In my last article “Stand Up For Yourself”, I talked about doing all of your training standing, as opposed to sitting. I wouldn’t call this a new concept by any means; however I would classify it as foreign. Why? Well, I believe that muscle isolation has replaced movement, and that machines have replaced sound body mechanics.
Sounds like a sci-fi movie, but it’s the truth, just not that spectacular. Along those same lines I brought up training above your head as a lost art, and if we combine these two things, the lost art of above the head strength, and training while standing, well, then we have magic.
Always tell my clients and boot campers that there are two sides to training, or performing a move or lift.
The simple part, lift the dam weight up, the other part involves some finesse, and we must always endeavor to master both parts. At the end of the day, don’t over think the lift, just lift! With that in mind, there are several amazing lifts that can be performed above the head with outstanding benefits.
Most lifts have a lot in common, such as spine alignment, hip position, chest out, shoulders back, body mechanic type stuff. Either way, and no matter which lift, you get maximum muscle involvement, true balance, muscular endurance, joint stability, and increased range of motion.
Like most of my training, I like to involve speed as much as possible. After all, muscle that just sits there looking pretty is boring to me, now muscle that can move with speed and power, now that’s fun. So let’s do this, let’s train an entire day of nothing but over head presses. That’s right, an entire workout of training above your head.
This may sound a bit boring, but to me, there is nothing more dynamic and challenging than dedicating an entire workout to movement, better yet, dedicating an entire workout to movement in one direction.
Now we have to use our melons!
There are two very basic ways to lift above your head, strict pressing, and jerk pressing. Strict pressing in when you are standing with the weight loaded on the top of your chest, and without bending your legs at all, you press the weight above your head to a full lock out.
Now, make sure that your stomach is tight, and your back is perfectly straight. What good is an overhead press if your posture is crap and you get injured? Ok, so the other way to press is called a jerk press.
These is when you can bend at the knees, and then initiate the weight upward, immediately dropping beneath the weight to a full lock out. Jerk pressing is a difficult way to lift for most traditional lifters. Why? Because most lifting has to do with pressing a weight, while jerk pressing is more about dropping beneath a weight.
Now, simply start pressing using every dam tool around you that you can find. Use dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, use one arm, or use two, press heavy, medium, light, and use several tools in succession. There are no rules, only sound mechanics.
Now here’s the ultimate challenge. This is what I would call an old school lift, a lift from over a hundred years ago, called two hands anyhow. Basically, you have to pick up two separate weights, off the ground, and then press them above your head to a locked out press.
Here are some of the specifics of the two hand anyhow…first, you can only pick up one weight at a time, and one weight has to be locked out above your head before you pick the second weight off the ground.
Now there are other rules, but that’s the long and short of it. I see it this way, who really gives a crap about the particulars if you’re going out there and increasing your ability, having fun, and lifting heavy stuff? Sounds good to me!
So what have we learned boys and girls? Stand up, lift some stuff above your head and get strong. You’ll find that your overall strength will increase, and guess what else? Your body will change too.