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Old 07-06-2009, 09:07 AM   #1
Ramon Gomez
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Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Yesterday I added 10 lbs to my Shoulder Press, mostly using a trick I figured out during the last CFT. However, I'm starting to wonder if what I'm doing is legal.
From the rack, I shift into the push position, and then drop my shoulders slightly before exploding up past the "sticky spot" in the lift (is that the right term? It's the point where the elbows are nearing a 90 degree angle, and strength is at its weakest).
At first what I thought I was doing was using the elasticity in my shoulders...when you drop them slightly, there's a lot of pressure to move them back up. However, I realized after doing it a few times that I was actually recruiting the shoulder shrug to add some explosion to the beginning of the lift.
Is it legal to use my shoulders this way? Am I cheating the intent of the exercise?
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:46 AM   #2
Brian Bedell
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Sounds like you are just bouncing it. Not legit, IMO.
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:08 PM   #3
Kevin Ziegenhorn
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

The shrug is legit. The use of the stretch reflex is not.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:38 PM   #4
Jack Ho
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Ziegenhorn View Post
The shrug is legit. The use of the stretch reflex is not.
Why not?

Excerpt from Starting Strength, 2nd Edition, page 161:
Quote:
There are two different breathing patterns that can be used during the set. The first, which seems to be more useful for novices using lighter weights, is to breathe at the top of the press, at lockout. It has to be a quick breath, taken without relaxing anything that is supposed to be tight. It has the advantage of allowing you to rebound the bar quickly off of the shoulders, making the press analogous to the bench press with the stretch reflex at the bottom. This use of a stretch reflex is fine at first, but most lifters tend to outgrow this and adopt breathing at the shoulders between reps. This method requires that the lifter stay very tight, with chest up during the breath, a thing learned with experience. Breathing at the top allows a novice to handle heavier weights while learning the skills necessary to maintain control during the press, and will work better for flexible people who can get in a good forward lockout position to catch a breath. Breathing at the shoulders allows the more experienced lifter the luxury of a second or two of rest between heavy reps. Try both methods and see which works better for you.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
Kevin Ziegenhorn
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Rip's clearly talking about multiple reps in that quote. Note the discussion of the breath at the top of the rep and the rebound off the shoulders being "between reps". That passage is not about the CFT, which was the OP's concern.

And to be clear, none of this is to say that there is not a useful purpose for the stretch reflex in training. But the CFT is not about training as much as it's about measuring against a common standard. The movement the OP described is, IMO, a fault in the CFT.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:49 PM   #6
Ramon Gomez
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Interesting. Looks like opinion is divided.
I may actually be guilty of not RTFMing here...I have a copy of SS, but always just assumed I knew how to shoulder press. I'll go back and read whatever I can.
I suspect that I was getting more force from the shrug itself than the elasticity/bounce in my shoulders. I'm guessing that the shrug is OK, since it's technically a shoulder movement, but the elasticity I'm not so sure about...it feels like I'm abusing the physics of my body.
I guess I'll have to look into what Rip says; Jack posted an interesting quote there.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:54 PM   #7
Jacob Cloud
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

From http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf...06_CFTotal.pdf (WFS)

Quote:
Any halt in the upward motion of the bar, identified as the part of the bar between the hands, constitutes a missed attempt,
We'd need to see a vid to really judge, IMO. But the rules are pretty clear.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:51 PM   #8
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Cloud View Post
From http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf...06_CFTotal.pdf (WFS)

Quote:
Any halt in the upward motion of the bar, identified as the part of the bar between the hands, constitutes a missed attempt,
We'd need to see a vid to really judge, IMO. But the rules are pretty clear.
How does this quote apply? He's initiating the movement with slight downward motion of the shoulders, there's no description of halting the upward motion of the bar. The upward motion hasn't even begun yet.

And where in the Press rules does it state that shoulder shrug to initiate is ok, whereas creating bounce/using the stretch reflex isn't? I can't find mention of either.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:03 PM   #9
Ramon Gomez
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Ho View Post
How does this quote apply? He's initiating the movement with slight downward motion of the shoulders, there's no description of halting the upward motion of the bar. The upward motion hasn't even begun yet.

And where in the Press rules does it state that shoulder shrug to initiate is ok, whereas creating bounce/using the stretch reflex isn't? I can't find mention of either.
Jack, I think you've got an accurate picture of what I'm doing. I think some of the other folks do, as well, but Jacob's right...I need to create a video so that everyone can clearly see the motion so that we're all clear. I'll try to do that in the next week or so.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:17 AM   #10
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Re: Shoulder Press: what's legal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Ho View Post
How does this quote apply? He's initiating the movement with slight downward motion of the shoulders, there's no description of halting the upward motion of the bar. The upward motion hasn't even begun yet.

And where in the Press rules does it state that shoulder shrug to initiate is ok, whereas creating bounce/using the stretch reflex isn't? I can't find mention of either.
The quote applies because we are talking about a single rep, unlike the quote you referenced that pertains to sets of multiple reps. If the bar is traveling downwards before it travels upwards, the 1RM CFT lift is not legal. Make that, if it travels downwards at all. Hence, the request for a video. I have a hard time picturing a shoulder shrug as described ("...and then drop my shoulders slightly before exploding up...") without a bounce/downward bar movement to start it off.
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