Programming movements and workouts is one of my favorites things to do as a personal trainer / coach. I not only program for CPM every 4 months but I’m programming daily lifting and conditioning workouts for middle and high school students in the weight room. There are definite do’s and dont’s and you find out quite quickly what they are.
Today, we are going to discuss going overhead. Even members that have been with CPM for several years seem confuse these overhead movements.
Strict Press – Pressing weight straight overhead from rack position without the use of your lower body. Legs, lower back and abs stay tight and still.
Push Press – Pressing weight overhead from rack position using a dip and drive from the legs to accelerate the barbell upward. Movement is finished with the shoulders and legs do not bend after the initial dip.
Push Jerk – Pressing weight overhead from rack position using a dip and drive from the legs to accelerate the barbell upward while dropping under the bar to catch it in a partial squat. Finish the movement by standing.
Split Jerk – Pressing weight overhead from rack position using a dip and drive from the legs to accelerate the barbell upward while dropping under the bar to catch it in a lunge position also known as a split. Finish the movement by standing (half step back, full step forward).
All of these movements are great for strength building and there is no best option. Ignoring one of them is a huge mistake for an athlete! Personally, I like to program them all. The strict press is a great display of shoulder strength. It separates pure strength from athletic ability. The push press trains power development and increases leg and hip explosiveness. The push jerk and split jerk demonstrate the maximum weight an athlete can get overhead. By rebending the legs, an athlete is able to get weight overhead without having to press the bar as far vertically.
So which is my favorite? I like to test the strict press and push/split jerks in a build up. I prefer those to the push press because I find that members tend to push jerk instead of push press as the weight gets heavy in a build up. And you know what we call that? NO REP! In a workout, I prefer the push press. Programmed weight isn’t as heavy for a push press as a push jerk so it’s easier on the wrists but still very effective in building power.
Next time you see an overhead lift in a workout, take note of what it is. Try to complete the movement that is programmed by setting an appropriate weight rather than letting your body dictate the movement performed.
4 Deadlift + 4 Hang Clean + 4 Push Press
Rest 1 Minute
8 BB or DB Thrusters
8 Box Jumps