What Is the Difference Between a Strict Press and a Push Press?

As we continue our month of overhead press training , it’s time to consider how you can cheat – or not, depending on how you look at it. The bench press is actually two different lifts, depending on whether or not you are flexing your knees.

I will not weigh which is “better” because I think both are great for training and each has a different purpose. So let’s talk about the difference.

Strict press

A hard press is one where you don’t bend your knees. When you start pushing the barbell from chest / shoulder level to overhead level, you can give it a little appeal by tilting your torso at an angle and pushing your hips forward while keeping your knees straight.

Stiff abs are not your usual competitive exercise, although there are a few exceptions. Strength lifting is a powerlifting-like organization that replaced the bench press with a strict overhead press in its competition. Historically, the push and bench press was an Olympic exercise , but it was eventually abandoned because the judges disagreed on what was considered a fairly strict press. (The rest of the drills, snatch and clean and jerk, are less controversial to evaluate.)

As a rule, during training, your legs should be on the ground, and your knees should not bend at all.

The hard bench press is a great exercise for developing triceps and shoulder strength, and if you are training a different type of bench press you should probably do the hard bench as well. You can also eliminate the possibility of leg cheating by doing presses while sitting on a bench or on the ground.

Press press

Here’s a different perspective on using your legs in the press: If a little push of your legs can help you lift more, why the hell not?

This is the push press idea. You start in the same position as the bench press, but just before you start pressing on the weight, you bend your knees to almost a quarter squat position. Then you stand up abruptly, increasing the weight of your leg as you press down on it with your hands. This way you can definitely move more iron. In comparison, I recently tested my 95 pound strict bench and 118 jerk bench press.

The press of the press is one of the main elements of strong and strong competition, where abs often means that you can lift the weight over your head in any way that suits you. Strong bench presses are unnecessary, so you’ll see competitors pushing logs, barbells, dumbbells, and sometimes strange objects like sandbags or rocks.

If you train the press, train it specifically. Write down in your workout program that you, for example, will do the hard bench press on Tuesday and the bench press on Thursday. Don’t let this happen just because you are not paying attention. Be intentional.

Bonus level

There is another way to shift weight overhead, which is even more mechanically beneficial: you push with your legs like a push press, but as soon as the weight starts to gain momentum, you bend your legs again so you can fall underneath. weight and catch it with straight arms, even if it is not very high.

This is called a jerk. If you do this in about the same place where they started and only bend your legs a little, it’s a power snatch. (This is often an option in strongman competition.) Olympic athletes typically do the split push with one foot forward and the other back. Compared to my 95 pound bench press and 118 bench press, my best clean and jerk is 143. My best power snatch is probably somewhere in between the latter two.

Each type of jerk has pros and cons that are beyond the scope of this article, but Catalyst has a good article on them if you’re interested.


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