. Without a doubt, one of the biggest flaws I see in a lifter’s dip position is the relationship between their knees and their feet. Below is a photo of what I consider to be a weak dip position:
You can see that his knees are clearly extended over the toes, which is causing the bar to move forward past his midline. This will cause the bar to be too far in front when he ascends out of the dip, causing the bar to move in a half circle motion around his face in an arcing motion so he can lock the bar out overhead. Many lifts lost overhead are due to this error. Another negative aspect of sending the knees out past the toes in the dip is the loss of most of the hip and posterior power in the dip. There is not a whole lot of power to be gained from a dip when the driving motion is coming from the toes: the body is simply in too poor of a position to move heavy weight overhead properly. Below is a photo of a proper dip position:
In this photo, you can see that his knees have not moved very forward at all, and in fact it looks like he is sitting back. This is exactly what we want! By sitting back into his hips, he keeps his knee from shooting forward and wasting the dip. He is also in a more suitable position for driving the weight overhead because he is able to recruit much more hip and posterior chain power that otherwise could be wasted. Sitting back into his hips will also allow him to keep that bar over his midline, meaning when he begins the drive, the bar will travel straight up, rather than arcing around his face. One thing to keep in mind when sitting back is to keep the chest elevated: the last thing you want is to turn a dip into a front rack good morning. A proper dip is very fast and very short, it’s not a half squat or an 8 inch descent. In fact, the deeper you dip, the more power you lose from the dip came drive sequence. Think about sitting back into your hips while driving your knees out to the sides. I recommend a stance that is slightly more narrow than your vs quart stance, with toes pointed slightly out. A way to test this is to look down at your shoes when dipping with an empty bar. If you look down and can’t see your feet because your knees are in the way, you are doing it wrong. Do NOT look down during an actual lift!
Do these tips help with your overhead lifts? Let us know!