Exercise Library

Push Press

AKA Power press
The push press is a very common accessory exercise in weightlifting to help the jerk.
Secure the bar in the jerk rack position with the feet at approximately hip-width and the toes turned out slightly. Keep the weight balanced on the heels while maintaining full foot contact with the floor. Bend slightly at the knees only, keeping the trunk vertical and the weight on the heels. Transition immediately at the bottom of this dip and drive aggressively with the legs against the floor to accelerate the barbell upward. As you finish the extension of the legs, begin pushing against the bar with the arms, keeping the knees straight and immediately dropping back to flat feet. Pull the head back out of the way of the bar to clear a direct path, and push the bar into a fully locked overhead position behind the neck as you would in the jerk. As the bar leaves the shoulders, spread the elbows to move them under the bar as soon as possible, and bring the head back forward through the arms as the bar passes it.
If the knees rebend at all after the initial dip and drive, the lift is no longer a push press, but a push jerk. If the feet remain totally flat during the drive of the legs, the drive is not hard or long enough—the heels will rise at least slightly if the leg drive is adequate. Each rep of multiple-rep sets should begin from a dead stop and the full jerk rack position.
The push press is an effective upper body strength exercise for the jerk, used more commonly than the press because larger weights can be used. Additionally, it helps train the proper dip and drive for the jerk, as that part of the movement should be identical to that of the jerk.
Sets of 1-6 reps can be used depending on the timing and the specific need. 4-6 reps will help more with hypertrophy and some strength; 3-5 reps will be generally the most effective for strength work and some hypertrophy; 1-2 reps will usually be used for testing maximum lifts but will also improve strength.
The push press can be performed from behind the neck.

Chris Valles 2015-01-20
In the programs, do the percentages refer to % of max jerk or % or max push press? Thanks.
Steve Pan 2015-01-20
The percentages should be off of the associated lift unless otherwise specified.
Steffan Marley 2016-02-22
Is there any technique primer for learning how to return the bar to the front rack (after the press) without smacking yourself in the face? That bar looks to just brush past the chin and I like my teeth.
Jacques Boesinger 2018-01-19
Hello! In a given set (3sets of 5 reps), should the bar always be lowered back onto the shoulders between reps, or is it possible to drop the bar on jerk blocks and rerack it for the next rep?
Jacques - Either way works just fine. If you do drop the bar between reps on jerk blocks, just make sure you aren't taking too long between two sets. 

Alyssa Sulay
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