When lifting a barbell overhead, you have an option of a simple shoulder press or a complex jerk. The shoulder press is mainly for hypertrophy. In the middle of the complexity of a jerk, lies the push press which is an excellent CrossFit workout for every athlete.
Looking at it from a physical standpoint, the push press is important in helping you develop a stable trunk while at the same time highlighting deficiencies in your mobility. They also help you to train heavy loads overhead in a proper strength endurance format. Push press is dynamic, and it recruits the lower body and trunk, making it an excellent way to push heavy rep schemes way beyond 15 reps.
Push Press Training Cues
Several training cues can help you perfect push press. Some of them include:
When doing push press, the width of the grip should be slightly outside the shoulders. If you find yourself having a rough time rotating your shoulders externally or you have large biceps, try a wider grip.
Some CrossFitters start their push press with the same rack position as that used in a standing shoulder press. This is incorrect because it places your body at a mechanical disadvantage and makes it vulnerable to shudder-to-shoulder injuries. Contrary to the shoulder press, the push press requires that your upper arm be parallel to the floor in a position similar to that of a front squat. This will make your wrist slightly cocked, and the barbell well gripped.
Prepare to Dip
The push press uses the lower body and trunk in a dynamic way to get the barbell overhead. For this reason, the setup needs to be different from the press. The goal here is to maintain a stacked spinal column while at the same time exhibiting force throughout the lift. To achieve this, take a wide stance with your feet externally rotated and toes out. The stance you take should be similar to that of the front squat CrossFit exercise.
Before heading to the dip and drive, take a large belly breath and hold it. This will not only protect your lower back but also help in facilitating a transfer of energy from the legs to the barbell via the trunk. When beginning the dip, flex slightly at the knees as you push them out in the same way you should do in a squat. This is meant to be a quick movement because it is shallow and violent.
This is nothing more than a redirection force. Performing the drive is hugely dependent on creating tense musculature throughout your trunk and legs as you quickly extend your knees, hip, and ankles.
Putting it Overhead
The moment you initiate the drive, the barbell should then hop upwards. This is where you need to utilize your upper body and finish the lift. Compared to the other phases, this is a rather weightless phase you should finish by rotating the arms into a similar position as that of a shoulder press.
When the bar is knocked out and your feet stable and flat, you can lower your barbell to its original rack position. Push press is a specific CrossFit training tool whose purpose and the outcome will be determined by how well you execute it.