Regardless of the type of fitness training you want to perform, a strong set of shoulders will go a long way toward accomplishing your goals. And when it comes to building shoulder strength, the overhead press holds a paramount value. That said, not all overhead press exercises are created equal, even though many of them may seem similar. More specifically, a bodybuilding newbie may find it tricky to spot the difference between the three most essential shoulder workouts: strict press, push press, and push jerk.
In this article, we are going to discuss the difference between these three workouts, so read on.
The strict press, also called a standing barbell overhead press, is a conventional shoulder press workout aimed at building shoulder strength. During this workout, the athlete must lift the weight (a loaded barbell) from the front rack position. With elbows under the barbell, the force must come from the upper body.
The strict press or shoulder press is a foundational move for the push press and push jerk, i.e., you must perform this move to perform the other two shoulder workouts.
Since this workout requires power generation from the upper body, it doesn’t get any momentum beforehand. To start the exercise, you must have an angled core to generate strength that travels toward the upper body extremities.
While push press and push jerk involve the lower body moving the weight overhead, the strict press utilizes midline strength to move the load. The technique of this workout is the simplest of all three shoulder workouts.
The most crucial requirement for a strict press is a stable core, which typically involves the hips, stomach, and pelvis forming an arch to generate the power to move the load overhead. And while doing so, you must ensure that your torso remains static.
- Grab the loaded bar from the supports.
- The bar should rest on your shoulders with your grip a bit wider from the width of the shoulders.
- Your elbows must be below the bar and extended forward.
- From this position, move the bar overhead.
With the help of the strict press, you can:
- Train your midline and core
- Build optimum strict strength
With the help of this workout, you will develop enough strength to move loads overhead without using the lower body.
This workout is based on As Many Reps As Possible in five minutes. It typically involves:
- 10 strict presses
- 15 kettlebell swings
The Push Press
The push press brings the lower body into the equation to lift the load overhead. This workout typically involves a dip of the legs in order to create momentum that helps lift the load from the shoulders to the overhead position.
The momentum that helps lift the load overhead during a push press comes from the glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, and spinal erectors. The barbell is pushed up when you rise back from the dip of the legs. The overhead press in this workout must be quickly followed by the recovery from the initial dip.
- This workout starts the same way as the strict press, i.e., the load resting on the shoulders and elbows slightly in front of the bar.
- Then, the athlete has to get into a dip by bending in the knees and hips. The torso must remain upright during this time.
- Then, the athlete has to extend the hips and legs forcefully.
- With the momentum created through the legs and hips extension, the athlete must move the arms upward and extend them fully to accomplish one rep of the overhead press.
The push press allows you to move 30% more load than with a strict press. Not only does this workout helps you build shoulder strength but also speed and power.
And while both push press and push jerk use the lower body to push the load overhead, the push press trains the shoulders and upper body more than the push jerk.
A push press is performed on an AMRAP basis in five minutes. It typically involves:
- 10 calorie rows
- 10 push presses
These exercises help train your midline along with the shoulders.
The Push Jerk
The push jerk starts with the weight resting on the shoulders, from where it is moved overhead. However, this transition involves dropping the body under the load. This dropping causes a sudden leg dip. The athlete then straightens the legs, lifting the weight that’s already rested on straight arms above the head.
The first part of the push jerk is essentially a push press. However, you must dip under the weight and then perform a jerk. When you come under the weight, ensure that you catch it with fully extended, locked arms. After that, straighten your knees and hips to stand up with the load lifted overhead.
The purpose of dropping under the load is to reduce the distance it must travel. This way, you can lift heavier loads. The push jerk typically involves velocity. That makes it the most complicated of all three workouts discussed in this blog.
- A push jerk is initiated the same way as a push press or strict press.
- Then, the athlete must dip and move the bar up, just as during a push press.
- However, instead of only pressing, the athlete must perform a press and a dip at the same time. This allows them to move the bar overhead with their arms extended and knees slightly bent.
- When the arms are locked with the bar overhead, the athlete must stand up, extending their hips and knees.
The push jerk is designed to help you lift more than what you can handle during a push press. This workout is undeniably more complicated than a push press, but it allows you to perfect your;
- Ability to move heavier loads overhead
- Proficiency in Olympic lifting
This workout is based on the five sets of the following exercises:
- 12 deadlifts
- Six push jerks
- Nine hang power cleans
Ensure that the weight you lift during easy during deadlifts, moderate during power cleans, and challenging during push jerks.
All three workouts differ based on;
- Power and speed
- Muscles worked
- Efficiency of movements
A strict press involves simple lifting, which becomes increasingly functional, athletic, and challenging during a push press and push jerk.
A push press depends solely on the strength of your upper body, whereas the upper body plays only a part in the job during a push jerk. The push jerk involves using the power and strength of your lower body to lift the weight overhead.
During a strict press, your core only helps stabilize your lifts. During a push press, your abs support your lift during the dip and overhead press. And during a push jerk, your midline plays a vital role during all the moves: dip, drive, second dip, and squat.