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Old 02-27-2009, 05:29 AM   #1
Harley Jennings
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First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

Does anyone have trouble with the initial movement of the bar while doing the shoulder press? Are there tips or movements that can help me out with this?

I have the hardest time with shoulder press when the bar is at its starting position to about my chin. Once the bar is above chin level I feel I could press alot more than I am currently. Right now I am at a 1RM of 140lb.

I work the movement once a week along with the push press and the push jerk. My push press is at 185lb. I just seem to be sticking in the early phase of the exercise.

Any help or past experience with this would be great!

Harley
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:16 AM   #2
Christopher Day
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

Hi Harley. I am no great presser, but the tip I learned from this site that has helped a lot with your exact issue is this: when beginning the press, start the movement off with as big a shrug as you can manage before transitioning into the press motion. It's not a big movement as you are still obviously keeping your legs out of it, but I find it is just enough to help the bar get going with some needed momentum.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:38 AM   #3
Tyler Smith
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

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Originally Posted by Harley Jennings View Post
I work the movement once a week along with the push press and the push jerk. My push press is at 185lb.
Keep this up and your shoulder press will improve... that initial position (bar on chest/shoulders) is the weakest point in your ROM... just as is the bottom of the squat position or the initial lift off the chest of a bench press. The answer to your problem is simple... do more shoulder pressing and you will improve your 1RM.

And if you want to get really specific, you can just load the bar down with more weight and work that initial push... or the "First Three Inches."
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:11 PM   #4
Greg Pieris
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

That's weird - my 5RM is 135lb - from about 110lb my sticking point had always been the point just as the bar has passed my head - on a hard rep, if I can past that, I can lock it out. I've never failed in the first few inches out of the bottom. It makes sense that this should be the hardest position as Tyler said, so perhaps I've got a technique issue that needs addressing.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
Ryan Webernick
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

I guess everyone is different. When I fail, it is usually with the bar right about at eye level. I have held that position before for 5 seconds, trying to push through, with no luck.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:11 AM   #6
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

It usually fails when your upper arms are close to perpendicular to your body. This is where you have the least mechanical advantage
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:08 AM   #7
James R. Climer
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

Isometrics at the the sticking point to build more strength.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
Skylar Cook
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

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Originally Posted by Greg Pieris View Post
That's weird - my 5RM is 135lb - from about 110lb my sticking point had always been the point just as the bar has passed my head - on a hard rep, if I can past that, I can lock it out. I've never failed in the first few inches out of the bottom. It makes sense that this should be the hardest position as Tyler said, so perhaps I've got a technique issue that needs addressing.
You're concentrating on slamming your head forward after the bar passes, right? That used to be the sticking point for me.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:14 PM   #9
Brian Lawyer
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

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Originally Posted by Tyler Smith View Post
Keep this up and your shoulder press will improve... that initial position (bar on chest/shoulders) is the weakest point in your ROM... just as is the bottom of the squat position or the initial lift off the chest of a bench press. The answer to your problem is simple... do more shoulder pressing and you will improve your 1RM.

And if you want to get really specific, you can just load the bar down with more weight and work that initial push... or the "First Three Inches."
I agree with most of what you said, Tyler, except the bottom of the squat position should not be the weakest point of the squat. If you are doing a proper Low Bar Back Squat or High Bar Back squat you should be catching some sort of bounce and/or hip drive out of the bottom. Some O'Lifters who get stuck at the bottom even create a bounce by coming up a couple inches and bouncing back down so there hamstrings bounce off there calves and drive them through the sticking point. So bottom of squat should not be the weakest point on that ROM.

Actually, as I am writing the above, I am also thinking bottom of the bench press should not be the weakest point of that lift either. Because the bench starts at the top your getting that stretch reflex out of the bottom. Even if you do a 2 or 3 second pause at the bottom of the bench your muscles are still stretched like a rubber band to pop out of the bottom.

So maybe I disagree with most if not all of what you said, Tyler. Sorry. But I think a better comparison would be getting a heavy deadlift moving off the ground. Breaking the weight from the ground is the hardest because your not catching the aformentioned bounce out of the bottom like on the squat. 9 times out of 10 you can deadlift the weight if you can get the bar moving off the ground. So maybe that is a better comparison
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:48 PM   #10
Tyler Smith
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Re: First Three Inches of the Shoulder Press

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Originally Posted by Brian Lawyer View Post
I agree with most of what you said, Tyler, except the bottom of the squat position should not be the weakest point of the squat. If you are doing a proper Low Bar Back Squat or High Bar Back squat you should be catching some sort of bounce and/or hip drive out of the bottom. Some O'Lifters who get stuck at the bottom even create a bounce by coming up a couple inches and bouncing back down so there hamstrings bounce off there calves and drive them through the sticking point. So bottom of squat should not be the weakest point on that ROM.

Actually, as I am writing the above, I am also thinking bottom of the bench press should not be the weakest point of that lift either. Because the bench starts at the top your getting that stretch reflex out of the bottom. Even if you do a 2 or 3 second pause at the bottom of the bench your muscles are still stretched like a rubber band to pop out of the bottom.

So maybe I disagree with most if not all of what you said, Tyler. Sorry. But I think a better comparison would be getting a heavy deadlift moving off the ground. Breaking the weight from the ground is the hardest because your not catching the aformentioned bounce out of the bottom like on the squat. 9 times out of 10 you can deadlift the weight if you can get the bar moving off the ground. So maybe that is a better comparison
Let us take a moment and break this down... In your second sentence you state that "you should be catching some sort of bounce or hip drive out of the bottom." What do you think this bounce is for? Style points? It is to get past the weakest point in the ROM.
The same goes for the bench press, once the weight is stopped on the chest... the effort taken to start the weight moving is much greater than if it is already moving. It is a simple physics concept.
Here are some more examples, if you are going to push a vehicle that has died in traffic... It takes much more effort to get the vehicle rolling initially than it does to keep it rolling after it has started...
Why is bottom to bottom tabata so difficult? Because holding that position of the squat is extremely hard to do because that is where we are weakest.

The biomechanics of jumping can also somewhat illustrate this concept... when one jumps to their maximum height, chances are, they do not squat initiallly to where the hip joint passes the top of the knee (like a back squat). More than likely, they bend @ the knee to about a 135 degree angle (or approx) and then jump.

The best example of all, that I can think of but didn't want to mention on the first post, is the bicep curl. The weakest point is when the arm is straight and the muscle is stretched to its max... which is why you (if you were a previous strength trainer at a globo) would see people doing cheat/half curls with heavy weight, because if they utilized the full ROM with the heavy weight they would not be able to do the number of reps.

Sorry for a bit of a rant... just got me fired up.
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