Back to the Basics: The Strict Press || Coach Gen Schmidt
Last week, Coach Tim taught us how to lift a heavy load from the ground via the Deadlift. Today we’re going to break down a lift that allows us to move a load from the shoulder to overhead; the Strict Press. Being able to move a load from the shoulder to overhead and vice versa is a skill that transfers directly to daily activities. The most direct example would be loading a carry-on into the overhead compartment on a plane. The opposite is true when taking an item down from a high shelf. Without proper technique and support these actions could prove to be very difficult, in some cases even resulting in injury.
The Strict Press is a phenomenal lift for developing upper body pushing strength and mid-line stability. So, let’s take a look at the components of the Strict Press and how we can most efficiently perform the task.
We can also break this lift down into 3 steps as we did the deadlift.
- The Set up
- The Execution of the Press
- The Return
The goal of the Strict Press is to move the weight from the shoulders to overhead in the most efficient way possible. The bar path should travel along a straight line both on the way up and during the return. Proper execution of each step is crucial to a successful lift.
The Set up:
- Begin with the feet hip width apart and the bar resting on the shoulders in the front rack position. The forearms should be vertical with the elbows slightly forward of the bar and hands fully wrapped around the bar with a tight grip. The hands should be slightly wider than the shoulders.
- Before executing the lift it’s important to make sure your body is prepared to move the load. With the feet planted firmly on the ground, squeeze the quads, the glutes, the core, and the lats creating tension throughout the body.
- Take a deep breath in and brace through your core in preparation to move the weight.
- In order to keep the bar traveling in a straight line, we must first remove an obstacle; your head! Begin by pulling the chin back. Think ‘double chin’. This will create the space necessary to keep the bar on its path.
- Driving through the heels and using the torque you’ve created, push the bar upward, directly in front of your nose, until you’ve reached full extension. Make sure the bar is directly over your mid-line and you’ve returned your head to a neutral position.
- You should finish the extension with the elbows locked out and active, externally rotated shoulders. Be sure that you are still bracing through the mid-line by squeezing the core with the rib cage down and glutes tight.
Once you’ve successfully lifted the weight to a fully extended overhead position, you must bring it back down! Efficiency in the return is just as important as the initial press. We have the same goal in the return that we did on the way up; a straight bar path.
- Begin by pulling the chin back, once again creating the ‘double chin’ position.
- Keeping the external rotation in the shoulders, begin to pull the bar back down along the same path that it rose until it meets your shoulders.
- Finish with your head in neutral position. The elbows should remain slightly in front of the bar with the mid-line tight and feet gently screwed into the floor, repeating your strong set up position.
There it is! You’ve performed the Strict Press. This lift is a foundational movement that will transfer directly into more complex lifts like the Push Press and Jerk. By perfecting your movement in the Press you’ll be setting yourself up for success in future lifts.
The main points to remember are:
- Create tension throughout the entire body to support the lift. It starts from the ground up! Mid-line stability is key!
- Full range of motion is important. We want the arms fully extended in the overhead position with tight, active shoulders.
- A straight bar path during the extension and the descent will result in the most efficient lift.