Step 3 of the press series is the push jerk. Building on the mechanics of the shoulder press and push press, the push jerk adds in one more component that I haven’t mentioned yet: the re-dip.
Frames 1-3 above show the same mechanics of the push press–dip, drive, and press.
However, frame 4 shows a re-dip–a technique that allows you to get underneath the bar quicker and catch the bar overhead at a smaller height. “Pushing your body under the bar” is a cue and principle that will transfer to many other movements like the split jerk, squat clean, and squat snatch.
This morning I coached a few athletes through the push jerk and noticed two common faults: the premature press and premature release.
The premature press is simply beginning the upper-body press of the push jerk before you reach knee and hip extension (frame 3). This results in a loss of power. Be sure to stand up all of the way before beginning your press overhead.
The second fault is also a premature one, but this time entails “releasing” the bar before reaching full leg extension. Frame 1 is how you should catch the bar overhead in the re-dip. What often happens, however, is the athlete will flex their elbows (“release”) and let the bar come back to their shoulders before ever standing up all of the way.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this fault from an efficiency or efficacy standpoint. It’s just bad technique. Always finish the lift with all joints at extension.
A Final Thought
Why the push jerk?
My favorite metabolic scientist explains this by saying, “Your body becomes increasingly resistant to an incessant stimulus.” In other words, if you don’t vary the movements, your body will become resistant to change. Resistance will then result in plateaus in strength.
Take my lifts for example: Last month I shoulder pressed 180-lbs. I then used my legs for a push press and lifted 265-lbs. I then finished with a “dip, drive, re-dip” in a push jerk and lifted 315-lbs.
How strong would my shoulders get if I only performed shoulder presses?
Incorporating multi-joint, full body movements allows for variance in your training, thus preventing resistance in your progress.
That’s a mouthful.
Just do it.
3 Rounds For Time:
5 Shoulder Press
10 Push Press
15 Push Jerk
20 Handstand Push-Ups
*Images used from here.