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Travis Jones 03-19-2007 05:20 AM

In three months, I have had dramatic results on my back squat and deadlift for the CFT. BS is up 50lbs and DL is up 100lbs. However, my Press is only up 15lbs.

Any suggestions on improving my press score?

Chris Kemp 03-19-2007 05:48 AM

Travis, a couple of things.

First, the relative increase is probably greater than you recognise as the press is generally a lot lighter than squats and deadlifts.

Second, most of the press derivatives we use in CF utilise some momentum and as such miss out on developing strength to squeeze the bar up off the shoulders.

In this fashion, the press is much like a deadlift - we are starting from the bottom of the lift and need to generate tension from scratch. I spent some time focusing on pressing and put a summary of things I learned together for a pal. Maybe some of this will be helpful to you:

[i]Form points

Start position - make sure that the elbows are at least underneath the bar. If they are behind the bar, not only are you badly set up to drive overhead but the bar will be sitting very low on your chest. Push the elbows forward a little and the bar will move up towards the shoulders.

Body tension - if your body is not locked tight, there is no way you will make a max lift. Grip the ground with your feet, flex your thighs and squeeze your glutes HARD!! First time I got this bit right, I didn't walk comfortably for days. This is similar to Pavel's irradiation technique. By squeezing a muscle hard, neighbouring muscle groups will tighten up and so on. Glutes will drag spinal erectors and abs into play really shoring up the mid-section.

Squeeze the bar up - As you approach max loads the press becomes like a deadlift - you just have to push and push until the d**n thing starts moving. You will need to lean back a little so your face is out of the bar path but limit this to a very small shift of weight to the heels. Do NOT lean back at the waist and arch the back. As the bar travels past the forehead and out of sight shift your weight back onto mid foot and get all that locked down structure beneath the bar and keep pushing. As the bar gets close to lock-out push your head through the "window" formed by your arms and the bar so it is all the way overhead.

Recovery - to get the bar back down tighten up again and slowly control the negative all the way down. If it is coming down fast, bend the knees a little as it hits your chest to soak up some of the impact.

Lastly, if you really feel that your press is a weakness then it will benefit from a little more work. Some ME work once or twice a week on top of the WOD should get things moving.

For greater detail, I can't recommend Starting Strength highly enough but hopefully this will give you something to be getting on with.

Cheers, kempie

Travis Jones 03-19-2007 10:07 AM

Thanks for the reminder about the ratio press gains compared to squat and deadlift. Also, great lifting instructions for me to follow. I am definately going to incorporate some ME into the WOD. Again thanks for the Form Points!

Chris Kemp 03-19-2007 10:33 AM

Too easy Travis! Look forward to reading about your progress.

Cheers, kempie

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