Olympic Press: Overhead Press More Weight

The Olympic Press allows you to overhead press more weight. Learn correct form in this technique tutorial so you can overhead press the most weight possible with this advanced press technique.

What’s the Olympic Press

It’s an advanced overhead press technique that, when mastered, allows the lifter to lift the most weight possible without bending his knees.

It’s not a push press, where you bend your knees and use the momentum from the quarter squat to propel the bar up.

Nor is it a push jerk, where you  effectively shorten the range of motion the bar has to travel by bending your knees while the bar moves upward.

Rather, it’s a way to use your hips to provide some momentum to help move the bar up out of the bottom. Typically, it is also performed with a layback (which, like the push jerk, shortens the range of motion by lowering your shoulders as the bar moves up).

Olympic Press Set Up Adjustments

You begin by adjusting the setup.

For a normal overhead press, you want a close grip, your elbows forward, and straight wrists.

In this variation, you’ll need to widen your grip so that the bar rests on your shoulders or collar bones. Try about one hand width wider than your normal press grip. You may have to adjust this.

Your elbows remain forward. Your wrists may have to bend in the bottom, especially if you have longer forearms (like Matt Reynolds).

Olympic Press Throw Technique

Once you’ve adjusted the setup, you unrack the bar like any other press. You unrack the bar with authority, step back, and prepare to overhead press the bar.

To turn your body into a spring and throw the bar up out of the bottom, you simultaneously push your hips forward and pull the bar down. You then throw the bar.

When you bend the knees the buckle of the belt drops. That’s not what we’re doing here!

Instead, when you push your hips forward with straight legs (knees not bent), the belt buckle doesn’t drop.

To take this to the next level, add a layback as the bar moves up. This involves (again, with straight legs) a lowering of the shoulders. The shoulders move down while the bar moves up.

A good way to add a layback is to look up at the bar.

One thing to remember with the Olympic press is to keep pushing the bar up. One thing that can happen with the press, especially with press variations that involve an initial throw, is the bar stalls or moves down when the momentum stops. In the United States Strengthlifting Federation, if the bar moves down, the press does not count.

This is the most advanced press technique. It requires some coordination and practice. Because it involves momentum in the bottom and reducing the range of motion at the top, it actually stresses the upper body less than stricter variations.

Overhead Press Progression

A progression from strict to advanced exists for the overhead press. The stricter variations are simpler and stress the upper body more. The more advanced technique stress the upper body less, as they use the hips and rest of the body to effectively reduce the range of motion and work the muscles that contribute to the overhead press.

The strictest possible is the military press, performed with feet together.

Next is the press or overhead press, with no hip movement.

To make the press a bit easier, one can perform reps after rep one starting at the top. Breathe and pause at the top after rep one.

One can then add a hip throw to help with rep one.

Combining the hip throw and pausing and breathing at the top is the next step.

Lastly, comes the Olympic Press. It comes with the greatest learning hurdle, but the greatest potential to overhead press the most weight possible.

If you’re competing in the USSF or want or see how much weight you can overhead press, then consider learning the Olympic Press.

Advanced press techniques like this require lots of practice, and are programmed almost more like an Olympic lift.




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