Instructional - Olympic Weightlifting


Sliding Backward In The Push Press

Sliding backward in the push press is a problem that’s created a lot of confusion some seriously head-scratching recommendations, so let’s figure it out. Any backward motion in any lift is fundamentally the result of a backward imbalance—nothing you do will cause backward movement if you’re balanced directly over your feet, so the primary solution is to simply be balanced.

That said, there is a technical mistake that exacerbates the problem, and if fixed, even a small amount of backward imbalance won’t result in sliding. This is also an important technical element to successful push presses and jerks, so it’s worth improving whether or not you care about sliding in your push press.

When standing still, your weight holds you down and creates pressure between your feet and the ground. If someone pushes against you, that pressure and friction prevents you from sliding.

If you jump, the force of your leg drive breaks that pressure and your connection to the ground, and you can easily be moved by a horizontal force.

Without enough downward force, pressure will similarly be broken at the top of the leg drive of a push press.

Pushing against the bar with your arms not only further elevates the bar, but also pushes your body down and maintains the pressure between your feet and the ground. This pressure anchors your feet and prevents sliding even if you’re somewhat imbalanced.

If your push with the arms is initiated too late, and/or you relax your legs as you finish the drive, you’ll lose enough pressure against the ground to allow you to slide, which is the natural response to keep your base under your center of mass.

To avoid sliding and improve your ability to elevate the bar in a push press or jerk, you need to improve the timing and force of the push with the arms. Focus on maintaining continuous tension against the bar by always pushing, whether it’s with only the legs, only the arms, or both. Never allow any hesitation or slack during the transition from legs to arms.

Practice with pause push presses, which will allow you to more easily focus on this continuous push, and try keeping the heels up slightly longer and consciously feeling pressure on the balls of your feet as you transition to pushing with the arms.

A less common cause of backward sliding is an exaggeration of hip extension in the drive.
If the hips are pushed forward through the imaginary vertical line running through ankle, hip and bar, the chest and feet will move backward in reaction, causing the feet to slide and forcing the lifter to settle back behind the starting point.

Pause push presses will still help fix this pr oblem with a focus on simply pushing the body vertically like a piston with the legs rather than actively extending the hips.

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Olympic Weightlifting & Sports Performance by Dane Miller



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