Shoulder to Overhead – the motion of taking something from your shoulders, and putting it over your head…
Today we deep dive into the wonderful world of barbell cycling, and focus on the Shoulder to Overhead. The idea – quicker and more efficient transitions between reps, while maintaining quality technique.
You’ve probably already guessed, but this content isn’t really going to apply to heavy weights and low reps. Sure, it can, but if it does – that ‘heavy’ weight you’re lifting, ain’t that heavy. You shouldn’t be able to do this with your 1RM Jerk. This is addressing those workouts with light to moderate weight, and higher end reps (5-10+ reps per round). DT for example.
At this point, I’m assuming you all know the key points of performance for this movement (grip, feet, elbows, midline, butt etc.). So, rather than going through every checkpoint for each of the overhead movements, figured I would provide some coaching cues on the sequence instead. This I believe will be more beneficial for this post, as it is readily applicable to push press, push jerk and split jerk.
4 cues I can guarantee you’ve heard your coach say before – dip, drive, press (or pull yourself down), and stand up (or finish). Here’s what we mean by that;
1. “DIP” – hips remain extended, knees bend slightly over the toes. I say slightly, this is a dip, not a squat – 10-15 degrees of flexion at the knee is more than adequate to create the tension you need. Keep the whole foot planted, don’t lift the heels. Contrary to popular belief, you generate more power with the whole foot planted, coming onto your toes does nothing for you, other than sending your body weight forward.
2. “DRIVE” – push through the floor with your feet and extend the knees with speed. Simple way of explaining this concept – “stand up, quickly”…. Remember, keep your heels down!!
3. “PRESS or “PULL YOURSELF DOWN” – note: get your chin out of the way here. Make a double chin, don’t lean back! Then, continue the momentum you’ve made and press the bar into the space above your head. Or, pull yourself down under the bar if completing a jerk variation.
4. “STAND UP” or “Finish” – continue to press into the bar, don’t just let the bar sit in your hands. Rep isn’t completed until you stand up with arms extended overhead. If split jerking, feet together before the bar is lowered.
The concept of cycling this movement is simple – do the above, just quicker, over and over. There is a key process however – that is creating tension through the transition. Take a look at the following video…focus on the legs, particularly as he lowers the bar from overhead (the transition)…disclaimer, he’s a little sloppy in his movement, but the right things are happening at the right time.
What you’ll notice is when the athlete receives the bar, he continues downward momentum right into the dip. By doing this, he’s transferred the tension created overhead straight back to the legs. This ensures the athlete is immediately ‘active’ and ready for the subsequent rep. By doing this, the athlete simply needs to “DRIVE” (stand up) again for the next rep to be initiated. In short, he’s created tension as he’s caught the bar, preventing the need to stop, reset, get tight, then dip drive press etc.
Timing for this can be tricky, particularly for beginners. Easiest way to learn is to practice with a very light weight (stick, dowel or empty bar), and move through the transitions slowly.
• Press overhead,
• Slowly lower the bar and ride the downward momentum into the dip.
• Then repeat the press motion.
While practicing, remember your points of performance, don’t get sloppy – whole foot on the ground, knee bend for the dip (not hips), elbows remain in pressing position (not dropping), ribcage down (think about pulling it into your hips) etc. When you can do this while maintaining good positions, simply speed it up. Then add weight.
For reference sake, check out this video for key positions of the dip. Talks to the jerk, but this is applicable to the push press too. Note: if you ever want quality videos on weightlifting, Catalyst Athletics is second to none!!
When you’ve mastered this transition, you should notice significant improvements to your efficiency. Spending less time resetting between reps and less energy used in the process. This then obviously follows on to better WOD times, and SugarWOD tells you you’re awesome with the PB you just got.
Hopefully you’ve all taken something away from this. As always, feel free to contact me direct anytime with questions etc. Miss you guys and the gym so much! Keep safe and no doubt we’ll talk soon!!
CrossFit Central Wellington 2019 People’s Coach