2 ?’s

Picked up 2 leading questions here from a college strength coach……….
His Q’s are in italics.

1. My first concern is the Overhead press. As I watch more and more athletes perform overhead movements, specifically barbell pressing movements, I have noticed the large percentage of people who simply cannot press overhead with proper joint alignment without some serious corrective intervention. I have also noticed that when performing a single arm kettlebell press, the joint alignment issues tend to decrease across a percentage of the population. My final overhead observation is a hang, from a bar, rings, rope, etc. This appears to decrease faulty alignment even further when going overhead with the arms.

I tend to agree if what you are suggesting is that you see less “bad” things in order of worse to better ascension in Barbell Military Press, 1-arm KB Press, and Overhead Hanging.
With a 1-arm press, there is a level of t-spine and to a lesser degree whole body rotation that may allow for more ideal scapular position, and the arm has the freedom to press into a groove that is less obstructed. It can land in what looks like an acceptable position even if not vertical.
This is not typically available when the arms are tethered to a bar and forced to act in unison.  They will both look good, but the stiffness gets made up somewhere else, and it is often troublesome.


Absolutely brilliant.

Absolutely brilliant.

The hanging relies on thoracic extension only, but the motion is static which does not require as much motoric efficiency as overhead pushing or pulling.
Hanging allows for some hidden inefficiencies as well though in terms of scapular elevation and lumbar extension / T-L hinging.  If you hang, coaching with the abdominal hollow seems like a good idea.

My conclusion: The structure of the shoulder complex (along with the entire kinetic chain really) does not allow a large percentage of people to press with two arms overhead with proper alignment, but does allow a large percentage of people to perform a single arm press and various types of hanging (1 arm or 2 arm) with proper alignment.

I don’t think it’s the structure at all. This is a very small percentage, and even those with Types 4 and 5 acromions can still press with good form. It just comes at a potential cost.

Double 1-arm KB and DB pressing is indeed more forgiving. It is hard to argue when the loads you have available are stimulative and/or developmental with the KB and DB where the BB fits.

Would you call him out on the 2 arms being different? I'd call him out on that awful L3 hinge.  I can tell ya that.

Would you call him out on the 2 arms being different?
I’d call him out on that awful L3 hinge. I can tell ya that.

My question is, do you see the benefits of double-arm pressing overhead outweighing the risks in the general athletic population (non-Olympic weightlifting athletes)? Any other added thoughts?

As long as the KBs and DBs are enough to continue to get the individual stronger, and they can get them into the rack safely, I can’t think of any reason to insist on using the barbell.
Mind you, this has nothing to do with what you are suggesting in quality of movement or structure. I agree that you are probably seeing these things, but not because every person doesn’t have the joint position to press big overhead.

2. My second concern is the deep squat. I won’t dive too far into my own beliefs here except for the idea that I do believe most people should possess the ability to deep squat (especially now, fully understanding the core pendulum theory). My concern is more so loading the pattern. I know you have mentioned the importance of the hinge, but what are your overall thoughts on the deep squat (loaded and unloaded) in relation to athletic performance.

I think changing levels with an angled tibia and all of the joint positions associated is obligatory in athletic performance.
That’s what I call a squat. How you load it – bar in the rack, bar on your back, pulling off the floor, catching the 2nd pull, jump squat is all up to you and the joint positions the individual has competence in at that time.
Squatting to parallel and below is highly preferred, but particularly with those without ankle mobility to get down, this is very challenging. In this case, the higher level changes and box squatting are very reasonable Lateralizations.

It's just a high squat......with perfect neck position.

It’s just a high squat……with perfect neck position.

  • January 15, 2015

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