February 14, 2011
February 17, 2011
Hard Pressed

Press vs Push Press. Static vs Dynamic. Strict vs Cheating? In many minds, mostly of globo-bound, bicep-curling, chicken-legged meatheads, all three would be correct. Thankfully, we know differently.

The PP (push press) is much more than just cheating the press by using your legs; rather, the PP recruits the musculature of the lower body to initiate bar movement while the upper body is used to finish the lift. More specifically, the hips and knees generate momentum to start the bar travelling upwards before the triceps and shoulders take over to finish the press.

To make sure that everyone could tell the difference, Tuesday night’s programming featured both the press and the PP.

STRENGTH: 15 min. to find 3RM Press; followed by 2x AMRAP Push Press (done with your 3RM Press Wt.)
Remember, breathing is a key component to both lifts – use your breathing to help maintain a tight core and keep the mid-line straight, stabilizing the entire body. If you’re still having a tough time maintaining mid-line stability, remember to actively pinch your glutes, which will often help bring the hips back in line with the rest of the body.

Secondly, with regards the PP, remember that you are looking for an explosive movement. We often use the verbal cue “dip & drive.” The “dip” in this case is really just an un-locking of the knees and hips; that small amount of movement allows the extensors to stretch just a little before being immediately contracted into the “drive.” Too much dip begins to bring the quads into the picture, which will be required to slow the downward momentum of the excessive dip before then starting the drive upwards – this excessive dipping actually robs power from the overall movement.

Following a good overhead strength session, and with a nice sized class of 20, everyone broke into 5 teams of 4 for the evening’s met-con.


Nice work all around. Remember to post weights used for the press-complex to comments, as well as your team’s strategy for the met-con. Hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy the nice weather this week – see you all on Thursday.



  1. Julia says:

    A good night’s work! Yesterday was an opportunity to:

    *work on one of my weaknesses – the press

    *try something new – high-rep push presses (and, after class, the L-sit — thanks, Sebastian)

    *take away some specifics to work on – press: setting up with elbows in front of the bar; PP: pulling down with my arms and shoulders (instead of letting the bar crash down), absorbing the impact, and resetting after every rep

    *finish the day with a fun team metcon – nice job, Dawn, Andraea, and Erica!

  2. Tom Brose says:

    Those presses looked pretty good for a weakness Julia!

    I saw some good adjustments being made and technique improving through the strength work. Great to have people listen and implement the cues we give.

    I definitely enjoyed the Team Met con, the enthusiasm really showed.

  3. Sara says:

    I have grown to like pressing, P-pressing and jerking more and more. I worked up to 95lbs (97 if you go by the weight written on the bar) for 3 which is not a personal best but it is not too far off of it. I had something like 10 or 12 push presses each round at that weight.

    Had fun with the metcon but some how ended up doing 40 burpees.