From Strict Press to Olympic Press

In this video, we teach four different types of overhead pressing movements – from strict press to Olympic press, basic to advanced. The Olympic press proves to be quite difficult to learn for the first time!

So. Many. Presses.

In this video tutorial, we walk through four different types of overhead pressing movements, including the strict press, the “press 2.0,” the “press 1.5” and the Olympic press.

The strict press, which we simply call “the press,” is oftentimes referred to as a “military press” or “shoulder press.” This is the most basic movement – shove the bar up and over your head with a perfectly still lower body.

The “Press 2.0” involves a forward hip movement that allows the bar to spring off the chest. The “Press 1.5” is a combination of the 2.0 and strict press, because the first rep is performed using the 2.0, but the reset occurs at the lockout.

It’s important to understand the progression of the overhead press before you attempt to learn the Olympic press.

History of the Classic Press

The Olympic press, or “Classic Press,” became popular in the ’60s and ’70s when lifters realized it could help them press over 500lb. *GASP* You read that right. Many barbell coaches began analyzing this version of the press to understand why it was different and how they could apply these learnings as a coach.

We distilled this down to two main observations:

  1. Lifters used a giant, but much slower forward hip movement.
  2. Lifters rested the barbell on top of their shoulders (or clavicle) at the start of the movement.

Because of this, the way we set up for the Olympic press is slightly different. For example, the grip. If the bar sits on the shoulders, the grip typically needs to be wider, depending on forearm length.

The giant, slow hip movement produced an incredible amount of layback – which is an advanced technique and should only be used by advanced lifters.

We noticed that over time, our more advanced lifters started using a bigger layback naturally, and so the Olympic press is often a great way to advance the press and lift more weight.

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