Often times coaching an athlete through an overhead movement such as the strict press, push press, or push jerk can be frustrating for many reasons. It’s impossible to fully explain why this is important in the middle of a workout while weights are clanking and music is blasting but here is my chance…
1) That is the standard, period. Getting your head all the way through fully locked out arms so the ears are visible with a strong midline is the way its done. If you repeated the same workout a few months later we would like to believe that every single rep ends that way, otherwise how else would you know you’re improving? Integrity is key.
2) It improves mobility/flexibility. Using the standard we preach is actually enforcing the natural structure of the shoulder. Arms locked out, externally rotated with the head through is setting the joint into a position that can “shoulder” the most weight. Not opinion, fact. By following these movement standards it will force the joint, ligaments, and tissues into the most ideal position and eventually let everything move smoother in the long run. No time for mobility? Improve it while you WOD.
3) It translates into other movements. Pull ups and toes-to-bar are perfect examples of translated movements. The further you force your chest and head through your arms will create more force from your kip, equally more reps and better fitness…which will then allow you to get your head through easier during a heavy split jerk the next day. Don’t forget everyones favorite, the overhead squat. Yes, the arms are in a slightly different position on the bar but encompasses the fundamental idea of locking your shoulders into place. Its a cycle that constantly improves on one another.
Most athlete have tight shoulders but by simply following the standard of “head through” it will do wonders at improving your overhead flexibility, max weights, WOD times and most importantly keep you safe and pain free. Lastly, its not fair to air my grievances without offering a solution so here are 2 simple stretches that will help fix your overhead mobility.
at each station and then rotate stations
Score is your total # of reps.