Crossfit has made a massive impression on the fitness industry. It has its detractors of course, but its positive impact far outweighs the negative concerns. It is responsible for many things, one of which is that we’ve seen some exercises emerge from the dark and unseen specialist areas of hard core weight training and competitive weightlifting, and appear in the mainstream. The Push Press is a prime example of this.

The Push Press is absolutely associated with Olympic weightlifting but is there for everybody to benefit from. Although I would suggest this is better attempted by more experienced exercisers and those with some familiarity with barbell work.

It is a compound exercise that effectively, dynamically and powerfully hits the shoulders, quadriceps and triceps. Builds on the same setup and overhead position as the shoulder press, we add velocity with the dip and drive of the hip. The focus here is on a dip and drive that is an explosive and straight down and up motion that develops so much power and is guaranteed to get you buzzing!

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Driving dynamically from the legs, up through the core and torso and into the arms makes it a superb power exercise engaging the whole body. It also makes it a superb conditioning exercise for so many athletic pursuits and sports.

And not only is this great for increasing shape, tone and strength, it is also effective for coordination and instilling the necessity to observe good form at all times in exercise – particularly when handling weights.

Those closer to the weightlifting world will know that overhead pressing fell out of favour for some time. Rather too many trainers and even therapists decided that lifting medium to heavy weights overhead was a one-way ticket to a bad back and dodgy shoulders. Thankfully I am delighted to note that misguided fashion seems to have gone away again and we are left with what is actually a great, valid and truly effective exercise discipline.

The Push Press is initiated by an initial push from the legs. This starts the movement and momentum as the eight is driven upwards. The barbell is then returned slowly to the shoulders and the process repeated for the the required sets and reps or to failure.

Crossfit young woman lifting heavy weights

Setup

Stance is hip width apart

Hands just outside the shoulders

Bar in front, resting on the “rack” or “shelf” created by the shoulders.

Elbows down and in front of bar; elbows are lower than 
in the front squat

Tight midsection (make sure your core is contracted) and rib cage is down.

Closed grip, with thumbs around the bar.

Execution

The cue for the action is “Dip, drive, press”

Dip: perform a shallow dip (flexion) of the hips, where 
the knees push forward slightly, the butt goes back and 
the chest stays upright

Drive: extend the hip rapidly and fully

Press: press the bar to overhead, with locked arms

SEE 
PRIMARY POINTS OF PERFORMANCE:

• Torso drops straight down on the dip. There is no 
forward inclination of the chest and no muting of the 
hip.

• Aggressive turn around from the dip to the drive.

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