The purpose of this article is to teach the Push Press technique and within the High School coaching community there seems to be some confusion about exercise terminology when it comes to overhead pressing movements. The one movement that I’m referring to is the overhead push press. I know of a few High School football coaches calling the “push jerk” a push press. These are two completely different movements and the “push jerk” is not one that I would recommend as part of a high school program or even a college program for that matter. As part of a “Max” (1 rep maximum for each main lift) some coaches are calling this a “Push Press” but the athletes are actually doing a “Push jerk”. The problem with this not just the mix up in exercise terminology but the complexity of the movement itself.
First, the push jerk IS NOT what I would consider a pressing movement. Even though the movement is completed with the bar in full extension above the head, rather than PRESSING the bar you’re actually dropping below the bar as the arms are extended overhead. It requires balance and especially stability. Most younger athletes are not ready for this type of movement unless specifically trained for it. That being said, I have had several of my athletes come into my gym complaining of mid-thoracic and low back pain because the coaches asked for a “stomp” while dropping under the bar causing instability at the top and winding up having to muscle the bar up and causing uneven weight distribution. The push press is the complete opposite. In my opinion, the push press when performed correctly, is one of the best exercises for developing upper body explosiveness.
As seen in the below video. Bar is in a semi-rack position at the top of the chest, slight drop in hips, explode into full triple extension (ankles, knees, hips) with bar fully extended above the head or slightly behind being careful to not externally rotate the shoulders. Return to the start position and repeat. Do not “bounce” from rep to rep. Each rep should be reset and begin again. I use the Que “reset” at the end of each rep.