The push press is a useful barbell movement for building overhead strength and power. It helps develop muscles in the shoulders, chest, triceps, hips, and quads, in addition to a variety of other muscles that are recruited to help stabilize and create momentum for the movement. Push presses also increase power development, which is a very important athletic ability since power enables the body to quickly generate force and be explosive.
CrossFit Games athlete Scott Panchik walks you through the steps of the push press, common mistakes to avoid, and how to recover post-workout.
How to Push Press
Scott outlines the proper progression for the push press with these eight steps. Getting down the right technique should always be the first step before adding more weight.
- Gripping the bar: You’ll notice on the barbell that there’s a smooth area and a rough area. Grab the rough part of the bar at about a thumbs length in from the smooth area.
- Bring the bar into a front rack position.
- From the front rack position, make sure your elbows are slightly in front of the bar.
- Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
- Engage your core.
- Bend your knees and hips slightly to dip down. This will be used to help build momentum.
- Quickly extend your legs and explode up. Once your hips are in full extension, push the barbell overhead.
- Get your elbows straight and hold the barbell overhead for a second before bringing back to the starting position.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
As with any movement, there are certain mistakes to avoid while doing the push press.
- Pressing the bar too early- Only press the bar overhead after getting into a full extension. Focus on dipping and then right as you get into extension, press the bar up.
- Chin hit- Make sure to get your chin out the bar’s path. It’s common for people to hit their chin while driving the barbell overhead. Tilt your head back so the bar comes close, but doesn’t touch your chin.
How to Recover from Push Presses
Push presses are going to require some heavy work from your shoulders. Scott utilizes the Marc Pro on his shoulders after doing a push press workout. He puts one pad on the front of his deltoid and one on the back. He does the same placement with the other lead wire on the opposite deltoid. Then, he brings the intensity level up to get a good contraction on both shoulders. Tip: make sure to get into a relaxed position with your arms. Putting a pillow under your arm is the ideal position to be in while using Marc Pro on the upper body.
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