You need to look at how you press so getting a video camera is recommended and a second opinion is always helpful.
To make it clear the best way, is to go through the 3 different ways to push weight above your head and your technique.
This goes without saying but this is all technique and not about brute force so if your starting out i wouldn't recommend you start with this technique unless your well practiced at it already as it will take time to build up to a big weight.
This is where with either a bar or log at the top of your chest and shoulders using your power from your legs and accelerating the bar over your head and dropping below (split or the squat jerk) the weight with your arms locked out and then stand up with the bar.
(Misha Koklyaev captured above, taken from google images)
Typically when you carry out a jerk you have a narrow stance with feet forwards at shoulder width apart to get the most power from your calfs, quads, hamstrings and glutes. This also puts your spine in a neutral position which will enable you to utilise the maximum out of your core and back muscles so you provide like a stiff shelf to to project the weight over head. This position also put your trunk and legs in a position to enable you drop under the weight when your lock the bar over head.
As your about to jerk the weight make sure your hands are in the right position on the bar and this is ideally where you feel most comfortable and how much elbow and shoulder flexibility you have as youll need more if you want your arms closer into your shoulders. With a log a good idea is to make sure that your little finger is high.
This is a quick snap movement so you need to make sure that your in the right position. Dip only a few inches through your heels and then quick transference of weight onto your toes and accelerate the bar upwards. I always try and imagine jumping when doing this movement. Then as the bar lifts of your shoulders you need to drop under the weight.
This technique is the most energy efficient on your arms but a lot on on your body.
So to improve this technique you need to know what your weaknesses are and don't necessarily take my word as gospel look around, ask and try different things.
Here are a few ways to increase different aspects of this technique:
- Ultimately you need to have a good front squat for this technique as the stance is the same petty much.
- With the bar locked out over your head and squatting. Obviously start light and work on technique.
- Barbell shrugs as any overhead movement means the traps are the hardest working muscle group.
- Tricep extensions over head. Work on both speed, strength
- Behind the head presses: help with shoulder mobility and make the triceps work harder as well as the front delt
- Resistance bands shoulder press
- One arm dumbbell press
- Typically with this sort of lift you need weightlifting shoes to firstly keep your patella tendons tight to give you that quick fire movement but to enable to drive through your fore-foot. The extra height in your heel also enable you to to arch through your lumbar more making you able to stabilise the weight more.
- wrist wraps are helpful for longevity in this sport with this technique purely because of the power in this technique.
This is probably the best technique to start with if your just starting out as its not as technical as the jerk and allows you to use you triceps and shoulders more into the press.
With this technique it doesn't matter if you have a wider stance and it's recommended if don't use weightlifting shoes to keep your balance.
With the bar or log on your shoulders you initiate the jerk technique but instead of dropping your body under the bar you start the drive from your shoulders and use the momentum of the bar and accelerate through your shoulders and triceps and lock out the bar over head.
The difference between using weightlifting shoes is purely down to where your strengths are. If you tend to lean back through you thoracic and use your chest more with your press and shoulders you may find it more comfortable with flat shoes. With using ollie shoes you tend to use less chest and more triceps.
Gym ideas to improve your push press:
- Close grip bench press to get your medial and LH triceps
- Incline bench barbell press and Dumbbell press
- Floor pressing to work on your static strength.
- Dumbbell press to help with shoulder stability
- Overhead tricep extensions to strengthen your tricep in the locked out position.
- Rear Deltoid work for the stability of the weight when it's on your shoulders
- Upright rows
- Resistant bands, and work on speed.
- Seated shoulder press
This technique is all about raw strength and good bench pressers typically use this technique.
Your feet are typically wider than the jerk technique and this is only because you have to extend through your trunk more. Its dependent on you if find it comfortable in ollie shoes or not. I will use weightlifting shoes as I tend to roll to far back on my feels making me unsteady.
(Mike Jenkins captured above, image taken from google images)
When the log or bar is on your shoulders you would use the same grip as you would on a bench press so in comparison to the jerk and push press your grip is a little wider giving you a chance to drive from your chest.
Gym ideas to improve you strict press:
- Bench press like a power lifter and not like a bodybuilder
- Floor Press to work on the static lift to increase your strength
- Seated press as you do push through your calves on the press
- Resistant bands to boost the speed of the weight off your chest
- Incline bench to develop the power of the press from the inner to outer range of the movement.
With all techniques the second the bar leaves your chest you need to keep your momentum going through to lock out, so I imagine trying to punch through the weight.
The grip you use whether its suicide grip or normal it doesn't make much difference and it's more down to personal preference. It's down to flexibility as the gripping the bar means you need turn your hand in more (Or pronate more) when the bar is resting on your shoulders and the bigger you get the less likely this is.