I WALK, THEREFORE I CAN PRESS
According to the National Association of Sports Medicine, Contralateral refers to the point on the opposite side of the body. The most famous contralateral movement that’s performed from day-to-day basis that we may not be aware about is walking. This feat is to be performed by making ground contact with one leg and subsequently propel the body to move forward. Repeat this process in a cyclical manner and eventually it will provide you this wonderful ability called bipedal locomotion. For detailed information about walking, I suggest you read the book Born to Walk by James Earls.
Gravity always win
You’re probably wondering what’s walking have to do with the one arm press. Also, you are mostly likely thinking that I am going crazy to even consider the two to be related. Fret not my friends, lets take quick look how walking and pressing are similar than they are different. Side note, I think as a society, we can learn from viewing life in this manner. But what do I know? I just lift things up and put them down and then I re-rack my weights when I’m done. Another thing that society can do better.
Now back to our topic. For starters, our feet are glued (or at least at one point of walking) and its constantly pushing away from the ground. Without acknowledging the presence of your feet and its relationship to earth’s surface, you are fighting a losing battle. Its like pushing a Ford truck F-150 going on a steep hill. Now imagine that its below zero degrees out and it rained the day prior. Not a pretty sight, isn’t it? Well if you can imagine that scenario, please remember this phrase for future endeavors, “Gravity always wins.” The best all of us can do as gravity abiding citizens is acknowledge it’s greatness and direct the forces that its bestowed upon us in our favors.
Since we are talking about gravity. Lets talk about a couple of ground rules here. In physics, there’s a phenomena called Ground Reaction Force (GRF) which is defined as the opposite force that is exerted when the body makes contact with the ground. When we are performing the standing one arm press, we exerting a contact force to the ground, congruently there’s an opposing force aka GRF that is imposed to us that pushes back. So when gravity push you, you push back. This is why it is so important to feel your feet when performing squats, deadlift, press, swings, etc…
Lift like a Crane
The overhead press exercise is typically done from the clean position and finishes with the arm(s) locked out overhead. This is to be done with a neutral spine. Even though you are in symmetrical standing stance, when performing the one arm press, you are going to load the opposite leg of the pressing arm. The reason for this is to create a counterweight balance similar to operating a crane or elevator, thus providing a stable and efficient stance for you to lift weights overhead. You can also see this done when performing the Bent Press. After getting underneath the weight, you must press with the opposite leg of the loaded arm to stand up with the weight overhead.
A punch to the heaven
When performing a successful one arm press, one must remember to punch the heavens to announce your rebellion against the universe. After-all, we are at a constant battle with gravity. Literally. What this means, you have to grip the bell like how you would when you make a fist. So there’s no bending of the wrist. This will ensures the forces you imposed on the kettlebell will complete its intended trajectory.
Key things to keep in mind:
- Gravity always win!
- Even though you are pressing at a symmetrical stance, in order to bring balance to the posture, you have to load the opposite leg of the pressing arm.
- Keep the wrist straight and punch the heavens
- Practice safe sets; fail like a professional or commit to the grind.
- Press away my friends!
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